Biggest Oregon Coast News Stories, Developments of the Year
(Oregon Coast) - Four major developments dominated tourism on the Oregon coast this year: the economy, the weather, an excessive die-off of Brown Pelicans and then a dangerous disease that hit sea lions. But other developments affected things, either prominently or in a way not obvious to the average spectator.
The year began with the economy still sour, which has continued to hurt businesses all year.
Right off the bat, however, in January, authorities began noticing an excessive number of brown pelicans lingering along the coast, when they should have already migrated. Then, they began washing up dead or exhibiting behavior which is uncharacteristic for the species – such as begging for food, no fear of humans, eating bread crumbs as handouts. Many of the birds were emaciated or starving, and this was the reason for an apparent lack of fear of humans.
State authorities had to urge people to not feed them. Meanwhile, they theorized one reason for the problem was the particularly crazy storm season that winter, which might have prevented them from migrating and changed their eating habits.
In February, there was a big stir with a possible tsunami on the coast – albeit a small one. An 8.8 earthquake hit Chile and this caused a tsunami advisory here, although they only expected some slightly larger than normal wave action, if anything. That did not materialize, however. https://www.beachconnection.net/news/tsunam022710_436.php
On February 9, a star of the Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch” hit series passed away. Captain Phil Harris was honored in Astoria several times in late winter.
During the winter and spring, the beaches saw a rather startling return of the famed Japanese glass floats. These were a staple throughout much of the early and mid century, but mostly disappeared by the 80’s. This winter saw a huge run of them. https://www.beachconnection.net/news/jglass042010_419.php
This was a bit of ominous news, however, as some environmental scientists in Oregon saw this as a bad sign that the so-called “garbage patch” in the Pacific – a mass of plastics floating in concentration in one area of the ocean – was spiraling stuff off onto these beaches. Indeed, a huge run of plastics from Asia was found on the beaches over the year, and lent more evidence to this theory. It is still probably the most overlooked story on the Oregon coast. https://www.beachconnection.net/news/garpat062410_526.php
Then the “bummer summer” hit, starting off with what local media called “Junuary.” This colder, wetter than normal summer was big news in Portland, Salem and the rest of Oregon as well, but on the coast it never seemed to let up.
The odd and ironic thing, however, was that June was much nicer on the coast than inland, yet businesses there were hurt even more by the perception that it was an extra crummy June there.
Lincoln City resident Sheridan Jones keeps track of weather in the area. He noted there were five days from June 1 to June 23 that were sunny all day.
There were ten more days when the sun dominated the afternoons – although the mornings started off with all kinds of weather, like clouds, hail, rain, etc.
That leaves a total of 15 days out of the 23 that the sun either appeared frequently or dominated the day. In the end, that was way more sun than Portland got.
By the end of the summer, the coast had only seen a handful of sunny days. There was a brief heatwave in August that sent folks to the beaches in droves.
Don Weller, at Newport's Ona Beach BnB and Bunkhouse, said he received a small rush at his tiny place, which only has three rooms. “The main point is, until the weather turned, we were getting nothing,” Weller said.
That little bit of summer provided some economic relief from a tourism industry hit with a double whammy of bad weather and tourists' empty pocketbooks.
In June, Astoria held its massive "Never Say Die: The Goonies 25th Anniversary." Among other popular features, lovers of the cult classic film got to see or mingle with original cast members including Corey Feldman, Jeff Cohen, Joe Pantoliano and Curt Hanson.
By October, another alarming development hit the beaches: sea lions dying off from a disease that could be contracted by humans and dogs. The disease is called leptospirosis, and it’s still infecting California sea lions in enormous numbers, something made worse the by fact there’s a huge boost in the population of California sea lions in this area. It often kills them and their bodies wash up onshore. The disease can spread to humans and dogs who come in contact with an infected sea lion.
Some of the biggest news on these shores is still brewing. A rarely seen shipwreck has made an appearance in Rockaway Beach – the second time it was visible in 35 years. https://www.beachconnection.net/news/shipwr122310_346.php
Back in December, just before the little town of Aumsville got hit with a freak tornado, some massive and even more freakish gust of wind tore off the roof of the Sea Horse Motel in Lincoln City. It removed 500 feet of its roof, leaving 15 units of the motel with no covering. Story here
Coming up this year, the Dennis Edwards Tunnel will be shutting down at nights for about five months. The tunnel is on Highway 26 between Portland and the north coast. It will remain open during the daytime and all night on weekends and holidays. But you can be sure this will dominate the news on the coast for some time in 2011.
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