Oregon Coast Range Snow-Free, Biz Still Hurting
|Snow-covered roadsides give way to clear pavement along Highway
26, at the summit.
(Oregon Coast) - Sometime over the weekend, the roads to
the coast not only vastly improved but completely cleared up, as Highways
6, 26 and 18 lost all trace of snow. The temperature warmed up well above
any chance of ice as the freezing elevations rose drastically higher than
the highest summit on the roads to the coast.
Yet cancellations were still rampant this weekend at coastal
lodgings, and the normally busy week between Christmas and New Year’s
Eve dried up right along with the snow. Meanwhile, recent weather-related
issues about flooding created more misconceptions about travel to the
Phil Kaufman, owner of Pizza Garden in Nehalem, received
two phone calls from concerned drivers wondering about conditions on the
coast due to flooding in Seaside.
|Looking east from the summit on Hwy 26.
"There’s a misleading amount of coverage about
that on TV, apparently," Kaufman said. "They said they'd seen
the footage of flooding in Seaside. But that happens all the time there.
It’s nothing. It’s completely passable, and it’s not
going to affect driving south towards Manzanita in any case, even if it
was a problem.”
BeachConnection.net traveled up to the coast range summit
at Highway 26 Sunday, about milepost 27. There, at the highest spot of
any coast range highway, the elevation is 1642 feet. There were no hints
of ice on the highway and only tiny patches of occasional slush. The coast
range had completely cleared up, although the sides of the roads were
covered in the aftermath of major plowing.
Highway 6 to Tillamook and Highway 18 to Lincoln City were
also the same. Highway 20 to Newport had been clearer than the others
during the whole snow event period and also reports completely clear roads.
Some new dustings of snow are expected on the coast range,
but it’s expected to melt quickly and be a non-issue.
The drive to the coast is, if anything, a little more extraordinary
than usual right now, with a sort of fairy tale vibe due to snow covered
hills compacted tightly around the highway.
See video of the drive through the coast range below.
During the snow event period, the tourism economy on the
coast was hit pretty hard – even harder than last year’s windstorm
that wreaked havoc on the north coast. While many businesses were shut
down for a whole week in December of 2007, this time both the north and
central coast were cut off from tourists for more than a week.
“It’s our worst December on record,”
said Danielle Emerick, manager of Starfish
Point in Newport. That sentiment is echoed around the coast, with
many saying others are telling them the same thing.
Brian Hines, owner of San
Dune Inn in Manzanita, said his business is off about 72 percent compared
to last year.
“And remember the last two years saw more snow and
four-day power outages here on the coast, which thankfully hasn't been
the case this year, so far,” Hines said. “We had small amounts
of snow compared to Portland, and US 101 was pretty much clear most of
the time. It just reinforces how important US 26 is as an artery to the
north coast. There were days when the mail or newspapers never made it.
|Highway 6, between Tillamook and Portland.
“Personally, I feel the general economic downturn
is playing its part also. Christmas week is normally a busy week and we
are generally 60 to 70 percent full on Christmas Day. But an absolute
zero this year - not because of cancellations but just no reservations,
Newport, Oregon Beach House
Rentals was dismayed to see its big last week of the year dissipate
“Out of 25 rentals for different portions of last
week, I think I had two who actually got through and came,” said
owner Michele Franck. “One woman said it took them eight hours from
Oregon City to Lincoln City on December 23.”
Franck, like many others, said a good number of tourists
who cancelled for this week are re-booking for later, forecasting a decent
return to normality.
“We just had our best November in all the years
in this business,” Franck said. “So December wrecks that number.”
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Cape Property Services.
Dozens of homes in that dreamy,
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All homes are immaculate and smoke free; some pet friendly (with
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here for video of Dec. storm aftermath
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