As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

Jan 22, 2020


The first picture I am sharing this week was taken in November of 1956 as repairs are being made to the North Jetty. If you blow it up you can see the lighthouse behind the men who are standing on the jetty, watching the huge boulder as it is being lowered off a dump truck.

Repairing North Jetty, 1956
Repairing North Jetty, 1956

The contract to complete the work included 150 cubic yards of concrete to restore the capping and the placement of some 9,000 tons of rock for revetment on both sides of the jetty. The work extended several hundred yards westward from the old lighthouse. Miller & Strong of Eugene were the low bidders on the project, getting the contract for $90,430.

To do the job, it was necessary to build about three miles of road from the north end of the Bullards Bridge to the lighthouse, which required about 5,000 cubic yards of rock.

The large rocks (like the one above, which weighed 29,000 pounds) used for revetment were being quarried on land owned by J.J. Morris in the upper Two Mile area. They weighed up to 17 tons. Hauling was done by local log trucks, with concrete furnished by Robertson's of Bandon. The article said the crew at the jetty was mostly local. A 25-ton motor crane was used to lift the rocks from the trucks and place them in their proper places.

Before the rocks could be placed, it was necessary to utilize a mammoth bulldozer which swept up the thousands of drift logs that had been thrown up by the surf on the north side of the jetty.

The second picture I am sharing is not of very good quality because I copied it out of a 1942 Bandon High School yearbook, but it is one of the best I've seen of Gallier's plumbing shop on Highway 101 near the intersection of Elmira Avenue, now the home of Bandon Mercantile.

Gallier's plumbing shop, 1942
Gallier's plumbing shop, 1942

Although you can't see it in this picture, the Galliers (Ed and Edith) lived just west of and behind the store, with a small walkway leading back to their living quarters. Next to it is the building which housed several car dealerships over the years and is now the home of The Laurel. The large building behind them is the Coast Lumber Yard, which survived the Fire of 1936, but was torn down years later and is now the parking lot for The Laurel.

The third picture I am sharing was taken in 1971 in the Edgewater Department Store (formerly The Golden Rule and now The Continuum Center) as the Richert twins, Trina and Traci, are pictured with store owner Dave Gradt. Trina is now Mrs. Mark Johnston and lives in Bandon; Traci Davis lives in Ketchikan, Alaska.

Richert twins, Trina and Traci, 1971
Richert twins, Trina and Traci, 1971

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As I was going through the January 25, 1973, Western World, I came across an article that stunned me. The article, which I am pretty sure I wrote, said that a youth had been overcome while battling a blaze.

The story goes on to say that 16-year-old Gary Duncan was rescued by the Bandon fire department after he had lost consciousness while attempting to put out a fire at a home owned by his father-in-law, Earl Robinett.

Duncan, who lived in the house with his wife and their three-week-old daughter, was taken to the hospital by ambulance.

He told firemen that after his father-in-law had gone to work at Moore Mill, he and his wife had discovered the wall behind the wood furnace was smoking. He thought he had it extinguished and left the house to go help a sister-in-law, and by the time he got back, the fire had flared up again. It was then that he said he was overcome by smoke.

The irony is the fact that it was almost one year to the day later that this same teenager/arsonist set fire to the Bandon High School, which was completely destroyed in the January 24, 1974, blaze. He confessed to acting alone and was sentenced to jail time.

Even though I was the one who told police I thought he was the guy who set the high school on fire because I had seen him standing at the fire hall when I responded to cover the fire, I did not remember the 1973 incident involving a fire at his father-in-law's house ....until I saw it in the paper 48 years later. I did remember that the police chief and I had been having coffee at Lloyd's one morning before the high school fire when Gary Duncan came in to tell Big Mac that the hardware store was going to be burglarized on a certain night. And it was, but Duncan was not there although he had apparently been part of the planning. I knew he was a bit unstable .... to say the least, so when I saw him near the fire hall, and a few minutes later at the scene of the high school fire, I was definitely suspicious. It took a few months for the state police arson squad to make the case, but they did.

You never know what you will find in the old pages of Western World ....

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Speaking of the Oregon State Police, I learned this week that my first husband, William R. Harris, died in Corvallis on Dec. 26 at the age of 82 after battling prostate cancer and other health issues.

When Bill and I were married in December of 1963, he was with the state police, stationed in Coquille.

After leaving the state police, he worked in security at Oregon State University, including on the famed Ted Bundy case.

When I met Bill in 1963 he was stationed in Coquille, under Captain John Heenan, the uncle of Jim Proehl. Heenan later became head of the state police in Salem.

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The death of Jim Seeley, 77, former executive director of Wild Rivers Coast Alliance, was such a loss for his wife Rae, his friends and our community. Jim was a tireless worker for anything that would benefit Bandon. One of his latest and most important crusades was to get people to start thinking about how we are going to control the gorse infestation that surrounds our town. He is responsible for much of what has taken place in recent months through the Gorse Action Group as attempts are made to educate people about the dangers of gorse and how to combat it.

A Celebration of Life will be held for Jim on Feb. 11 from 2 to 5 p.m. at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort.

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Judging from the sports pages, both Bandon's boys and girls basketball teams are doing very well this year, but there is another team that has been very successful over the years, and that is the speech team.

If you haven't had an opportunity to hear these impressive young people present their speeches, you don't want to miss Sweet Speeches Thursday night, Jan. 23, at the Sprague Theater, beginning at 7. Tickets at the door are $10 for adults and $3 for students.

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I often hear people say that they don't know what events are going on in Bandon, and if that is true, they aren't reading either the Bandon Western World or The World because they both do an excellent job of letting people know what is happening in our area.

"I read it in the paper" is my stock answer when people say, "how did you know about" this or that?




As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

Jan 15, 2020


Although I can't identify any of the kids in the first picture I am sharing, taken during the Cranberry Festival parade in 1982, I think it shows how much the Highway 101/11th Street intersection has changed over the years.

Cranberry Festival parade, 1982
Cranberry Festival parade, 1982

I do see teacher Mike Lafayette marching with the kids, so they are probably from the middle school or junior high. At left you can see the Union Station, which is now the site of the building, recently purchased by Pacific Properties, that housed Bandon Video for many years. At the far right is Kaping's Florist, the florist shop now owned by Mary Cameron. Behind the service station, you can see part of the brick building that was the home of Western Bank (which started out as Bank of Bandon) for many years. That building was later replaced by the bank building that is now at the intersection of 101 and 11th (just a bare lot in this picture) and is home to Banner Bank. Note that the price for regular gas was 1.28.9 at that time.

I remember taking the second picture for no particular reason except that it was unusual to see a horse and buggy in the parking lot in front of our building.

McKay's Market parking lot, 1981
McKay's Market parking lot, 1981

This is in the McKay's Market parking lot, in front of Western World, which, when this was taken in 1981, had occupied the east end of the McKay's building since we moved up there from the old bank building (now Masonic Hall) in about 1965. A couple of years later the paper moved downtown on Second Street into what is now a real estate office in the east end of the building that houses Washed Ashore and Broken Anchor. After the paper was sold to Susan Price and Melody Juarez, they purchased the old home where the paper is now on 12th and Baltimore.

I love this third picture of two of my favorite guys taken in August of 1956 as my grandfather, L.D. Felsheim, owner of Western World, hands a Bulova watch to Ron Sutherland, who won the prize for selling the most subscriptions to the paper.

L.D. Felsheim and Ron Sutherland, 1956
L.D. Felsheim and Ron Sutherland, 1956

I had to confirm with Ron exactly when this picture was taken as the date wasn't on the negative envelope.

Ron, as most of you know, was the oldest son of Bandon's long-time and highly successful football coach Dick Sutherland ... also one of my favorites.

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For those of you who are wondering how the money raised by the city utility rate increase, which was overturned by the courts last month, was to be returned, the council agreed with the recommendation of our new city manager that we issue people a credit on their next month's utility bill. Funds had been withheld since July, and the average credit is expected to be about $100.

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The Bandon Crab Fest, which proved to be very popular last year, will return again this year in a slightly different format .... with a Saturday night dinner as well as a Sunday afternoon meal.

Sponsored last year by Lori Osborne as a fundraiser for the Bandon History Museum, the event has been taken over by the Chamber board, of which Lori is a new member.

This year's crab feed, set for Saturday evening, Feb. 22, and Sunday, Feb. 23, will benefit scholarships for Bandon High School students seeking training in industrial arts vocation to further their education.

Cost of tickets are $45 for a crab dinner, or $50 for a prime rib dinner. Hot dogs will also be available for children.

Tickets for the event, which sold out last year, are available at www.bandoncrabfest.com.

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The photos that were posted on Facebook Saturday of the King Tide which hit the Oregon coast this weekend were phenomenal. Nothing could show the power of the ocean like the crashing waves, which moved water and driftwood into areas that aren't usually drenched.

Unfortunately, like so often happens, tragedy struck ... on the northern Oregon coast in Clatsop County when a Portland man and his two children were swept into the sea near the Clatsop County/Tillamook County line at Falcon Cove. The father and his seven-year-old daughter were rescued, but she later died in an area hospital. As of Sunday evening, the four-year-old boy's body had not been found. The family was from Portland.

My heart goes out the father, who was carrying both his daughter and his son when the wave struck them.

Earlier in the week several locals had posted pictures of people on the north jetty, in what looked to be an extremely dangerous situation. Most locals know enough not to endanger themselves or their loved ones; but no matter how hard we try we don't seem to reach our visitors with that information. Or maybe they think it won't happen to them ....

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The Arizona State women's basketball team defeated previously unbeaten (and ranked No. 3 in the nation) Oregon State Sunday afternoon .... after handing the nation's No. 2 Oregon Ducks its second loss of the season Friday night. Had Oregon been able to beat Arizona State, they might have moved into the No. 1 spot after Connecticut lost to Baylor ... but it was not to be. (Baylor snapped UConn's 98-game home winning streak). Oregon State had a chance to move up from its No. 3 position had they been able to beat Arizona State but the Sun Devils had other ideas.

It's still pretty unusual for two of the top five teams in the nation to be located within 50 miles of each other.

I can't wait until the two teams square off later this month: Jan. 24 in Corvallis and Jan. 26 in Eugene. Those will definitely be sold-out games.

It appears that UCLA is the only unbeaten women's college team in the nation as they defeated Utah and Colorado over the weekend, while previously unbeaten North Carolina State lost to North Carolina.

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I, for one, applaud the recent decision by OregonLive to eliminate website comments, which many other news sites have done in recent years.

The Oregonian editor explained that very few people contributed to the vast majority of comments on the site ...adding "some of these conversations are uncivil, even downright nasty at times. Moderating the comments for offtopic posts or personal attacks takes time and resources that are better spent producing independent local news."

As one reader put it, in a letter to the editor: "In a society dealing with unrest, there is no need to encourage thoughtless, hurtful comments that serve no purpose other than to inflame others."

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It was neat to see that former Pittsburgh Steeler Troy Polamalu was selected as a Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist. I still remember when Troy was playing football for Douglas High School in Winston during my years covering sports for the Western World. He also played college ball for USC.




As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

Jan 08, 2020


We often think of winter as being November, December and January, but historically two of our biggest storms, including the following pictures from February of 1961, didn't come during those months. The other, of course, was the Columbus Day Storm of October 12, 1962.

In mid-February of 1961, Bandon was inundated with over seven and a half inches of rain in a two-day period, which resulted in a great deal of flooding.

As a result Ferry Creek flooded that end of town until the waters eventually found an outlet into the river over First Street between Elmira Avenue and Riverside Drive, pictured here.

The first photo shows the Bandon Public Works crew, with help from Robertson's Sand & Gravel, dumping rip rap along First Street, trying to keep the roadway from washing away.

Dumping rip rap along First Street, Feb 1961
Dumping rip rap along First Street, Feb 1961

Among those pictured are, from left, City Manager John Fasnacht, Police Chief D.S. MacDonald (in light clothes), Joe Harris, Bob Hiley, Jack Potterf and Harvey Hiley. In fact, the next time I see Harvey down at the museum I will ask him if he remembers this night ... nearly 60 years ago.

The caption beneath the picture explains that the city power line crew took part to save a power pole which carries the line to the Moore Mill, but they aren't pictured.

Buildings in that end of town that were impacted included the cheese factory (about where Face Rock Creamery is now), which had three inches of water over its floors, while its subsidiary, the Surfside Dairy (across Third Street) was submerged in about two feet of water.

Seven inches of water covered the floors of the Lindvall building (formerly the D.C. Kay building which had only recently been purchased by Thelma and Herbert Lindvall) including the beauty shop. This building has housed a quilt shop for a number of years. It has recently been purchased by Heidi Sause and is undergoing extensive remodeling.

Fortunately, for those businesses, the obstructed drainage which caused Ferry Creek to routinely overflow in the years after the Fire, has been addressed by the state.

Total rainfall for Bandon between Feb. 1 and 15th that year was 12.89 inches.

I had only been working for the Western World for two years when this big rain storm hit but I definitely remember when Highway 101 nine miles south of town washed out.

As seen in the second photo, the entire roadway across the gulch for a distance of 200 feet and 35 feet in depth was swept way.

Highway 101 nine miles south of town, Feb 1961
Highway 101 nine miles south of town, Feb 1961

Men on the right, standing on the edge of the break, were members of the state highway maintenance department who were making plans for immediate repairs. The man across the way was likely a Curry County resident wondering how he was going to get across.

The third photo was taken in 1972 in downtown Bandon on the south side of Second Street.

Bandon Chamber of Commerce Visitors Information Center, 1972
Bandon Chamber of Commerce Visitors Information Center, 1972

As you can see the Bandon Chamber of Commerce Visitors Information Center was located in the art gallery, across from Lloyd's Cafe, in the building that now houses Coastal Mist and Second Street Gallery. Looking down the street is Kronenberg & Waldrop Insurance (now Sassy Seagull), the pharmacy building (now Winter River Books), and Hazel's Antiques (now Bandon Baking Co.)

The reflection in the art gallery window shows Edgewater's Department Store on the next block (now the Continuum Center and previously the Golden Rule). I particularly love this picture because you can see how far we have come in sprucing up the Old Town area.

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Speaking of rainfall, Gerry Terp sent me the December rainfall figures, which indicated we had 12.01 inches of rain for the month, which was considerably more than the two previous years (4.62 and 7.72).

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I saw an article on the front page of The World last week that definitely grabbed my attention. It was titled "Strapped Cities Looking to Sell Sewer Systems." In the body of the article it talked about cities who are selling both their water and sewer utilities to private companies as they can no longer generate the revenue necessary to pay the costs of the public pensions.

The article talked about a number of cities across the country who are considering selling off their utilities, which will not bode well for the consumers, who will have no say in the rates they pay.

But it is certainly something that cities, like Bandon, have the option to do, as what private company would not want to buy what is essentially a monopoly business to provide such essential services.

If you haven't read the article, it is worth the time to do a Google search and read it.

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If you haven't had a chance to see the 40 photographs from my collection of old Western World negatives (mid-to-late '50s and early '60s) now on display at Robin Miller's office building, the Bandon Professional Center, just south of Bandon Shopping Center, you don't want to miss it.

I understand the photos will remain up through most of the year. The photos are displayed along the hallways upstairs, so you won't be interrupting anyone's private space if you take the time to visit.

These are part of the 30,000 plus negatives that I saved in the early '80s from being hauled to the dump by one of the many owners of Western World that I worked for through the years. I had come to work one morning to find boxes of negatives stacked to the ceiling in preparation for being hauled out to the dump. I was horrified knowing that either my grandfather, my uncle or I had taken most of those negatives. They were Bandon's history and I was determined to save them. So I hauled them box after box to my musty old basement, where they languished for 30 years until only a few years ago when Jim Proehl and I began scanning them into our computers. And these are the photos that are on display at Robin's building and that I share in my column each week.

If you want to read the story that columnist Steve Duin wrote about me a couple of years ago just Google "Mary Schamehorn by Steve Duin." It's a great read and tells the story lots better than I can.

They are just part of the huge collection of Bandon's history that I am leaving in my will to the Bandon History Museum.

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It's great to read about Bandon's success on the basketball court this year, with the news that both the boys and the girls varsity teams won the 11th Annual Bandon Dunes Holiday Invitational Tournament, held last week in Bandon. It's not often that both the boys and the girls teams in a school share such success, but I know the Tiger fans love to see how well they are performing, and are looking forward to a great season.




As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

Jan 01, 2020


Every time I find something online to add to my collection of old Bandon, I scoop it up ....unless it is just outlandishly expensive. The first picture I am sharing was from an old faded 1964 colored slide that I bought on the Internet. I was able to scan it in and clean it up before sharing it.

Golden Rule department store, 1964
Golden Rule department store, 1964

But this is one of the best pictures I have seen of the old Golden Rule department store, which is now the home of the Continuum Center. The front has been changed over the years, so that there are now two doors at the west end of the building, one which leads upstairs to the two apartments and the other which is the entrance to the Shoestring Cafe. Outside of that, nothing much has changed from a structural standpoint, but the awning is different today, with cedar shakes and fancy blue metal across its face. Next door you can see the sign for the Minute Cafe, which has been raised and enlarged over the years. Next door is Fred Moore and Carl Lorenz' M&L Grocery, which has long since been torn down and is now the cafe's parking lot. Fred's wife Marjorie was one of Carl's sisters.

At the end of Second Street you can barely see piles of lumber stacked on the vacant lot, which is now a public parking lot. This, of course, was long before the building was constructed that now houses Devon's.

I love this second picture, taken during the Homecoming bonfire in 1973, which turned out to be the year that my youngest sister Mindy, a BHS sophomore, was homecoming queen. She was escorted by Wade Schirmer and crowned by football captain Hiemer Kiefer.

Homecoming bonfire, 1973
Homecoming bonfire, 1973

Pictured here are freshman class Princess Lois Littles, who was escorted by Scott Vierck. Other members of the court were Senior Peggy Curran, escorted by Perry Vaughn, and junior class princess Teresa St. George, who was escorted by John Haga.

The thing that makes this picture so special, in addition to the bonfire behind them, is the fact that the negative was badly damaged, which resulted in the halo of "fire" around them. Sorry that Scott had his eyes closed, but it's still a great photo.

I mentioned last week that I would write more about the oil drilling operation that took place round-the-clock in May of 1963. While it seemed to be a bit outside my expertise, my uncle assigned me to go out to the drilling site, slog through the mud, take pictures and write a story about what was happening out there.

Drilling for oil, 1963
Drilling for oil, 1963

What I failed to do was follow up on what actually happened in the ensuing weeks. I am pretty sure they never struck oil, but I searched through week after week of old Western Worlds and could find no mention of the operation after the first articles in May.

But here is what I learned the first few weeks of the operation. The May 8, 1963, issue of Western World reported that "Half a million dollar oil drilling rig was stymied by rain the middle of last week as it arrived in Bandon on 12 large flatbed trucks from California in preparation for the drilling of oil which began Monday on the Beaver Hill site between Bandon and Coos Bay. Hampered by rainy weather and deep mud at the site, the trucks were unable to get up the hill to the point of drilling, making it necessary to unload the equipment at the Port of Bandon dock.

"The oil-seeking venture has brought some 20 men into the area, several with their families, as three crews are employed by Hoover Drilling Co. in work around the clock.

"Several local men including Roger Winters, 'Buck' Kiefer, Russell Conn and Jesse Conn, have been helping with various parts of the operation. Winters cleared the location and built the road leading to it."

The drilling operations were on some 19,830 acres of land leased from Coos County.

I recall that the foreman said one of the reasons they were interested in this property was because of the coal beds in area. He said oil is not found as a lake in the ground as so often portrayed by Hollywood but is found in the sands of the earth.

During a meeting with the chamber of commerce, the foreman said they planned to drill 5,500 to 6,000 feet deep. He added that the deepest well in the world was in Pecos County, Tex., and was 25,000 feet deep.

He explained that the deepest well which has been drilled in Coos County was drilled just five miles south of the present site in 1944 and was 7,000 feet deep, where the company ran into volcanic material.

He told me at the time that should oil be found in the area, the economy would receive a tremendous boost and the population would undoubtedly double within months.

I am not sure how long they remained at the site, but I think it is pretty clear that they never found what they were looking for.

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I received a press release recently from former Bandon resident and author Jack Mullen, who has recently published his third novel, "Dear Jerome, Letters from a Cop." Jack said it is available in paperback for $15.95 and in the Kindle version through Amazon.

Jack is a former Marine and retired San Diego Police homicide detective, who now lives in Orange County, Calif. He has published two previous novels: "In the Line of Duty" and "Behind the Shield." I remember that he was living in Bandon when he published his first novel and he asked me to take his photo, down at the south jetty, for the back cover of the book.

Friends who want to get in touch with Jack can email him at jvm606003@gmail.com.

In his note, Jack said, "This, I believe, is my best work. I saw first-hand the devastating impact the closing of the steel mills had on the families of Youngstown, Ohio. And yes, I also witnessed the affect the counterculture of the sixties and seventies had on cops and their families."

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The Supreme Court refused in mid-December to hear a case on homelessness, which essentially upheld a ruling last year by the 9th Circuit that cities cannot enforce ordinances that criminalize the simple act of sleeping outside on public property when no alternative shelter is available to them.

What the ruling does not address are the problems associated with human waste, needles and garbage left behind...which downtown merchants in many of the larger cities face on a daily basis as homelessness explodes because of rising housing prices, addiction and mental illness. It is particularly difficult for smaller communities who simply do not have the necessary services for people in need or crisis.

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I don't often promote a movie, although I have a lot of favorites, but you don't want to miss "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood," which is partly the story of Fred Rogers, but more about broken families, and the impact that he had on one man's life.

I believe it scored 95 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, compared to the new movie "Cats," which received a rating of 17 percent. It is widely panned. One reviewer said, "I am hard-pressed to think of many worse movies. For the most part, Cats is both a horror and an endurance test, a dispatch from some neon-drenched netherworld where the ghastly is inextricable from the tedious."

I don't believe I will waste my time seeing Cats, even though I did go to the Broadway show when it was in Portland many years ago, and loved it.


Previous columns by Mary Schamehorn


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