As I See It
by Mary Schamehorn
August 26, 2015
The first picture I am sharing this week was taken in May of 1958 at the boat basin.
Bandon Boat Basin, 1958
I believe this was taken across First Street from the present day Arcade Tavern. The Western World caption that accompanied the picture says: "It looked bad to passersby who saw this seven-yard dump truck up-ended at the Port of Bandon boat basin fill project, but the truck and its driver, Pete Hull, were back at work in about an hour. Hull was backing into position for dumping a load of fill material when the earth gave way beneath the truck. He jumped clear as the truck, owned by Floyd Peterson, rolled over. Soon after, the truck was righted by the Port whirly and pulled to firm ground by a small "cat" used on the fill project.
Note the huge Olson vessel in the background, which is being loaded with lumber.
The second photo, taken during the 1957 Cranberry Festival, features the Teal brothers towing a little girl, who I think is their sister Scottie, in the parade.
1957 Cranberry Festival
In the back you will see Erdman's Market, the original (and much smaller) Lloyd's Cafe, The Pastime Tavern, Boone's Hardware and Ray's Pharmacy. If you look closely, among those watching the parade are Marion Potterf, seated on curb, and standing in front of the building, Lee and Audrey Iddings (Sandi Butler's parents).
The third picture, taken in 1978, shows a couple of tour buses stopping at the cheese factory, with Chappell's Chevron (now a vacant parking lot) across the highway. Not notable to anyone but me is my favorite little Karman Ghia, which I drove for many years, parked in front of the station.
1978 Cheese Factory
* * *
The City of Bandon is between the proverbial rock and a hard place. People have been urged to cut back on their use of water (also impacting sewer revenues), which means that revenues to support the water utility will decline.
An article in a recent Wall Street Journal was titled "California's Water Rates Rise."
It explains that while millions of California residents expected to see their water bills go down because they were conserving water, as requested by Governor Jerry Brown, the opposite occurred.
The article explains that "water departments are increasing rates and adding fees because they are losing money as their customers conserve. They say they still have to pay for fixed costs including repairing pipelines, customer service and enforcing water restrictions." You, of course, can add employee costs to the mix.
"The financial blow is only expected to grow because Gov. Jerry Brown's administration has ordered communities to slash water use anywhere between 8% and 36% from 2013 levels in response to the four-year drought. Those cuts are expected to leave agencies with a $1 billion hole in revenue."
What the article doesn't mention is that sewer charges are based on the amount of water a homeowner or business uses, thereby negatively impacting the sewer fund, as well.
As more people on the City of Bandon's water system conserve, our revenues (both water and sewer) will decline and we can't make it up with fees and higher rates, so, at least until it becomes a dire necessity to conserve, it is probably not in the city's best interest to encourage conservation.
Sad, but true . . .
(It is also important to realize that once the water storage tanks are filled, and it may take a bit longer when water flows are down, what we don't use flows directly out into the ocean.) At this time we are still able to fill our holding tanks; at such time as we cannot fill them in a timely manner to keep up with the usage, we will need to implement water restrictions. And when we do, we will suffer a further decline in both sewer and water revenues.
* * *
The same logic holds true for alternative energy, including both solar and wind generation.
While there are only 11 or 12 cities in the state who have municipally owned utilities, including the City of Bandon, most customers in the state are served through IOUs (Investor Owned Utilities) like Pacific Power and Portland General Electric, or on a smaller scale, cooperatives like Coos-Curry Electric.
An interesting article about renewable energy, which also appeared in a recent WSJ edition, said it best: "Most damaging is the effect of renewable mandates on the power stations necessary to ensure the stability of the electric grid and balance supply and demand."
The City of Bandon is one of those power stations, which would suffer from even a modest proportion of wind- and solar-generated electricity . . . making it difficult for us to recover the fixed costs it takes to make sure there is an uninterrupted source of power . . . when the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining.
And much of the increase in wind and solar power is government subsidized.
The article adds: "So unless conventional capacity also is subsidized, at some point the lights will start going out."
I know this seems a bit dramatic, but it costs money to provide relatively low-cost electricity to our customers, while maintaining the transmission lines, keeping lines free from tree limbs and restoring power in the case of an outage.
Our electric utility is also important from another standpoint: since Bandon has a very low property tax rate (46 cents a thousand), revenues from the utility help pay for much of the administrative and financial duties which the City performs. It also helps fund the general fund with a 10 percent utility tax, which helps pay for the police department, and enables us to contract with the Rural Fire Protection District for fire protection.
* * *
The long-awaited all-school reunion went off without a hitch Saturday at the high school gym, sponsored by the Bandon Historical Society Museum. Over 200 people signed in during the day, with some coming from as far away as Ohio and New Jersey.
It helped that the Class of 1965 was holding its 50-year reunion and the Class of 1955 was celebrating 60 years.
The oldest alumni attending the reunion was Marjorie Bullard Stephenson, 101, who graduated in 1931. She was joined by her cousin, John Fogle of Bellevue, Wash., who graduated from BHS in 1944. Other members of the Fogle-Bullard family attending the reunion, were Marjorie's nieces, Sally and Susie Baird (daughters of Betty Bullard Baird and the late Ray Baird), and Steve and Tim McCue, sons of the late Evelyn Fogle McCue and her husband, Marvin. Steve and Sally were both members of the Class of 1965.
I spent the entire day at the reunion, sharing my books of Bandon and several hundred photos that I've printed from negatives that Jim Proehl and I have downloaded from my extensive collection.
I still have a few Bandon books left and a couple of the arson fire in 1974 that destroyed the high school. The Bandon books are $50 and the smaller high-school fire book is $40. If you're interested, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will mail one to you.
I'm not sure who all worked on the reunion, but I know board member Donna Thorn Mason and her sister, Linda, spent the entire day there making sure everything ran smoothly. And I know their cousin, Nancy Goddard Murphy, also helped a lot ... while she also hosted the 50th reunion dinner at the home she shares with husband, Ray Murphy, in a beautiful country setting.
Jim Proehl spent the afternoon at Ocean Crest Elementary, where reunion-goers were invited to visit their old grade school, built a little more than 75 years ago.
* * *
In the last week, we lost several long-time Bandon residents, including former mayor Ray Kelley, Bob Martindale and Bill Hopson. Bob worked at the post office for many years and was very active in the community. He graduated from BHS in 1953.
Bill Hopson was the son of Miles Hopson; one of his brothers, Jim, also died not long ago. Bill and Jim were both 1966 graduates of Bandon High School.
Ray, who was in his 90s, came to Bandon with his wife, Marge, and their son, Kingsley, after he retired from teaching at the Air Force Academy in Colorado. He served as mayor from 1981 until 1987.
* * *
Although I didn't get to go this weekend, I've heard good reviews about the Bandon Playhouse production of "Spitfire Grill," which plays two more weekends at the Sprague Theater. I plan to go this coming weekend, and I urge my readers to support community theater.
* * *
I learned this week that the "jury duty scam" has returned. The sheriff's office is warning of the phone scam, which targets Coos County. The caller identifies himself as Nathan McNair from the Coos County Sheriff's Office, and the caller ID number shows a Coos County number. The caller tells the victim they have missed jury duty and a warrant will be issued unless they send money.
Officials stress that the calls are not coming from the sheriff's office. Anyone who receives a suspicious call should contact the sheriff's office or the Oregon Department of Justice.
* * *
At the Meet the Cops event Friday night, I heard people talking about the number of burglaries in the area of Highway 42S, and Chief Webb mentioned that there had also been one recently on Beach Loop.
People are urged to lock their houses and vehicles, and especially when they go to bed at night as there have been several home-invasion robberies in the county, that occurred when people are home.
Two Bandon men, Stevan Alexander and Chris Hernandez, were arrested recently by the sheriff's office in connection with a home invasion robbery in Charleston, after the homeowner held them at gunpoint until officers arrived. There were also two other home-invasion burglaries at around the same time, with one man knocked unconscious. Someone also entered the home of a couple and their two-year-old daughter as they slept.
This is scary stuff . . .
As I See It
by Mary Schamehorn
August 19, 2015
Since many people will be gathering in Bandon Saturday (Aug. 22) for the all-school reunion, I chose for my first "history" picture the beautiful Bandon High School, which burned in 1974, and the baseball field with its large grandstand. This picture was taken in August of 1965 at a Junior Legion game at the baseball field across Ninth Street from the high school. The grandstand is also gone, with games now played across town at the field in East Bandon.
Bandon High School & baseball field, 1965
The second picture, taken in February of 1963, was at the March of Dimes auction, held in the showroom of Capps Motor Co. (now Harbortown Events Center).
March of Dimes auction, 1963
Velda and Bill Ellis, left, are helping a radio announcer from (I think) KWRO conduct the auction. Across Second Street you can see the Capps Motor Co. service station (now the site of the Bandon Visitor Center/chamber office) and on the south side of the highway was the building that is now home to Freedom Graphics. It formerly housed a machine shop of some kind, but I can't for the life of me remember the guy's name. I know they also built a house behind the shop.
Many of us remember the series of restaurants that occupied this building on the south side of 11th Street, just east of the Coquille Point parking lot. This picture was taken in July 1966 when it was a Mexican restaurant. Bill Bradbury was among those who operated a cafe in the building many years ago. The building, and the motel just east of it, built by Ed and Margaret Gorman, have now been torn down by Mike Keiser to make way for eventual development.
Mexican Cafe, 1966
* * *
I'm certainly looking forward to the reunion, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the high school gym, with Ocean Crest Elementary School open from noon to 4 for those who may want to look at their old grade school.
I do know that the Class of 1965 will be having their 50-year-reunion at the home of Ray and Nancy Goddard Murphy, and the Class of 1955 will meet for their 60th reunion, but I'm not sure what they have planned.
Unless you're planning to spend the entire eight hours at the gym, you may want to arrange with members of your class to meet at a specific time because if you don't, you could miss each other.
I plan to have some of my Bandon books at the reunion, for those who may want to reminisce over the places and people in the three books.
* * *
As I was looking through sites which sell old postcards and pictures, I was surprised to see that Face Rock has had several names over the years, including Profile Rock and Sphinx Rock. There were pictures of all three, taken in different decades, but all three were clearly the same rock . . .that we know as Face Rock.
* * *
The city recently received an email from a Bandon man questioning the information in a recent city manager's newsletter concerning Bandon's property tax rate, which is the lowest in the county, and probably in the state. He believed that the greater share of his tax bill went to support things that had to do with his living in Bandon.
Instead of the city tax rate of 46 cents a thousand, he came up with an assessment more like $7.40 a thousand, and asked if we were comparing "apples to apples."
Since he is probably not the only person with questions, I tried my best to explain the tax situation.
In addition to the city's general tax rate of 46 cents a thousand, there is a special levy, approved by the voters, which was used to pave all the streets in Bandon, and the water bond, also approved by the voters, which comes to a total of $1.80 a thousand.
The other taxing districts, which make up a person's tax bill, include the school district, South Coast ESD, SWOCC, 4-H extension, Coos County library services, Coos County, Port of Bandon, Coos County Airport District, Southern Coos Hospital and Coos County Urban Renewal. The city does not get one thin dime from any of these taxing bodies, except in the case of the library, because that levy helps fund all the libraries in the county, including Bandon.
As for the two Bandon Urban Renewal districts that people see on their tax bill, that is money that goes into those two districts (after the values were frozen when the districts were formed or amended) for all the projects that have been budgeted. A person's total tax bill would have been the same regardless of those two districts, but the money that is diverted into UR1 and UR11 for local projects would have gone to the other taxing districts. In the case of the schools, what they lose from the city having two UR districts is back-filled by the state.
The Urban Renewal Area 1 plan was amended several years ago, but before the city could amend the plan it needed the support of the overlapping taxing districts (schools, hospital, port, county, 4-H, library, airport) who continued to collect tax revenues at the same rate that they had been, but they agreed to forgo collections on the increased value for a longer period of time. They understood that the projects undertaken by the city provided benefit for everyone in the community.
Bandon Urban Renewal has provided funds for a number of past and ongoing projects, including the popular Port of Bandon boardwalk and crabbing dock, sidewalks and pedestrian walkways, Fillmore Avenue traffic signal, the Bandon Historical Society museum building, the new library, Barn/community center, and the many improvements at City Park.
Without Urban Renewal many of the wonderful things that the City has been able to do and hopes to do in the future ... would not have been possible.
There have apparently been some Facebook posts lately decrying the fact that we have utilized Urban Renewal, which has its critics. But it has been a Godsend for the City of Bandon . . . primarily because of our very low tax rate.
* * *
The Coos County Commissioners have decided to put a 10 percent transient lodging tax on the November ballot, which would impact all lodging facilities in the county.
At the present time, Bandon has a 6 percent tax, plus 1 percent to the state, while North Bend, Coos Bay and the Mill Casino have a 7 percent tax, with 1 percent to the state
The proposal by the county, which will have the greatest impact on facilities outside of incorporated cities, like Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, will also impact local motels, hotels, etc. because if approved by the voters, their TLT will immediately go up to 10 percent, regardless of what it is now.
Interestingly enough, the county commissioners discussed whether to put this measure on the ballot Friday, and only two people, Hank Hickox and Jim Seeley from Bandon Dunes, attended the meeting.
I don't know if the motel owners are not aware of what is being proposed or they simply do not care ... but that would be hard to believe. Small towns like Coquille and Myrtle Point, both of which have only one motel, will soar from O to 10 percent, plus the 1 percent to the state, so it will be a pretty big jump for people used to staying there.
The City could have elected to raise its TLT to 10 percent, but the deadline to get it on the November ballot has now passed. The difference between our present 6 percent and the county's 10 percent will now go to the county. If approved, 70 percent of the money raised by the county's TLT is earmarked by law for tourism promotion, with the other 30 percent going to the county, to be used to help fund the sheriff's office.
I certainly would have preferred that the county come in with a more reasonable tax of 6 or 7 percent, which would have been in keeping with the cities, but they chose to "go all out" for a much larger tax. It remains to be seen how this will play out at the polls, and what motel owners will have to say when they realize that they, too, will be impacted. Stay tuned . . .
* * *
After receiving a quote from my brother-in-law this week, I couldn't help but think of some of the posts I have been reading lately on Facebook: Here's the quote from Isaac Asimov: "Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."
* * *
In addition to the all-school reunion Saturday, the Bandon Community Swimming Pool Corporation is sponsoring a fundraising dance Friday from 5:30 to 11 p.m. at the Old Langlois Cheese Factory, 94179 Allen Boice Drive in Langlois.
The event is potluck and all ages are welcome. The Coastal Cowboy will play and sing at 5:30, and there will also be outdoor activities. From 8 to 11, a local band, Done Deal, will entertain. There is no charge, but donations will be accepted to raise funds for the proposed swimming pool.
* * *
I've learned that Phyllis Ray (wife of the late Bob Ray and former long-time resident of Bandon) fell recently and broke her right arm just below the shoulder joint and has two small fractures in her right hip. Her daughter Martha Mills said she is currently in rehab, but is hoping to come home this week. We wish her a speedy recovery . . .
* * *
I need to correct something I said in last week's column. Michael Whitney, who jumped into the river to help Heidi Hoss of Bandon out of her car when it crashed into the Coquille River, is the grandson of Ralph Whitney, not Kenneth.
Also Michael did graduate from Bandon High School a couple of years ago. His dad, Ben, also is a graduate of BHS.
* * *
I learned last night while watching KVAL news on CBS, that the Dish network will no longer carry CBS, effective today (Aug. 16). That means no more 60 minutes, new episodes of the Big Bang Theory, KVAL news and any of the other programs that CBS carries.
The trailer across the TV said that people can still get CBS on DirecTV, but I am not sure how that is going to help us Dish customers.
I am wondering if there is a way to put up an antenna to obtain CBS. If so, I hope someone will let me know.
As I See It
by Mary Schamehorn
August 12, 2015
The first picture I am sharing this week features four women who taught in the Bandon School District for many years. This was taken in May of 1975 on the 25th anniversary of the Bandon Education Association. From left are Zerva Glasscock, long-time high school teacher; Nellie Biggar, elementary teacher; Lucy Jacobs, principal of the elementary school at the quonset hut, and Marge Boak, who was the high school librarian for many years.
Bandon school teachers, 1975
The second picture shows Bob Norton, owner of The Golden Rule department store (now the Continuum Center), after fire broke out in the store in May of 1956.
Golden Rule department store after a 1956 fire
If I am not mistaken the fire started in an upstairs apartment which took the life of its renter, Berna Linn. She was a good friend of my grandmother Grace Felsheim, and had moved to the apartment after the death of her husband, C.W. "Bill" Linn. While looking for some information in an old fire publication, I saw that Berna was one of seven people (including my grandfather L.D. Felsheim, O.C. "Otto" Shindler, G.R. "Ray" McNair, O.L. Zentner, W.J. Sweet, and Mrs. Ed Gallier) to be appointed by then Mayor Ed Gallier to serve as a planning commission to help with the rehabilitation of Bandon after the Fire of 1936. Bob Norton's daughter, Barbara McMahon, lives in Bandon with husband, Jack. I spent most of my paycheck at The Golden Rule for many years, which prompted my dad to say I "would be the best-dressed woman in the poorhouse." You certainly wouldn't know it by the casual way I dress today.
I took the third picture in February of 1998 of the old Moore Mill Truck Shop (that survived the Fire when it was a commercial building) before it finally deteriorated to the point that the Port of Bandon tore it down. I remember that Alex Linke took me into the building to show me what condition it was in, and I can certainly attest to the fact that it was pretty unsafe. It was a great roosting place for seagulls and provided an interesting backdrop for boats in the harbor.
Moore Mill Truck Shop, 1998
* * *
It's almost time for the big all-school reunion, set for 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Bandon High School gym on Saturday, Aug. 22. I questioned the hours because my fear is that unless you plan to stay the entire 8 hours you may miss seeing some people who only come for a short time. But I am sure it will be fine and I know that a lot of people are coming long distances to attend so they will probably stay all day so they don't miss anyone. From noon until 4 p.m., the Ocean Crest School will be open for those of us who attended grade school there. The school recently observed its 75th anniversary.
* * *
Sunday, Aug. 23, is the date for the Music in the Park event, which will be held on the new stage in City Park from noon until 4. There will also be a showing of the Bandon Playhouse production of Spitfire Grill in the Sprague Theater at 2 o'clock, just across from the stage, so that will be a big weekend for locals.
* * *
Talk about the old adage "when bad things happen to good people," nothing could be truer than the latest tragedy to befall Ruthanne McSurdy-Wong (Ruthie) and Gary Dawson, whose home burned to the ground in the early morning hours of Aug. 6.
Gary was home alone and barely managed to escape, along with one of the couple's dogs, when he was able to jump out the bedroom window to the group some eight feet below, according to long-time friend Chuck Salt. He said Gary spent a couple of days in the hospital. They lost everything, including a bird, two cats and a dog.
Ruthie was not home at the time because she is being treated at OHSU in Portland for stage 3 leukemia, and expects to be there for a few months.
Donations of clothing or household items can be dropped off at Cardas Audio, where Gary has worked for many years. He will also be remembered by theater people as the sound man for the Sprague Theater for many years, and Ruthie has been responsible for painting many of the beautiful murals that graced the stage for Playhouse productions.
Cards or letters can be sent to Ruthie care of OHSU, 3181 SW Sam Jackson Road, Building K, Portland, OR 97239. For more information on how to help, call Angela Cardas Meredith at 541-936-2755 or Cardas Audio at 541-347-2484.
The GoFundMe link for donations is: http://www.gofundme.com/Ruth-and-Gary.
Jason Tree, who is also helping to raise money for the couple, said the response has "been tremendous."
* * *
I heard this week from Sheila McNeil (whose Facebook name is Tahliah Rose) who said that the application for the Honor Flight that she submitted has been accepted for her dad, Hugh McNeil, for Oct. 22. Honor Flight is for WWII veterans to fly back to Washington, D.C., to see the memorial. Hugh is 95 and lives in Myrtle Point at the Myrtle Point Care Center.
She is hoping that her mother Betty and her brothers will help pay the expenses so that she can accompany her father, but if not, she is hoping that the people of Bandon will help with the cost. I will let you know if she sets up a "Go Fund Me" account.
Hugh was a commercial fisherman, former butcher at M&L Grocery and a long time Port of Bandon commissioner.
I know this trip would mean a lot to him . . .
* * *
Most of you probably saw the story on the KCBY website, or on KVAL-TV, about the woman who drove off Highway 42S east of Bandon Friday morning and ended up in the river.
I have learned that the driver of the vehicle, which sunk in the river, was Heidi Hoss, 39, significant other of the owner of Foley's Irish Pub, Noel Foley.
The state policeman who covered the accident said she "negotiated a curve too fast, lost control, went across the highway at an angle, and went off the embankment . . . maybe about a hundred foot drop."
Ben Whitney and his son, Michael, heard the car crash into the river as they were preparing cattle for sale. They ran down to the river and could see a car floating in the river, and just as they got there it started to sink.
Heidi managed to get out of the vehicle as it sank, and that is when Michael Whitney dove in, swam across the river and helped her to the bank. She was taken to the hospital for a cut on her head.
"The river is a lot wider than it looks," Michael's father is quoted as saying. "When he started swimming, it looked like he wasn't even going to make it. That's scary."
The state police officer is quoted as saying: "The biggest thing is I was very impressed with that young man that swam across the river."
I believe that Michael Whitney would be the grandson of Kenneth Whitney, who was in the BHS Class of 1958. His dad, Ben, was a student at BHS in the mid-'80s. I don't have any of the newer annuals, so I'm not sure if Michael attended Bandon or Coquille schools, but he is definitely a hero for risking his life to help save someone.
* * *
Several weeks ago I received an email from Coos County Commissioner John Sweet about the latest mosquito outbreak.
Here's what he had to say: "I'm concerned about mosquito populations now showing up on private property where dikes and tides gates have failed. We currently have an outbreak on the Herman property across the river from the marsh as a result of a dike failure last winter. No doubt that some will blame USFWS and the county, but the fact of the matter is that whenever new breeding habitat is created, as is the case when dikes and tide gates fail, the mosquitoes will find it and multiply. This happened when the marsh was newly created and is happening again now on the Herman property.
"We've applied Bti larvacide to the Herman property, unfortunately not before a flyoff, and will continue to do so, if I can get approval to work on private property from the other two commissioners. We have money and larvacide to do this this year thanks to USFWS funding that has not been used on the marsh due to the effectiveness of their ditching program. Hope to buy enough time for Hermans to either restore the dike or ditch. Problem, I'm sure, will be money for them to pay for design, permitting and construction. The regulatory process is horrendous, I'm told.
"The county cannot take this on after USFWS money runs out, but I'm trying to put together a group, perhaps Coquille Watershed, US Soil and Conservation, maybe the Port, our planning department, etc. to see if there is a way to simplify permitting and help fund design construction.
"It should be a private property owner's problem, but I'm afraid that the cost of diking and draining may exceed the value of the land in some cases and certainly the ability of the landowner to pay in many cases. I would expect this to be an ongoing problem as dikes and tide gates age and fail."
John further pointed out that the outbreak on the Herman property would have happened even if the marsh were still pasture land.
As I See It
by Mary Schamehorn
August 05, 2015
This week's historic pictures were all taken in the decade of the '60s. The first one shows a group of students, teachers and townspeople building one of the dugouts at the old baseball field. The stands in the background (located across Ninth from the school at that time) were torn down years later to make way for the parking lot for the football field/track. This picture was taken in March of 1965 and those that I can identify, from left, are Billy Smith, Ralph Yockey, Russ Conn, George Kronenberg, Floyd Holloway, Glenn Scofield and then there is a man that I can't recognize.
Building a baseball dugout 1965
The second picture was taken on Feb. 24, 1965, of an accident scene at Highway 101 and Ninth in front of the vacant lot, which is now the Bandon Dairy Queen. Next to it is Bill Pullen's Western Auto store, with his McCulloch Saw Shop behind it (now Bandon Ace Hardware). Big Mac (Police Chief D.S. MacDonald), at right, is busy getting information about the accident.
Accident scene 1965
The third picture was taken in December 1962 and is looking north across Highway 101 toward Chicago Avenue and the Capps Motor Co. building (now Harbortown Events Center). Across Second Street was a service station, and across Chicago was the Bandon Arcade (now Bill and Louise Moore's Inner Garden building). This was the year that Capn' Shipwreck came to Bandon as part of the big Shoppers' Jamboree. Somewhere in my files, I also have a picture of Capn' Shipwreck greeting kids in, I think, the Ocean Crest gym.
Christmas billboard 1962
* * *
An article in a recent issue of The New Yorker magazine generated a lot of interest, and, frankly, just plain fear. The statement that "everything west of Interstate 5 will be toast" definitely caused people to sit up and take notice.
That statement came from Kenneth Murphy, head of the FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) division for Cascadia.
What he meant, according to a follow-up article in The New Yorker a few days ago, is the region will be in very grave shape. That is not news to those of us who have been following reports of the possibility of the "Big One" for over 20 years. It's a lot like playing musical chairs: you hope you are in the safest place possible when it hits, but most of us are not going to stay inside a quake-proof room 24/7 waiting for it to happen.
One question repeatedly asked is: Are we overdue for the Cascadia earthquake?
The author of the follow-up article quotes DOGAMI's (Department of Geology and Mineral Industries) Ian Madin, who said: "You're not overdue for an earthquake until you're three standard deviations beyond the mean ... which in the case of the full-margin Cascadia earthquake, means 800 years from now. (In the case of the 'smaller' Cascadia earthquake, the magnitude 8.0 to 8.6 that would affect only the southern part of the zone, we're currently one standard deviation beyond the mean). That doesn't mean that the quake won't happen tomorrow, it just means we are not 'overdue' in any meaningful sense."
The writer adds: "The odds I cite in the story are correct: there is a thirty-percent chance of the M8.0-8.6 Cascadia earthquake and a ten-percent chance of the M8.7-9.2 earthquake in the next five years."
Unfortunately, Bandon is decidedly in the southern part of the zone.
Hopefully the nationwide scope of the first article will not make people rethink about vacationing in the Pacific Northwest.
But, again, it's like playing musical chairs . . . .
Mongo said he would post the second article on the Bandon.tv website, and people are urged to read it as it has some very important information about getting prepared. The kind that could save lives . . .
* * *
I often hear about the value of advertising in Coffee Break, and this week I learned that is true; unfortunately I was not clear in my ad and the four calls that I received all read it the opposite of what I had intended.
I am looking to purchase or lease a small piece of property on the Sixes River with access to a swimming hole and enough land to put up a tent or space for a trailer. My ad said: "Cash to buy or lease small piece of land on Sixes River." Seemed pretty straight forward to me; I was willing to pay cash for the property. No one called me to say they had land to sell but four people did want to buy the land . . . that I don't own.
I also put the ad in the Port Orford Beacon, but changed the first word to "Want to buy or lease . . ." Hopefully this will bring results, rather than confusion.
* * *
At one time, our family owned four 10-acre parcels up Sixes and a cabin and 17 acres below Edson Creek . . . but all have since been sold.
My sister Molly and I are fortunate to be able to swim at one of those properties, now owned by Charlie Crew and his son, Greg, who gave us permission to swim there. We knew Wednesday was going to be a hot day, but it wasn't until we arrived at the river that we realized it was 97 degrees, and we probably weren't going to sit out on the hot rocks and cook ourselves. We found a great spot under a tree, which was still plenty warm, but we spent most of the afternoon in the river. And when we walked across the field to the vehicle, we learned that by 4 o'clock it had gotten to 100 degrees.
But before we headed home, we decided to drive down to Cape Blanco Lighthouse, which Molly had never seen, and we were blown away by the field after field of yellow flags, and the huge stage that had already been erected for the weekend's Bi-Mart Country Music Festival, for which 20,000 tickets had been sold. I absolutely cannot imagine that many people spread across that ranch, but it certainly seems to be a popular event and the number of people in town over the weekend was staggering.
I understand there was a huge traffic jam on Highway 101 Friday night as the headliner Blake Shelton was caught in the traffic and it became necessary to close the highway to allow his big rig to get to the concert site as he was due to be on stage that night. Mongo had some great pictures of the people stopped on the highway on his website, and I am sure he will have more after the concert.
You have to wonder just how many more people that venue can hold.
I'm anxious to talk to people who attended the three-day event and see what it was like. I understand that the line was extremely long to get into the beer garden, and I'm sure some interesting stories will come out of it . . .
But Country/Western fans are a dedicated lot and my guess is many of them have already purchased their tickets for next year ... crowds or not!
* * *
I was very sad to learn that my wonderful uncle, Lou Felsheim, died at his Randolph Road home Friday morning. He had been battling heart disease for some time and was scheduled to see a heart specialist in Eugene Tuesday. He spent Thursday at Bay Area Hospital, but they had sent him home to wait for his Eugene appointment because they felt he needed either a bypass or stents. But my aunt, Anne, texted everyone Thursday night to say that he wasn't doing well, and I got a call from their pastor's wife, Mary Wilson, to say that he died that morning. A Bandon native, I believe Lou celebrated his 92nd birthday in March. His parents (my grandparents) owned and operated the Western World newspaper for 50 years, and Uncle Louis took over after grandfather died in 1962.
He and Anne were parents of four children, including John, James and Carol, and older daughter, Laurie, who died some years ago. My mother, who died two years ago, was Lou's only sibling.
Lou loved to play the trumpet and often played for his church family. I know there will be a service, but I am not sure of the date.
* * *
I haven't read this anywhere, but a friend stopped in to see Takashi Haruna at his computer business one day last week, and was told that Takashi was retiring effective last Friday. He has been a lifesaver for me so many times, and I don't know what we will do without him, as I know he also serviced the city's computers. So if this isn't true, I'll be happy, but my friend said that is what he told him.
* * *
Not sure how many of you read the letters to the editor in last week's Western World, but I feel compelled to respond to the one titled "Bandon is better than that," written by someone named Dave Lauten.
He is certainly entitled to his opinion, which prompted a Facebook post by John Gretzinger commending Amy for running the letter in Western World, but it seemed like quite a reach to me.
He said that since I am an outspoken critic of marijuana users and am opposed to any cannabis distribution in Bandon (his words, not mine), I am apparently a racist because we allow a traveling salesman to sell Confederate flags on the south end of town out of the back of his truck. Then Lauten asks: "So is this what Bandon is about; it's OK to sell racism, but it's not OK to sell cannabis?"
In the first place, there ARE places inside the city limits where the sale of medical marijuana is perfectly legal. But back to the racism issue:
I believe the furor over the Confederate flag concerns them flying over state and local buildings, not whether or not they are allowed to be sold. I am pretty sure you will never see a Confederate flag flying over City Hall in Bandon, but to call us racists because they are sold somewhere in the city limits is a bit of a stretch.
I wonder what would happen if the city council decided to legislate what could or could not be sold inside the city limits . . . maybe certain kinds of imported goods, things not made in America, goods made in specific countries, etc. This list could go on and on, but you get the point. This is a slippery slope ....
* * *
I haven't heard too many complaints, but when I read the minutes of the Parks & Recreation Commission meeting about the fireworks, I had to admit that my pal Geri Procetto and her friends were right: for some reason they did not get to see most of the fireworks display on the Fourth of July.
She mentioned it at a council meeting and I made light of it because I had been sitting downtown, on the waterfront adjacent to the Country Merchant parking lot, and saw the entire display very clearly. No smoke ... no fog ... just great fireworks.
But a member of the Parks commission had the same problem. Ollie Jones said she saw the first three fireworks, but was "unable to see any of the rest due to the column of smoke that went up."
At first I told Geri that the smoke must have come from the illegal fireworks that were shot off along the waterfront before the big display started. But now I am not sure what happened, because it is obvious that people in a certain part of town did not see what the rest of us did, and that's a shame.
previous columns by Mary Schamehorn