As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

Oct 16, 2019


The first picture I am sharing this week was from my collection of pictures taken during the aftermath of the Columbus Day Storm, which was the subject of a special program at the Bandon History Museum Saturday.

Science room at Pacific High School after Columbus Day Storm, 1962
Science room at Pacific High School after Columbus Day Storm, 1962

It was great to have a standing-room-only crowd, who seemed to thoroughly enjoy my presentation, which was accompanied by photos that had appeared in Western World. Like this photo, which is not of very good quality, the negatives were never found, but Jim Proehl was able to copy the photos out of the pages of Western World so we could share them. It would be great to learn what happened to the negatives, as I know I took many more than just the ones that made it into the paper. But hey, that was 57 years ago .... so they could be anywhere.

This is a picture of the science room at Pacific High School, which suffered extensive damage in the Oct. 12, 1962, storm, said to be the worst natural disaster ever to hit Oregon.

The science room was one of several on the south side of the north wing of Pacific High which lost its ceiling, all windows and portions of the walls. Small pieces of jagged glass at the base of the windows are all that remained of the large windows which faced to the south.

Another of the pictures, which appeared on a photo page, shows the vertical siding and diagonal sheathing on the Vocational Agriculture room (just to the east of the gym) which were severed like paper when a large ventilator, weighing between 750 and 1,000 pounds, was hurled by the wind through the air from the balcony and dropped through the ceiling. Beneath the debris, piled ceiling high, was most of the equipment used by the shop and Vo-Ag students.

What I remember most was being in the gymnasium and looking up and being able to see daylight between the roof and the walls.

Even though it was estimated that fifty percent of the school was destroyed, Fire Chief Lanny Boston, who attended the program at the museum, recalls that he was a student at Pacific High School at that time, and said that students were able to return to school the next week (the storm hit on Friday) because the other wing of the building was not damaged.

The Pacific High students had been sent home less than an hour before the storm hit. Students were also released early at Bandon, but damage to the school was minimal and was pretty much confined to the loss of the electronic scoreboard. Many commercial buildings in Bandon lost their plate glass windows and signs. There was 2.3 million in insured damages in the area from Bandon to Gold Beach, with Port Orford being particularly hard hit.

I remember that day very clearly as I was a young cub reporter for the Western World, and was driving around in the strong winds taking pictures, until I realized that this might not be your average windstorm, and headed home. I lived with my family in the two-story house across from the cheese factory on Highway 101, and I remember pressing my face up against the plate glass window and watching the roof of the hydro-electric building (across from what is now the museum) sail across Fillmore. Pieces of it went through the south windows of what was then Yockey Electric (and is now Reese Electric) and out the front windows that faced onto Fillmore. Virtually everything in the shop was destroyed.

In spite of winds that reached 145 miles an hour at Cape Blanco, 116 mph in Portland, 130 mph in North Bend and 100 mph at the wind gauge in the Bandon High School science department, only 15 people were killed in the entire state and a total of 46 in the 1000-mile area (Oregon, Washington, northern California and British Columbia). That in itself was a miracle considering the damage, which amounted to billions of dollars.

The second photo was taken in 1970 as Public Works Director Bob Hiley, right, and an unidentified helper patch First Street near the Coast Guard Station.

Patching First Street, 1970
Patching First Street, 1970

Another employee, Mr. Yost, can be seen behind the truck which is dumping the patching material. I think his first name was Elmer, but just not positive. My memory usually serves me well .... but sometimes not.

The third picture, taken in the mid-50s, is of Father Peter Dally, priest at St. John's Episcopal Church, left; W.J Sweet, acolyte Louie Bohles and Bishop Benjamin Dagwell, following a confirmation service at the church.

St. John's Episcopal Church, 1950s
Father Peter Dally, W.J Sweet, acolyte Louie Bohles and Bishop Benjamin Dagwell, St. John's Episcopal Church, 1950s

The Sweet family donated most of the money to build the additions to the church in memory of Mr. Sweet's wife, Theresa; his daughter, Helen Mayes; and his grandson, Richard Sweet.

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Golf magazine recently listed the four No. 1-ranked resorts from their Top 100 Resorts lists, and Bandon Dunes Golf Resort was listed No. 1 in the Buddies (resorts best suited for your annual golf vacation with friends) category. Big Cedar Lodge in the Missouri Ozarks was the best for Families, Pebble Beach Resorts in Pebble Beach, Calif., was tops for luxury, and The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo., was No. 1 for general excellence.

Here is what Golf had to say about Bandon Dunes: "Of all the resorts on our Top 100 lists, none are more purely about golf than the No. 1 in the Buddies category: Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. In just 20 years, Bandon has become the premier golf destination in all of the United States. The Oregon resort's four 18-hole courses are routinely ranked among the Top 100 courses in the world. In addition, they have a short course and a massive putting course, with a brand-new 18-holer on the way."

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There have been several personnel changes at Southern Coos Health District in the last couple of months, along with some positive news on the financial front.

Ana Mugica has been hired as the new Chief Financial Officer to replace Alan Dow, who is returning to retirement after the transition. Dow returned to Bandon and came out of retirement to serve as CFO after the board hired former CFO Amy Fine to be the new CEO, replacing JoDee Tittle.

Deborah "Debi" Ellis is the new Chief Nursing Officer. She joined Southern Coos as the Swing Bed Coordinator in 2017. Victoria McNeeley has joined the health district as Risk and Quality Manager. She will also serve as Medical Staff Coordinator and Compliance Officer.

The August minutes indicate that the "July volumes were improved for the month and inpatient volumes were substantially higher than the prior year with inpatient days up 58% and Swing Bed days 65% higher. The resulting robust revenue was the highest in the history of the hospital. However our high Medicare utilization combined with Medicare cost-based reimbursement that does not allow a profit, impacted our ability to report a more robust bottom line. Cash on Hand is at 54.3 days."

The district continues to search for a physician for the clinic to replace Dr. Megan Holland, who left to join the clinic associated with the Coquille Valley Hospital.

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There are still tickets left for "A Night at the Museum," hosted by the Bandon History Museum Thursday night (Oct. 17) from 5 to 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 and are available at the front desk of the museum. Refreshments will be served thanks to sponsors Robin and Geneva Miller and the Beverage Barn.




As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

Oct 09, 2019


A headline in the April 10, 1958, Western World prompted me to share this picture of the information center at Bullards Beach State Park, taken in July of 1971.

Information center at Bullards Beach State Park, 1971
Information center at Bullards Beach State Park, 1971

The 1958 headline read: "Abandoned lighthouse may bring state park."

Here is what the story had to say. "The abandoned Coquille River Lighthouse, opposite Bandon, together with an adjacent area of land may be made into a state recreational park.

"Since the U.S. Coast Guard has announced that the lighthouse together with some 11 acres of land is to be assigned to the surplus property list and offered for public sale, it has been learned through Congressman Charles O. Porter that the federal government may withhold the property from sale if it will be accepted by the state or a local government for park purposes."

The article adds that the matter had been referred to the state park superintendent who had discussed it with the State Highway Commission. The highway commission approved a study of the area surrounding the lighthouse, together with the area north of the river and east as far as Bullards Bridge.

And that was the beginning of what has become one of the South Coast's premier state parks.

The caption beneath the picture talked about how busy the park was on the three-day Fourth of July weekend.

Park Manager Ira Haskett reported that it was necessary to turn campers away two nights as there weren't enough spaces.

An earlier article, from 1966, talked about the new modern facilities installed at the campground, which included 128 campsites with sewer, water and electric accommodations, plus wood.

"This is believed to be the first state park where all campsites are so equipped," said a Western World article.

I am not sure of the exact date of the second picture, taken in 1966, which shows a tug guiding an Oliver Olson barge under Bullards Bridge, headed to Rogge Lumber.

Tug guiding barge under Bullards Bridge, 1966
Tug guiding barge under Bullards Bridge, 1966

An item in October of 1966 talks about the Oliver J. Olson barge, Whitney, which struck Bullards Bridge as it was headed toward Rogge mill, causing the closure of the bridge for over a week. During that time, all traffic (including those living just on the other side in Randolph and Prosper), had to detour over Highway 42S through Coquille .... or as my uncle Lou Felsheim did, walk across the bridge to a car waiting for him on the other side.

The displacement of the pier was so great that the southwest corner of the span had nothing to sit on.

Since I could not find this particular photo in the paper, it is quite possible that this is the barge that struck the bridge. If not, it was another barge owned by the same steamship company.

In the meantime, the barge loaded with over 3 million board feet of lumber waited for the bridge to be repaired before it could once again go beneath it en route to the local harbor and out to sea.

The third picture is Alfred Owens, a well-known and much loved figure, who seldom missed an event in town.

Alfred Owens, 1975
Alfred Owens, 1975

This photo was taken in 1975 as Alfred headed into Edgewater Department Store (now the Continuum Center) which was owned by Dave and Joan Gradt. In the background you can see the sign for The Minute Cafe.

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Sorry to hear that Bandon lost two graduates in the past week, including Steve Eggert and Bobbie Owens Miller. Steve, who graduated from BHS in 1969, died Oct. 2 with his wife, the former Tracee Nagel, and family by his bedside. Among his survivors is his brother, Mike Eggert Oyster.

Bobbie Miller was a member of the Class of 1988. Among her survivors are her husband Clay, two children, her sister Peggy and her mother JoAnn. Her father was the late Bobby Owens and she was a niece of well-known Bandon photographer Airlee Owens.

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As announced on the front page of the Bandon Western World last week, City Manager Robert Mawson has submitted his resignation.

We had called a meeting to evaluate progress on a number of issues, and it was during our conversation that Robert handed us an envelope containing his letter of resignation, effective Oct. 11. We did not ask for his resignation and it took the council completely by surprise. We are very sorry it did not work out.

After handing us the letter, Robert assured us that he would work with the department heads and other staff to ensure a smooth transition for current efforts and day-to-day activities. We thank him for the professional way this is being handled.

I can definitely say this has been a difficult few weeks for the city.

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Just a reminder that I will be narrating a program on the Columbus Day Storm of 1962 this Saturday at the Bandon History Museum at 2 o'clock. As a cub reporter for the Western World, I took a great many photos of the storm damage, but even though we were never able to locate the negatives, Jim Proehl has copied the photos that appeared in the paper to share during a slide show of the Storm.

We would love to hear your stories of where you were during the largest natural disaster ever to hit the Pacific Northwest.

I was having lunch with Jim and Matt Winkel the other day and asked where they were when the storm hit. Jim remarked that he was in the fourth grade, and Matt said he was in junior high .... in Maryland. Talk about making me feel old .....

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I received the September rainfall data from Gerry Terp this week and noted that there were 4.87 inches recorded this September compared to 0.45 last year. In the last 15 years, the most rainfall recorded in September was in the 12/13 rain year (6.67 inches), with this year's total being the second most recorded in the 15-year period.

Hope this isn't a harbinger of things to come this winter. I am just not ready for months of steady rain.

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After learning last week that Dish had dropped FS1 (where some of the Pac12 football games, including Oregon, are aired), I had just about decided to call Spectrum Monday morning and change carriers. But Sunday morning, Dish sent out an email that said they had reached an agreement and FS1, FS2 and other sports channels were back on the air. That comes just in time for the Oregon game Friday night at 7, which will air on FS1.




As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

Oct 02, 2019


The first picture I am sharing is a bit like one I shared more than a year ago, but this one was taken in March of 1958 while the barge was parked at the Moore Mill & Lumber Co. dock.

Barge stacked with lumber, 1958
Barge stacked with lumber, 1958

What made this unusual is the fact that the lumber was stacked up like a 10-story building on the Pacific Barge No. 2, owned by the Oliver J. Olson Company, as it prepared to leave for San Francisco.

The biggest lumber cargo ever to leave the Bandon harbor is aboard this barge, more than 4,200,000 board feet, which is equal to between three and four times the average cargo taken out by the Olson Co. steamships.

The article in Western World explained that the reason is that the steamers draw more water and can take only partial cargoes. The barge is this photo is said to be drawing between 14 and 18 feet. The cargo was made up of shipments from Moore Mill and other mills that shipped over the Port of Bandon public dock.

Earlier I know that I read somewhere that as the barge was enroute to San Francisco, it ran into bad weather and lost part of its load. But when I went back to find the article, it has escaped me. It might not have been this specific trip, but I am pretty sure it was.

Moore Mill, of course, was the area's largest employer for many years, dating back to the early 1900s when L.J. Cody and George W. Moore built a sawmill in Bandon in 1906. The mill burned in 1909. They rebuilt the mill and Moore bought out Cody to begin Moore Mill & Lumber Co. It was later purchased by D.H. Miller, a well-known mill operator, who had come to Bandon to manage the local mill. Moore Mill had closed its mill operations and was dismantling the mill when it was destroyed by fire in 1987 after operating for almost 80 years.

Note smoke coming out of the wigwam burner at the far right side of the photo. Interestingly enough, the Bandon History Museum recently received several photos taken during the Columbus Day Storm of 1962, which show the burner tipped onto its side by the force of the winds. (That reminds me that the museum and I are hosting a special program on the Columbus Day Storm on Saturday, Oct. 12, at 2 p.m. at the Bandon History Museum). Come and see the photos I took that day of damage in the Bandon/South Curry area and share your stories with us.)

The second photo was taken sometime in the 1970s of The Style Shop, which was probably owned by Marvin and Carol Manes when this photo was taken.

The Style Shop, 1970s
The Style Shop, 1970s

The first Style Shop was opened on Second Street by Louise Philpott in the late '50s in the building that is now occupied by Esscents Candle and Gift Shop. In 1960 it was owned by Belle Shortridge and Gertrude Greenwell, who later moved to this building on Highway 101 and 10th Street, which today is Bandon Video.

Marvin and Carol bought it from Belle and Gertrude, and after operating a very successful business for many years, sold to Max and Mary Peabody. I am not sure when it closed and later became a video store.

But I do know that between The Golden Rule and The Style Shop (not to mention The Hub in Coos Bay), they pretty much shared my paycheck from Western World (which wasn't much in those days but it was enough to keep me in clothes).

My dad often said, disparagingly, that I would be the best dressed person in the poor house.

I love this third picture, taken in August of 1981 when the Pickle Family Circus came to town.

Pickle Family Circus, 1981
Pickle Family Circus, 1981

I thought about it the other day when I saw how popular the carnival was that was here for the Cranberry Festival. But the Pickle Family Circus was very different, and was definitely for the younger crowd as evidenced by this clown performing for a rapt audience of little girls, including facing the camera a little one that appears to be Erica Shindler. The article said the two-day event in City Park delighted a crowd of 1200 people. I do remember having fun taking the pictures.

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I mentioned that as soon as I obtained the names of the girls involved in the wreck on Beach Loop Road, near Devil's Kitchen, I would release them. Sgt. Larry Lynch called me at home this afternoon to give me the information.

I had learned that the road had flooded in the low spot just south of Devil's Kitchen, and when the vehicle hit it, the driver allegedly lost control and the vehicle spun into the bank.

The three girls, all from Bandon, who were injured and taken to the hospital in three separate Bay Cities ambulances were Alisa Rouse, 19, who ended up in Bay Area Hospital, and Clarissa Stevens, 18, and Page Bryant-Kirk, 16, both of whom were taken to Doernbecher Hospital in Portland. All three girls have now been released from the hospital, Sgt. Lynch said.

The driver, 18-year-old Sina Napier, was arrested Sept. 27 in connection with an ongoing investigation into the crash, which occurred Sept. 18. She was lodged in the Coos County Jail on three counts of reckless driving, three counts of recklessly endangering and three counts of third-degree assault, according to the Sergeant. As of Sunday evening, she remained in jail.

For a point of clarification, if a person is injured in a car crash, the driver is often charged with assault.

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I've learned that Heather Bouher, who most recently worked as a server at The Crow's Nest/Wheelhouse Restaurant, has purchased The Loft Restaurant and Bar. The popular gourmet fine-dining establishment, is located in the upper level of the High Dock building, owned by the Port of Bandon, overlooking the Coquille River.

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I read on the Bandon School District's Facebook page that fire had broken out in the Harbor Lights Middle School Saturday evening around 8:30. Fortunately quick action on the part of the Bandon Rural Fire Department quelled the blaze, which apparently started in the east wing of the school adjacent to the boys' locker room near the gymnasium.

The post added that the district is working with the fire department and the police department to determine the source of the fire. The state fire marshal was also on scene that night to help determine the cause of the fire and whether it was intentionally set.

Firefighters had to cut a hole in the outer wall to get into the building. There is smoke damage to the building.

In a later post, HLMS announced that while classes were to resume Monday with their normal schedule, PE and music classes will be relocated to a temporary location while they work to get the music room and the boys' locker room repaired. The damage was primarily located in a storage room that contained all of the middle school football equipment, and none of it could be salvaged. For further information people can contact Supt. Doug Ardiana at 541-347-4414.

The fire brought back vivid memories of that night 45 years ago when an arsonist completely destroyed the Bandon High School. That night firemen were able to save the junior high, which was directly behind the high school.


Previous columns by Mary Schamehorn


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