As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

April 26, 2017

I am not sure when the first picture was taken, but it's a great shot of the old high school in East Bandon which survived the Fire, and the gymnasium that even outlasted the school.

Old high school in East Bandon
Old high school in East Bandon

When I was in high school in the '50s, we were bussed across town from the new high school (which opened around 1950 and burned in an arson fire in 1974) for physical education classes. And that is where we had our intra-mural basketball and volleyball games and our dances. It was pretty decrepit at that time, and wasn't used much after the new gym was built. Later it was burned by the fire department as part of a training exercise. That is now the site of the high school baseball field.

The second picture was labeled "work at dock" and was taken in 1975 at the Port of Bandon dock.

Port of Bandon dock, 1975
Port of Bandon dock, 1975

It is interesting to note all the signs, from the Oregon sport regulations at lower left to another sign above that, a notice of park regulations to the right, and below that "dogs permitted on leash only." The guy in the picture is walking past a sign that says "private moorages."

Look closely at the people standing at left over pilings which seem to be about ready to fall into the river. The big piece of equipment in the middle of the picture had apparently been brought in to do repair work.

The third picture, taken of the flooding in City Park in 1970, seemed appropriate after looking at the weather forecast, to see a 100 percent chance of rain tomorrow (Monday) and a lot more rain this week. My next question is: when will it stop?

Flooding in City Park, 1970
Flooding in City Park, 1970

I can remember that City Park flooded pretty regularly back in the years when we had a lot of rain, but the park has been upgraded over the years, so I don't think that is much of a problem these days ... in spite of what could well be a record rainfall year.

*           *           *

Speaking of rain. My friends who live in East Bandon took issue with the rainfall report, which appeared in my column last week. The man that I quoted told me absolutely that he had 150 inches of rain in his gauge since Oct. 1, and that he had confirmed it with two others in different parts of town.

But my friends say "no way." They also have a rain gauge, and from Oct. 1 through March they recorded 78.87 inches. That doesn't include the 11 days in April that my other source recorded, but that certainly wouldn't account for the huge disparity in amounts.

I would appreciate it if others with rain gauges would let me know what they had for that same period.

I had no reason not to believe him, especially when he said that he had confirmed it with two others ... but that is a huge difference.

The friends in East Bandon recorded 18.94 inches for February, which pretty much corresponds with the OSU figure of 19.8 inches for that month.

I guess I need to contact the OSU Extension Service and find out what their total is for Oct. 1-through April.

And judging from the forecast the rain is definitely not over, so it will really be interesting to see what the final total will be for the rain year ... once the sun starts shining in earnest.

*           *           *

My friend and I went to North Bend Saturday night to see the Little Theatre on the Bay's production of My Fair Lady, directed by Josie Reid at the Liberty Theatre.

While getting out of the car near the theater, I ran into Jeff and Joanie Richards, who I had not seen in over 30 years.

Jeff taught school here in the '80s, and when they moved away, I did not know that they had returned to his home town of North Bend. It was great to see them after all these years.

The first person I saw in the theater was Dennis Lindahl, long-time band director at Bandon, who has also lived in the Coos Bay area for many years since retiring.

It was like "old home week."

Back to My Fair Lady.

Bandon Playhouse put the show on some years ago, and I loved making the comparisons. Although the leads did a fabulous job at North Bend, I felt that the local show was better cast (with both Professor Higgins and Eliza Doolittle coming from Coos Bay), and our costumes and hats (made by Alice Stadelman) were truly gorgeous.

But where they really out-did us was with the sound. The leads were all "miked" and you could hear every word and note clearly no matter where in the theater you were sitting.

It really makes a difference for us "older" folks . . . .

The music was provided by a live orchestra, and I believe Bonnie Jensen Cox (Pacific High graduate) was a member of the group. She is a daughter of the late Charlie Jensen of Langlois, who was well known for his musical abilities. I still remember him dancing at his 100th birthday celebration.

If you don't have anything to do this weekend (April 28, 29 and 30) you might want to head over to North Bend for a very enjoyable evening. They are justifiably proud of the plush new seats recently installed in the theater.

*           *           *

I've been hearing some unusual stories about a man, who recently put several ads in Coffee Break, with the latest reading: "Dreaming of owning a profitable business?" Then it gives his name and phone number.

Several people have encountered the man, who was or is staying at Shooting Star Motel after arriving here from his home in northern California. He has been spending money quite liberally, and has been giving presents and gift cards to strangers.

Among his purchases was reportedly more than $3,000 in merchandise from Ace hardware, which he later left in a bag in a local coffee shop. When he returned and they tried to give him back his bag of stuff, he reportedly said that he wanted them to give it to people who needed it.

He also gave several interesting rocks (sculptures) to a business owner, who turned them over and noticed they came from Second Street Gallery. She called the gallery and was told that the man had recently purchased the items.

The police had been notified of what appeared to be some pretty unusual behavior, and a phone call was made to the man's wife, who shed some light on him.

He reportedly pulled a knife out of his pocket in front of a local business, and then stuck it into the side of the building.

Up to that point, his behavior had been strange, but not illegal as he bought things and gave them away. But the knife incident was a bit unnerving, and it will be interesting to see what happens next.

I would caution people to be "wary of strangers bearing gifts."

*           *           *

In late March, there was a post on the Bandon History Museum's Facebook page from a woman, who was apparently the daughter of Gary Lee Duncan, who was charged with arson in 1974 in connection with the burning of Bandon High School.

Tenu L. Duncan posted: "I don't have a story because I was 1 year and 27 days old at the time of the fire and I am shocked to learn the arsonist is my dad. He died years ago, but I wish I was able to ask him why."

Duncan was 18 when he burned the high school, and the newspaper article (which I wrote) did indicate that he had two children. I just figured that he had married a woman with children, but apparently that was not the case.

At least we now know what happened to him.

*           *           *

Two men, including one with ties to Bandon, were arrested following what police describe as a dangerous high speed pursuit last Wednesday morning that ended in Bullards Beach State Park.

Around 10:30, a 9-1-1 caller reported a reckless driver near Charleston and provided a license number. Tribal police spotted the white Honda in Charleston and attempted to stop it, but the driver sped away.

The vehicle was then spotted on Highway 101 southbound near Seven Devils Road by a sheriff's deputy. But it sped off at speeds over 100 mph headed south. Officers were in the area of Bullards park trying to intercept the car, but it ended up inside Bullards. The driver attempted to flee again, narrowly missing a Bandon Police officer in a near head-on crash, the police report said.

A deputy was placing spike strips in the car's path when it approached at high speeds inside the park. The driver veered off the road and hit a small bump in the grass, causing the vehicle to go airborne. The car landed and struck a second bump, sending it fully air-borne a second time. It passed closely by the deputy who was standing in the grass trying to avoid being struck.

The speeding car entered the Bullard's campground area at speeds of at least 60 mph with patrons on foot in the area. After missing several people the car continued to speed the wrong way through the campground until it crashed into a tree, activating the front and side airbags. Both the driver and passenger fled into the woods.

A deputy with a police dog came to the scene and found the first suspect within five minutes, identified as 26-year-old passenger Gregory Kister, a transient.

Realizing the dog was close to him, the driver, identified as 24-year-old Skylar Waldrop of Coos Bay, surrendered. The 2016 Honda Civic was reported stolen out of Sacramento, and in a separate crime the license plates had been reported stolen from a different vehicle.

The men were charged with a number of felonies and misdemeanors.

Both men were currently on supervision by Coos County Parole and Probation, and were transported to the county jail without further incident.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

April 19, 2017

Several weeks ago I mentioned that I had purchased some old pictures of Bandon from an Internet site, and this week I plan to share three of those. Apparently all three photos had been part of The Oregonian's collection, which had then been acquired by the history website.

The first picture was taken in January of 1978 south of Bandon at a New River ranch, which at one time was owned by Nancy Wilson of the musical group Heart. While I was growing up, it was owned by the Jack Storm family. The vehicle in the foreground is an amphibious landing vehicle, which had been involved in what was described as one of the 10 largest drug raids in the history of the United States ... some eight miles south of Bandon.

Amphibious vehicle, 1978
Amphibious vehicle, 1978

Several of these amphibious vehicles had come through town on low-boy trucks, and were seen by many including a Bandon police officer, but no one was aware of where they were bound.

In all, at least 17 men were arrested in connection with the drug sting, which came about when a Panamanian-registered ship, Cigale, carrying tons of marijuana, dropped its load offshore from the ranch. The ship was about three miles offshore when the crewmen unloaded their cargo of marijuana -- believed to be between six and seven tons with a street value of about $16 million -- using the amphibious craft known as "ducks' which had been stored at the ranch for some two months in preparation for the smuggling operation.

The amphibious vehicles were about 35 feet long with big flotation tires, and are capable of moving in just about any kind of ocean, one of the officers told the Western World reporter (me), who wrote the story.

Some of those arrested were inside the ranch house, where five or six boxes of 30-30 shells were found, but no gun fire was exchanged during the arrest, according to Sheriff Les Miller. Someone apparently did fire what sounded like a small caliber at the Coast Guard helicopter, which aided in the raid along with three Coast Guard ships.

One of those arrested was Arthur Allen, 34, of Santa Barbara, who had purchased the 210-acre ranch from the Storms the previous August. Customs people had become suspicious as to what was going on down at the ranch when Allen closed off what had been one of the most popular access roads to fishing and hunting grounds at New River. In subsequent flyovers, customs officers saw tracks made by some type of amphibious craft, and later saw an 18-foot truck and a 40-foot semi-truck and trailer (probably the one in the photo).

Then on Dec. 29 (1977) they saw a ship offshore near the farm, which was signaling by lights to individuals on the beach. And that signaled to the U.S. Customs Service it was time to begin the raid.

A second land-sea craft is at left of the truck in the photo above.

The story was long and involved and, unfortunately, I can't do it justice in this short space.

The second photo is one of the best I've ever seen of Moore Mill & Lumber Co., which was Bandon's largest employer for many years. This photo was taken by The Oregonian in 1966.

Moore Mill & Lumber Co., 1966
Moore Mill & Lumber Co., 1966

The third photo, also taken by Oregonian staff photographer Jim Vincent in 1966, is a great view of Old Town Bandon, probably taken from the hill above the Masonic (old bank) building where Bandon Inn now sits.

Old Town Bandon, 1966
Old Town Bandon, 1966

If you view this on line you can blow it up to get a good look at what Second Street looked like in those days, not to mention the old Moore Mill Truck Shop and the mill operating in the background.

I paid quite a bit for those photos, but they are a great addition to my collection and were well worth the cost.

*           *           *

I've often said this winter that I had never remembered this much rain, and it appears that I was right. Frank Sproul of Upper Valley Builders, who built a new home in the Prosper area several years ago, told me that his rain gauge has registered 150 inches of rain since October 1 ... and that was as of last Tuesday noon. He had also talked with several others in different parts of the community who check their rain gauges religiously . . . and they all had recorded about that same amount of rain.

During my years at the paper, we often averaged 65 to 75 inches of rain for a calendar year, but I can never remember anything like we have experienced this winter.

To add further credibility, local cranberry grower John Meyer said he had checked with the OSU Extension Service, who told him that the average February rainfall for the last 28 years was 5.8 inches. This year's February rainfall was 19.8 inches.

That pretty well tells the story . . . and it's probably not over yet.

I can even understand the spring rains, but not the wind storms and hail that we have been experiencing. Those are winter storms.

*           *           *

I've learned that the former manager of the local branch of the Bank of the Cascades, Sarah Kimball, has taken a job with Umpqua Bank. Sarah will definitely be missed at BOTC, but it's nice to know that she will only be, quite literally, across the street.

She is the second employee to leave BOTC as Sabrina Sands-Johnson quit in December to go to work for the Southern Coos Health Foundation.

Also in December, it was announced that BOTC had been sold to First Interstate of Montana, with the transaction expected to close in mid-2017.

And that announcement came eight months after Bank of America had sold to the Bank of the Cascades.

*           *           *

It was recently announced that of the 10 Chick Evans Scholarships given to caddies in Oregon this year, three of them were from Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, according to Don Crowe, who replaced Hank Hickox as new manager of the resort.

The three were Nathan Midyette and Thomas Mitchell, seniors at North Bend High School, and Bailey Ouderkirk, a freshman at University of Oregon. Ouderkirk's scholarship is for three years; the others are for four years.

These four-year scholarships are worth about $100,000 each and pay for tuition and housing. Bandon has been fortunate to have had a number of Evans Scholars.

The scholarship program is named after Chick Evans who won the 1916 U.S. Open and the U.S. Amateur, to become the first amateur to win both events in the same year.

*           *           *

It will be interesting to see when Oregon Highway 38 will open again after a semi-truck crashed into the Scottsburg Bridge Wednesday afternoon, causing serious structural damage.

The semi was hauling empty wooden pallets and crashed through a bridge railing, trapping the 26-year-old driver. The trailer and the pallets fell into the river below, but fortunately for the driver the cab remained jammed into the east end of the bridge.

Until further notice, people need to use Highway 42 or Highway 126 as they head to Eugene and other parts of the Valley.

A heat-straightening contractor has been hired to make repairs to the bridge, which will then be evaluated by ODOT, who say it could easily take a week to repair even under emergency contracting procedures.

This is clearly the chosen route for those of us traveling to Eugene or Portland, and we are hoping that the damage is not too severe and that the old narrow bridge can once again be back in service.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

April 12, 2017

Not sure exactly when the first picture was taken, but I am pretty sure it was in the '70s.

In front of Lloyd's Cafe, '70s
In front of Lloyd's Cafe, '70s

The cars are parked in front of Lloyd's Cafe on Second Street, which is now closed. Across the street is the Kronenberg & Waldrop Insurance building, which now houses Sassy Seagull. And next to it is the former drug store (now Winter River Books), and Carr's Variety (now Bandon Baking Company). Next is Penny's Grotto Gifts building, and next to it is Andrea's cafe, which is now the Esscents Candle Shop downstairs and Paul Hay's Pazaz Media Group business upstairs. Note that although it's a one-way street, you could park on both sides of the street in those days.

The second picture was taken in July of 1958 when the Perry Brothers (Sid and Bub) were rebuilding their mill at the corner of 11th and Rosa Road (now the home of the Bandon Supply complex).

Construction of Perry Sawmill, 1958
Construction of Perry Sawmill, 1958

Not sure if my dates are right because I have a note on my computer that says the Perry sawmill, built in 1951, was destroyed by fire in August of 1966. Across the street you can see the former Clarence Simonson house on the corner of 11th and Elmira, which according to one of my sources was at one time owned by my grandparents, Louie and Grace Felsheim, and rented to the Bob Turner family while they built a home next door.

I looked at some information provided me by Dayton Turner, and he said: "When we moved to Bandon in 1947, Perry Bros. had a box factory located on the southeast corner of 11th Street and Rosa Road. That was the location for many years. They owned property all the way down to at least Harlem. They trucked the waste box pieces to that east end of the property and periodically burned the pile.

"Originally they had a dry stack of logs just to the south of the factory which they maneuvered by a huge wire to a log channel up which they would bring the logs into the factory after debarking them and then they cut them to the proper length for peeling.

"Then they built a sawmill on the east end of the property, enlarged the log pond and cut rough lumber, I think under contract to Moore Mill. The box factory remained for a time at the southeast corner of 11th and Rosa Road. They built the factory across the road on the west side of Rosa Road where Stadelmans (Bandon Supply) is now located and it continued to operate for some years as a box factory. However the need for wooden fruit and vegetable containers waned, and the people who owned it changed operations to just peeling veneer which they sold someplace. At some point Doug Giles bought the operation which eventually grew into Douglas Pacific."

The third picture was taken during the Cranberry parade in 1976.

Cranberry parade, 1976
Cranberry parade, 1976

Rick and Rosalie Smith, and their twin daughters, walk the parade route along Highway 101 in front of the former Ken Dennison Real Estate building on the north side of 11th Street. You can also see the 66 service station across 11th, which is now the home of Bank of the Cascades.

*           *           *

I've been reading some pretty negative comments on Facebook, somehow blaming the City for "allowing" Dollar General to build their new store adjacent to the Bandon Shopping Center. We've also heard that a group of people may come to the city council meeting Monday night (April 10) to express their concerns.

Several of the zones in the city are designated as CD (Controlled Development), which means that any use has to go before the planning commission for approval. That is not the case in the commercial zone, in which Dollar General is building.

They met all the zoning and development standards and paid all the required fees, so there was little if any grounds for denying them.

We often hear that the City has too many rules, fees and requirements that stop development ... now people are complaining that the City makes it too easy to develop?.

If a business complies with the rules, I don't see how they could be denied the right to build on their property. I would certainly not want to be the person who determined which businesses could build and which ones could not.

Would you?

*           *           *

For the second time in the last 10 years, New Artists Productions has put on Fiddler on the Roof, Jr., and like the 2008 version, this was equally as good. I continue to be amazed at how much young talent we have in this area, and how Dan and Anita Almich continue to bring out the best in them.

It was truly a great show, and I understand they averaged about 100 people a show. And that is a great turnout for community theater.

The star of the show was Nathan Malamud, who played Tevye, the father of five daughters, but all members of the big cast did a truly great job.

*           *           *

I don't know if others are experiencing the problems with CBS on the Dish network that I have in the last few weeks, but I am getting extremely tired of paying over $100 a month for channels that pixelate and go out, including during the first half of the NCAA championship game. This afternoon, as Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose were battling in extra holes for the Masters Championship, CBS began to pixelate and went off the air. When it finally came back on, the tournament was over and Sergio had become the third golfer from Spain to win the coveted Green Jacket.

The tournament began with a fitting tribute to golf legend, fondly dubbed The King, Arnold Palmer, who died in September.

I know that Arnie had played Bandon Dunes not long after it opened, and he had been spotted at the cheese factory. I would surely have loved to have seen him.

But back to the TV. I would like to know if others are having similar problems, and if the CBS problems are common to other carriers as well as Dish.

*           *           *

Saw an interesting editorial in a recent Wall Street Journal titled "America's Got Immigrant Talent." It explained that the recent Regeneron Science Talent Search (also referred to as the Junior Nobel Prize) will feature advances from America's brightest young minds.

"One observation meriting citation is that the ranks of prodigies are increasingly dominated by progeny of immigrants. Note to the GOP restrictionists: Immigration literally spawns innovation."

Wow . . . and that came from the very conservative Wall Street Journal.

*           *           *

There is still time to donate to the "50 Years Later - 2017" scholarship, which is the brainchild of Bo Shindler (Class of 1967) and sponsored by the Bandon Historical Society. The Class of 1967 is taking the lead by organizing and making donations to the scholarship, which will go to a deserving in-need student from the BHS Class of 2017.

The deadline for donations for this year's scholarship is May 1. Thus far, $5,851 has been raised through a GoFundMe webpage.

People can also mail donations to BHS 50 Years Later Scholarship 2017, c/o Bandon Historical Society, P.O. Box 737, Bandon, OR 97411.

*           *           *

I read on Facebook that Joyce Duval (daughter of Jean and Clayton Duval), a member of the BHS Class of 1970, died recently from injuries suffered in a car wreck in Alaska last Sunday. She was married to Patrick Strain, also a member of the Class of 1970. The couple made their home in Anchorage.

I learned that Joyce, 65, was a passenger in a vehicle driven by her husband when they were involved in a two-vehicle wreck near Seward, Alaska. Joyce died at the hospital and at that time, Pat was listed in critical condition.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

April 05, 2017

I have received several questions from people wondering if the old Shell Oil site on Highway 101, just west of the First Baptist Church, has sold. The first picture I am sharing shows the old tanks towering above the property, with Officer Sid Dominy in the foreground covering an accident.

Old Shell Oil site on Highway 101
Old Shell Oil site on Highway 101

I am guessing that this was taken sometime in the late '60s or early '70s. The property is owned by Larry Hardin, and is being cleared of the concrete pad on which the tanks sat, as well as clearing out garbage from a transient camp and leveling the property. Access to the parcel is off Third Street, which goes up the hill behind Face Rock Creamery. So, the short answer is the property has not sold, but remains for sale through Brian Vick of Oregon Properties.

The second photo was taken during the Cranberry parade in 1972. I have chosen this picture to show you what the area (Chicago and Second Street) looked like in those days.

Cranberry parade, 1972
Cranberry parade, 1972

The big building is the Arcade Tavern, which has been a lot of things over the years and is now Inner Garden, owned by Bill and Louise Moore. It is also the home of the Rolling Pin Bake and Brew, a new business in Old Town selling fancy cupcakes and great coffee. As you look down Second Street you can see Carl Williams' barber shop, which was later torn down to make way for the building that now houses Second Street Gallery and Coastal Mist.

The third picture is something we don't see many of these days . . . a ferry crossing the Coquille River. In the old days, there were ferries crossing the river where the Bullards Bridge is now, as well as in Riverton, where this photo was taken. You can see several of the many dairy farms, which dotted the landscape years ago.

Riverton ferry crossing
Riverton ferry crossing

*           *           *

The tragedy that took the life of a 14-year-old Eugene girl on the South Jetty beach last Saturday ended up making the national news.

The National Weather Service posted warnings late this week warning people of the potential for sneaker (make that very dangerous) waves that were predicted to hit the coast both Saturday and Sunday.

I also read a post from a Bandon woman who was extremely concerned that the huge log that had rolled over and crushed the girl was still on the beach, and she had seen children playing on it. She was asking what could be done to remove the log.

I certainly agree with her concerns, but what we really need is a better job of educating our visitors who come to Bandon to play at the beach. The beach is lined with logs that can potentially move in a receding tide, and injure or kill. That is evident by the number of big logs which have been thrown up near the berm where the sand meets the parking lot. It's hard to believe the force of nature until you see huge logs whipped around in the surf like toothpicks.

An article in The Oregonian after the accident said that 17 people have been swept out to sea by sneaker waves along the Oregon Coast since the year 2000. And several of those deaths have occurred right here in our area.

The fact that the article about the girl's death made the national news, and was on the front page of the local papers, as well as the Eugene Register-Guard, will surely help warn people of the dangers lurking at the beach at this time of year.

I worried about the SOLVE Beach Cleanup event, held Saturday morning, after reading the National Weather Service warning, but apparently things went off without a hitch.

(After I had written this, I saw a post that says the sneaker wave warning has been extended to April 5. And since more sun was predicted, and Washington Spring Break is this week, there will be a lot of people on the beaches. I hope they get the word).

*           *           *

As I was looking through my Facebook this afternoon I saw a post from Bandon native Dean Van Leuven, which said "I am so sorry to say that my wonderful wife and friend Pat has passed away this day."

Not sure exactly when Dean graduated, but his brother Darry was in the class of 1953. Dean was a few years older, and I do remember that he was a star football player for the Tigers.

*           *           *

I saw several posts from people who had gone to the Sprague to see the New Artists' production of Fiddler on the Roof Jr., which they say is an amazing show. Barbara Dodrill liked it so much that she is going again next weekend. I saw it the first time they put it on several years ago, and it was marvelous.

You still have time to see it Friday, Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

*           *           *

It was sad to see the Oregon Ducks lose in the Final Four game, but at least the number one seed from the West, Gonzaga, will be playing Monday night in the championship game.

Gonzaga is coached by Mark Few, who is a graduate of Creswell High School (just outside of Eugene) and the University of Oregon. They lost only one game all season.

For those of you who may not know, Gonzaga is a Catholic college in Spokane, Wash.

Go Zags!

*           *           *

I learned this week that the 10 public libraries in rural Douglas County, including the one in Reedsport, closed for good Saturday, after voters rejected a November 2016 ballot measure that would have increased their property taxes by 44 cents a thousand to fund libraries. This includes the libraries in Drain, Myrtle Creek, Riddle and Sutherlin. The Roseburg library is expected to close by the end of May.

Douglas County commissioners issued a statement that said shrinking timber revenues and reserve funds have left them with no option. It was either close the libraries or stop funding public safety services.

Judging from the amount of crime that has been reported in Roseburg and the outlying areas in recent weeks, this decision will only add to the problems facing that area.

Thankfully, libraries in Coos County are primarily funded through a tax-supported library service district, so they likely will not suffer that fate, no matter how dire things get in the county's budget.

*           *           *

We all know how dangerous it is to text and drive ... except those people who continue to do it. The driver of a pickup truck that collided with a church minibus in rural Texas last week, killing 13 people, acknowledged that he had been texting while driving. A witness said the truck had crossed the center line several times before swerving into the oncoming lane and striking the minibus. The driver was a 20-year-old man from Leakey, Texas.

Previous columns by Mary Schamehorn