As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

June 20, 2018

One reason I am sharing the first picture (taken in August of 1971) is because I talk about this vacant lot a little later in my column. Also, it is a good picture of the former bank building that is now owned by the Masonic Lodge. Thanks to a grant, there is presently a lot of facade work going on at the building.

Former bank building, 1971
Former bank building, 1971

However, they ran into a problem. While the building is almost a hundred percent cement, there is wood around the windows, and it is rotten and will need to be replaced. But that will be an extra cost, not covered by the grant. Since this is one of only a handful of commercial buildings that survived the Fire (which includes the building where Cranberry Sweets is located), the Masons are hoping that this will qualify for some Urban Renewal dollars as it is in the appropriate district and certainly qualifies as something that needs repair.

It is ironic that last year I reprinted an article from the March 31, 1914, issue of the Bandon Recorder, which talked about the "new First National Bank building" as it was nearing completion. It adds: "The building is as near fire-proof as a building can be made. The only wood there is in the building is the door and window casings." And that is, of course, where the latest problem lies.

It is interesting that city fathers were so aware of the dangers of fire back then, since neither the June 1914 fire, which destroyed half the business district, nor the disastrous fire of 1936, had even occurred yet.

We need to do whatever possible to preserve this building as there are so few left that survived the Fire. Two others that did make it through the Fire, the old Coast Lumber Yard and the Bob-Otto Court, have long since been torn down, both of which were wood frame construction. The fact that the Stephan Hotel (now Cranberry Sweets) and the bank building are still standing all these years is because they were concrete and not wood.

The second picture I am sharing is Jim Perry's portable sawmill, which is on the same property as the first picture, across from the port's commercial seafood-processing building. Perry is second from left.

Jim Perry's portable sawmill
Jim Perry's portable sawmill

At the far right, you can see the storage building that was recently torn down by the port to make way for a restaurant, which will be leased to Lori Osborne. The project is on hold pending the resolution of Native American burial ground problems.

The third picture features former City Manager Bill Donahue, left, and Mayor Don Goddard taken in front of the Bandon Water Pollution Control Plant on Fillmore in 1973.

City Manager Bill Donahue and Mayor Don Goddard, 1973
City Manager Bill Donahue and Mayor Don Goddard, 1973

Don, who spent 24 years as an elected official in Bandon, recently celebrated his 95th birthday. I saw him in the store last week, and he looks great.

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I know a lot of people were sad when The Loft restaurant closed and I often hear people ask if it is going to reopen for the summer season. We know it is for sale and that at least one restaurant owner really wanted to move into the spot on the top floor of the building owned by the Port of Bandon, but he did not want to buy the business.

The building, constructed in the Chicago Avenue right of way, originally housed the Port's office, after they moved out of their old space, now Tony's Crab Shack. Later the Port moved their offices to the old Coast Guard building, where they are located today.

A spokesman for the Port told me that the owner of The Loft had signed a five-year lease for the top and bottom floors of the building (1700 square feet) just recently, at a cost of $2,030 a month.

He added: "Last I spoke with them they indicated they would re-open if the business did not sell."

So for those of you who have been wondering about The Loft, this is the latest information from the Port, who owns the building.

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Anyone who has been in Old Town anytime during the last few years has seen the row of garbage dumpsters on the property, owned by Fred Gernandt and Kirk Day, across from the Old Town Market. The property is leased to the city, to be used as a parking lot for Old Town, which means the owners do not pay property taxes on the parcel, which is for sale for $1.9 million. Municipalities, other public entities and exempt properties like churches do not pay property taxes.

However, Gernandt recently notified the city that he wants the dumpsters removed from the property; partly, although not the only reason, because of smell caused by fish waste from the port's dumpsters.

In talking with a representative of Bandon Disposal, it appears that the greater share of the dumpsters belong to the Port or to their tenants, but the city will try to find a location for the others that can be accessed by the garbage company.

In the old days, fish waste from cleaning stations and a seafood operation in the "old blue building," (now the Old Town Market) went into the bay, which provided for a healthy crab population. But that is no longer allowed by DEQ, which makes it necessary for the port to find another means of disposing of the waste.

It could mean that they have to truck the waste out of the downtown area as the city had to do in past years with sludge from the sewage treatment plant.

I can remember some years ago when the smell was so bad from sludge on the mudflats that The Station Restaurant was seriously impacted as were homes and other businesses in that area. The city then hired someone to haul away the diluted sludge, which was deposited on farmland as fertilizer.

It may be that the port has to do something like that with its fish waste since the smell of rotting fish is something no one wants to smell.

The Port of Bandon is indeed the jewel of our waterfront, and I know they will do everything they can to find a suitable solution to the problem of having to move the dumpsters.

Depending on where they are eventually located, it also may mean that people have to drive their waste to their dumpsters after work rather than walk the short distance across the lot.

We have known for some time that the lot might sell and that we would have to move the dumpsters, so the time has come to work together to address the problem.

Hopefully there will be some way to screen them from public view at their new location ... wherever that may be.

I really can't blame the owners for wanting the rusted old dumpsters moved off the property. No one really wants them in their "backyard."

Unfortunately, Wall Street which connected Second Street with First Street/Oregon Avenue beneath the hill behind where the dumpsters are located was vacated, probably back in the 1960s, or that might have solved the problem, both as a place for them to sit and a way to access them.

But Wall Street has long since faded into the history books and is no longer an option.

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I knew that Angelo's Italy was looking for a larger home for their popular restaurant, and now I understand they are looking at the former Grotto Gifts building, across from The Minute Cafe.

The building has been purchased by a young couple from out of the area and is being beautifully renovated. My source said they believe that Angelo's will remain at their current Chicago Avenue location through the summer, with the hope that they can move into the new building in the Fall.

Family owned, Angelo's is becoming well known as a place to go for great Italian food ... and wonderful live music.

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I was shocked to read an account on Facebook of the arrest of former Coos County Commissioner Kevin Stufflebean, 51, who was arrested in Polk County for Driving Under the Influence following a 3 a.m. accident. The arresting officer said he was so intoxicated that he could not put a coherent sentence together, and he ended up fighting with a deputy, who was knocked to the ground. Stufflebean was previously convicted twice of DUI in 2014 and was charged once in 2012, but the case was dismissed.

At the time the article appeared, he was in jail under $47,500 bond.

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My friend Della Pepion recently brought me an obituary for her son, James Kenneth "Jim" Pepion, who died April 29 at the age of 61 in the Portland area. He was a 1974 graduate of Bandon High School. Della said he lost his battle to cancer after being sick for several months.

In addition to his mother, he is survived by his wife, two children, two sisters and four brothers, including Gaylord Pepion of Bandon.

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People are reminded that the first Alive After Five of the season is scheduled for this Friday night, June 22, from 5 to 8. Commemorative glasses and walking maps will be on sale for $10 at both Art By The Sea Gallery and Edgewaters, the opposite ends of the Walk, when the event starts at 5 p.m., but not before.

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People can bring their household hazardous waste to the Beaver Hill transfer site on Saturday, June 30, between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., but there's a catch. Coos and Curry residents can dispose of various household chemicals at the free event, but they are asked to call 541-396-7624 to make an appointment at least a day prior to the event.

The county is asking people to make an appointment so they do not end up with long traffic lines, which can cause congestion on Highway 101.

The solid waste disposal site is generally open Tuesday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., but is closed on Sunday and Monday.

This is for household waste only; businesses can call the number for an appointment for their waste to be collected.

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I put an ad in Coffee Break this week for someone to help get my underground watering system to work, and a local guy answered my ad. He was able to determine what the problem was, told me what to buy, and an hour or so later he returned and I was soon back in business.

I didn't tell him that I was going to mention him in my column, but hopefully he won't mind. Dave Reynolds is a great handyman and his phone number is 541-399-1076.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

June 13, 2018

I love the first picture I am sharing. My uncle (Lou Felsheim) must have realized that at the time this picture was taken (March of 1962) this was the largest load of lumber ever to leave the Port of Bandon because he took an unusual number of photos.

Barge loaded with lumber, 1962
Barge loaded with lumber, 1962

The barge Pacific 3 had just left Moore Mill's dock, being towed by the Antioch (barely visible in the picture) with the smaller Fearless tug behind it just as they pass the lighthouse.

The crew members of the Fearless were all from Bandon: Bob Fisher, Jim Knox and Ron Olson. Bob (who is in his mid-80s) and I communicate regularly, and I have learned so much from him.

You may remember that this was only a year to the month after Bob and Red Pedersen capsized at the mouth of the Coquille River in the tug Rebel. Bob remained with the overturned hull of the vessel which eventually floated around the end of the north jetty where he was rescued by his friends and relatives, who waded in to bring him to safety. Pedersen's body washed up sometime later.

Bob believes that the barge carried four million board feet of lumber. "As you may remember at this time, things were changing rapidly from steamer shipping to barge shipping. I don't know how much lumber the steamers carried, but the barges started out with old surplus vessels (LST and other castoff Navy stuff that carried only small amounts) so we often towed two of them. They only carried a million to a million and a half board feet, but grew quickly in size. The coastal steamers were outdated. Instead of a crew of 25 or 30 with much expense, the tugs were cheaper, almost as fast and carried much greater loads. Before I retired I was towing barges from Portland to Los Angeles/San Diego in six days containing 10,500,000 board feet and oil barges containing 100,000 barrels of oil product. And that was 20 years ago. God only knows what is going on in the towboat industry today," Bob said.

The second picture was taken in May 1960 of the grand opening of Bandon Appliance, which I believe was owned by Bill Ellis.

Bandon Appliance, 1960
Bandon Appliance, 1960

It is the building across the highway from what is now Asian Gardens, and is now the home of Bandon Video. The shop at the south end of the building is empty, but at one time housed a heat pump business, and years earlier was Larson's Cleaners, owned by Ronnie and Gladys Larson. As you can see this is before the bank (now Banner but originally Western) was built just south of this building, on the corner of 11th and 101.

The third photo was taken in 1978 in front of Harbor Lights Middle School, and was the junior high girls basketball team, coached by Claire Bennett, at left, who died in March at the age of 84.

Junior high girls basketball team, 1978
Junior high girls basketball team, 1978

Although I can't identify all of the girls, with the help of Suzanne Albrich (now Endsley), front right, I do know some of them. Standing next to Mr. Bennett is Tracy Van Leuven, and on her shoulders is Judy Stafford Allen. Suzanne thinks the tall blonde with glasses in the front row is Kelly Walton, and the girl next to her is Tina Woodward, but we're not sure who is on her shoulders. Next to Tina is Lisa Lindahl Murray, and although we don't know the girl standing directly behind Suzanne, she has Lisa Cox on her shoulders. I also think Shari Koski is in the picture, but I'm not sure.

Suzanne commented on her embarrassing permanent (hair) and hoped that I could Photoshop it out of the picture ... No photo-shopping; that's what makes sharing history so much fun!

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A celebration of life for Charlie Hofsess Crew, who died Nov. 29 at the age of 95, will be held Saturday, June 16, at 95609 Sixes River Road up Sixes River at 1 p.m., followed by a military service at 2.

Charlie's wife, Velma, died some years ago. His survivors include a son, Greg, of North Bend, and his daughter, Linda.

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I have learned that someone has been pulling up plants from flower pots around Old Town, with several thefts having occurred from the beautiful garden next to Olivia's Cottage on the Pedway.

Patti Curran, who planted a number of the pots, said she puts them in as deep as possible, but that doesn't seem to stop whoever is determined to plant their garden ... with someone else's plants. It's a shame when people go the extra mile to beautify an area, only to have their efforts thwarted by others.

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I understand that plans by the Port of Bandon to build a restaurant for Lori Osborne (owner of the Beverage Barn) on the site of the former storage building, which was recently torn down adjacent to the Old Town Marketplace, have come to a standstill.

The Bandon Planning Commission gave the go-ahead to the project several months ago, but the port has learned that in order to put restrooms in the building it would be necessary to dig through an Indian burial ground, which could cost as much as $100,000 to mitigate.

At the present time, the project is on hold.

Port manager Jeff Griffin told me recently that the commissioners have asked him to evaluate other utility routes to see if he can somehow find an alternative route that avoids the sensitive areas and isn't cost prohibitive.

"Not sure if we have an option like that but I'll look. Also looking at moving the potential building to the other side of the gravel lot," said Griffin.

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I have become so disheartened by the weeds and high grass at the post office, but was happy to learn that someone had been hired to clean up the grounds.

That was until I saw the massacre of the rhododendron and the small hedge on the south side of the post office. But even worse than that is the fact that someone sprayed most of the weeds in the area with a strong weed killer; now instead of green, thriving weeds ... we are faced with looking at the brown, dried-up remains poking up through the sidewalk and the rock garden.

For the life of me, I cannot figure out why the postal department cannot simply hire a landscaper to clean up the grounds .. and be done with it. It got so bad last year that the City of Bandon sent some of its summer workers up there to clean up. But I suggested that before we bail out a federal agency, we let our employees help people in our own community who might need an assist with their tall grass.

In case you don't know what I am talking about, take a good hard look at the area around the outside mail box, alongside Baltimore Avenue, and you will see ... or gaze at what used to be an attractive rhodie adjacent and west of the entryway.

The front-desk employees that I have talked with are just as upset as I am about the condition of the grounds ....

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Pacific Blues, which was the creative wine and vegetarian food cafe of the late Jason Tree, is closing down at the end of June, and most of the merchandise has been sold. It really signals the end of an era as Jason was in the Continuum Building for over 20 years and was the only original tenant still there.

To say that Jason will be missed is an understatement. People who may be interested in that space can get in touch with me as I manage the building for Chris and Bob Webb.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

June 06, 2018

I'm not sure when this picture of the old Moore Mill Truck Shop was taken, but it may have been sometime in the '90s as you can see that the northwest corner of the building is pretty much in disrepair.

Moore Mill Truck Shop
Moore Mill Truck Shop

According to Dow Beckham in his book about the Bandon Fire, the building got its start as a milk condensery, because of the number of dairy farms in the area. (At one time there were 600 dairies in Coos County).

Beckham said the town supported the efforts of two men who wanted to build a condensery on the waterfront just west of what was then the Standard Oil Company dock. Before the building could be constructed, it required driving 600 pilings on which the building sat. Later, after it was built, the city extended Delaware Avenue as its primary access.

Nestle's Food Company first made use of the building, beginning condensed (canned) milk production in August 1919, but their efforts were thwarted by high operating costs and opposition from the Oregon Dairymen's Cooperative, who urged local dairy farmers to sell to them, and not to Nestle's.

Troubles mounted in 1924, according to Beckham, when the company brought in a chemist from San Francisco to check on a serious contamination of yeast in the water that the plant was obtaining from the Ferry Creek reservoir. Foreign sales of Borden's sweetened milk became fermented and the company traced the problem to the Bandon plant.

The company finally closed in October 1925. Later the building was purchased by Jack H. Dalen, to be used as a battery separator plant.

When I was young back in the '40s, there was a beautiful apartment in the building, where I stayed with a family friend when mother was in the hospital giving birth to one of my sisters.

The building survived the Bandon Fire of 1936, and was later purchased by Moore Mill & Lumber Co., who used it to store truck parts and to make repairs on its log and fire trucks.

Moore Mill built a new truck shop near its lumber yard in 1997 and sold the old truck shop building to the Port of Bandon for $1.

Port Manager Alex Linke hoped to save the building, and there were thoughts of erecting condos on the site, but opposition from some in the community and the condition of the piling made him realize how costly it would be. Storms continued to take a toll on the building, and by 1999 the Port was trying to figure out what to do with it as it had become more of a liability than a tourist attraction.

The Port entered into an agreement with TimberCreek, who received the salvage rights in exchange for removing the building, which occurred in August of 2001.

The second picture was taken in 1974 as a Coast Guard boat tows a float plane to the local dock. I don't remember the particulars, but it's not unusual to see the Coast Guard towing another vessel; you don't often see them towing a plane.

Coast Guard tows float plane, 1974
Coast Guard tows float plane, 1974

I know I have shared this third picture before, but I wanted to provide a bit of history surrounding the Bandon Playhouse, so I've chosen to run it again.

Bandon Playhouse
Bandon Playhouse

I was sorry to learn that the Bandon Playhouse will not be producing its normal summer production, but from what I understand there is simply not the interest in local theater that there was for many years.

Last summer, Bandon Playhouse brought The Wizard of Oz to the stage during the month of July, and it was a big production.

Hopefully the Playhouse can be revived and once again light up the stage of the Sprague Community Theater, where it has been such a dominant force for many years.

I received word from Paul Hay, president of the Playhouse, talking about the reason why they have nothing planned. "We currently do not have enough active members to even hold board meetings most of the time. We are trying to figure what the next stage of the Playhouse might be. So it's kind of on a sabbatical for now," Hay said.

The organization "was formed under the counsel of Sharon Hennick and Tosca Means. Hennick, a drama teacher, and Alice Stadelman met with the Bandon Lions Club to seek more participation and support," according to information in Dow Beckham's book titled "Encore."

"In August 1976, the would-be company assumed the name Bandon Playhouse at the suggestion of Gail Sprague, a new resident and former operator of an art gallery on Cape Cod," said Beckham. Sprague is pictured in photo number three when she stopped by Western World to share the sign with us.

It is ironic since this was years before the Lions spearheaded the building of the new theater, named the Sprague Community Theater because of a large donation by the Sprague family (no relation to Gail).

Hopefully, the Bandon Playhouse will gain new life and new enthusiasm and we can once again look forward to their great shows.

My favorites have been My Fair Lady, Chicago, Sound of Music, Beauty and the Beast and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Of course that is just a few of their marvelous productions . . .

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I have been spending evenings reading the entire year's Western World newspapers from 100 years ago .... 1918 ... on line. It makes for fascinating reading, particularly if you are a history buff like I am. And it makes it even more fun for me knowing that my grandfather wrote most, if not all, of the stories. This, of course, was during the last year of World War I, which ended in November of 1918, and many of the articles were about fund-raising efforts for the American Red Cross and the number of local men who were drafted into service.

But one article I found fascinating was the fact that the City had decided to sell its electric system to private enterprise after seeking advice from a consultant. Although he urged the city NOT to consider selling the utility, he did say that if they were determined, it should bring at least $150,000. Town fathers put it out to bid, but after receiving only two, for $100,000 and $125,000, they decided not to sell.

That was probably one of the smartest decisions they ever made since today, the City of Bandon's electric rates are less than either Pacific Power (who serves people north of Bandon) or Coos-Curry Electric (who serves non-City customers south of town).

It is not unusual for people being served by either of those other utilities to try and get the City to extend its poles to include them because of the cost, and even more important, because of the dependability of our service.

The fact that the City has its own electric utility (only one of 11 or 12 municipal utilities in the state) has been a Godsend to a city that has a property tax rate of 46 cents a thousand... compared to cities like Myrtle Point with a rate of $7.99 a thousand.

During the many years that John Fasnacht served the city, he was known as the Manager of Utilities, not the City Manager, although that was essentially his function. That was further testament to the importance of our electric utility.

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Deborah Kelley, wife of Post 3440 VFW Commander Royce Kelley, had extended me a personal invitation to attend the Memorial Day service at the VFW Cemetery on Monday. And I was so glad that I accepted her invitation. It was a very touching service, complete with firing squad and taps, and the presentation of a flag to Deborah and her sister, Donna Gaucher Pointer, as part of full military honors for their father, Sgt. Raymond Gaucher, a WWII veteran, who died in 1959, but did not receive military honors at that time.

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The Senior Meals Program at The Barn needs volunteers to cover at least one day a week. I've learned that because of a lack of volunteers they now serve meals only three days a week, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, instead of the regular four days a week.

The meals program is run by South Coast Business Employment, and anyone willing to volunteer can call 541-269-2013, or stop by The Barn on one of the meal days.

"This is a worthwhile program who we should all support," said a friend, who alerted me to this need.

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People are reminded that Alive After 5 will resume for the year on Friday, June 22, from 5 to 8, with the theme of "art night." There will also be another Alive After Five on the Fourth of July, a Wednesday.

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Former long-time Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Julie Miller has a new job. She is working for the Oregon South Coast Regional Tourism Network (OSCRTN), a collection of tourism organizations, DMOs and cities in the Southern Oregon Coast Region from Reedsport to Brookings. Julie says they are "breaking new ground when it comes to partnerships and collaborations.

"Our purpose is to collaborate to enhance economic development through sustainable tourism. We will focus on leveraging relationships, opportunities and dollars. We will work to create consensus around priorities that will set up other tourism organizations for success. And we will focus tourism organizations in a direction that will lay the groundwork to develop the Southern Oregon Coast into a destination. In a nut shell that is what I will be doing as Network Manager," Julie said.

I have also learned that the chamber board is still searching for her replacement after neither of the two finalists ended in a hire.

Previous columns by Mary Schamehorn