Some Curiosity Seekers Come to Oregon Coast After Tsunami Scare
(Oregon Coast) – The tsunami-like surges that hit the upper half of the Oregon coast – and presumably the actual tsunami waves that chomped at the extreme southern coast – have created a little bit of a tourism surge as well. But if it's been any help to regional businesses after numerous visitor cancellations is doubtful (above: Depoe Bay).
There's been a lot of buzz about the coast since the tsunami scare of last week, after a magnitude 9 earthquake in Japan created a tsunami wave that essentially dissipated by the time it reached the U.S. The more populated sections of the coast – from Florence to Astoria, the upper half – received no damage, except for a wave surge that crunched part of the harbor in Depoe Bay.
It was a non-event for all but a couple spots along the 360 miles of coastline, yet it has caused some unreasonable lingering fears and concerns, and yet some curiosity seekers. There were some reported cancellations at hotels and lodgings around the coast this weekend, and at least one hotelier has reported a cancellation for a reservation in July where the visitor cited “safety concerns.”
On the other hand, some are reporting a small surge of the curious to the coast, looking for something interesting to see along the beaches since the extra helping of waves.
In fact, both sides of this situation are wrong: there is nothing to fear on the coast, and nothing new to see. Although those visiting Brookings and Depoe Bay may get to glimpse some of the aftermath in the harbors.
Oregon Coast Beach Connection encountered at least two Portlanders who came to the coast over the weekend to see if there was anything to gawk at. They were greeted by nasty weather and had to stick to indoor attractions.
The Cannon Beach Chamber reports receiving two calls from those wondering if there was anything new to check out since the tsunami scare. Some in Florence were reporting a brisker business over the weekend, partially because of the curious.
The Liberty Inn in Lincoln City said it had quite a rush, however.
“We had a huge amount of walk in’s on Friday due to the curiosity of our guests,” said general manager Tiffany Shaw. “On Thursday night we had about 30 rooms to sell for Friday, and by the end of the night Friday we only had 10 rooms to sell due to the curiosity seekers.”
This doesn’t appear to be the norm, however, as the Lincoln City Visitors Center, among numerous others, reported visitors being spooked by the events of Friday morning and opting not to head to the coast. Whatever bump in tourism there was by curiosity seekers hasn’t counterbalanced the fearful.
On top of the unreasonable fears that some still have regarding this coastline, there is now a bit of a panic on the west coast of the U.S. regarding radiation from Japan. Authorities from Lincoln County actually had to issue a statement addressing this, saying there is absolutely no danger to the coastal region because of the great distance between here and the crisis in Japan.
There isn’t anything new to see on the beaches, either. Even if there was, it would’ve been created by this weekend’s stormy conditions and not any momentary surges that the tsunami created.
Keith Chandler, with Seaside Aquarium, said he’s been wandering some of the sands in the area and said they were pristine and unchanged.
“Nothing has washed up,” he said.
There didn’t appear to be any new and interesting erosion because of winter storms, either, like the kind that briefly revealed that ancient shipwreck in Rockaway Beach this season.
As to the fears that some people seem to have adopted about the coast, Chandler had little patience for that. He was quick to point out there is nothing different about the coast than there was in the weeks, days or years before this tsunami scare.
“There’s nothing to be afraid of on the coast,” Chandler said. “Just use common sense. After all, you’re heading to the Oregon coast – not Japan.”
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