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Oregon Coast Dangers Update: Logs, Dunes, Oceanside Tunnel, More

Published 02/13/21 at 6:56 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Oregon Coast Dangers Update: Logs, Dunes, Oceanside Tunnel, More

(Oregon Coast) – There is a varied mix of good and bad news for winter dangers on the Oregon coast this week. Logs are presenting greater issues, some dune erosion is still happening and causing potential problems, but Oceanside’s tunnel is back open after being shut down last month.

Meanwhile, there’s been no change with Newport’s Jump-Off Joe, which was closed off due to major crumbling of the small headland.

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The one upbeat bit of beach news is that the tunnel at Oceanside is back open. Without fanfare or announcement, sometime recently Oregon Stat Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) managed to clear the landslide debris, which occurred on December 6.

The rockslide briefly endangered several people who were on the other side, trapping as many as 12 in that semi-secretive cove.

Large chunks of rocks reportedly began falling shortly before 11 a.m. that day, and then the big deluge came, caught on video and posted by the Netarts-Oceanside Fire District. The noise was incredibly loud, say witnesses.

The king tides that happened in recent months along with other winter storms took out larger-than-normal chunks of foredunes along most of the Oregon coast, leaving dangerous drop-offs in many places. Often, dunes acquired a sheer drop of five or more feet, making for precarious situations for anyone moving quickly over them towards the shore.

Manzanita: photo courtesy Barb Gould / Manzanita Visitors

The worst of it happened back in January and since then some areas have begun to have gentler slopes downward. However, volunteer group CoastWatch is reporting there are still sizable chunks missing in most areas and some definitely continue to get worse, albeit more slowly.

It’s advisable to stick to beach accesses and stairways where you can clearly see the path downward to the beaches. Running over a dune may cause you to fall quite a ways as you can’t always see the drop-offs coming. Among the areas reportedly getting worse is a beach near Devil’s Backbone on the south coast.

CoastWatch and others are also reporting seeing an extreme amount of heavy logs on many beaches, including Lincoln City’s Taft. Volunteers reported those areas difficult to walk on.

In fact, CoastWatch and its parent organization Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition made it a point to showcase the immense field of massive logs covering Short Sands Beach and stressed this area will get dangerous when the tideline hits it. Logs could be moved at any second there and hurt someone.

It’s also a cause taken up by Seaside Aquarium’s Tiffany Boothe, who recently noticed an increase in logs in around the north Oregon coast town.

Photo Tiffany Boothe / Seaside Aquarium

There have been at least two reported incidents this year of people getting injured by logs in the tideline.

“Logs on the beach are wet and extremely heavy,” she said. “It only takes a few inches of water to float a 5-ton log. A single wave can lift and roll heavy logs, leaving anyone standing sitting or kneeling on one to be thrown off and potentially pinned underneath. Even small logs can prove dangerous, as they can be waterlogged and weigh several hundred pounds. If you see a log in the surf or on wet sand, stay off. Be aware of the surf if sitting on a log high up on the beach. Sneaker waves can reach up the beach and easily move even the biggest of logs (remember, that is how they got there in the first place).”

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Gleneden Beach erosion exposes pipes / Courtesy CoastWatcher Streets

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