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Rogue Sea Lion Roams Lincoln City Streets - Central Oregon Coast

Published 11/27/21 at 5:32 PM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Rogue Sea Lion Roams Lincoln City Streets - Central Oregon Coast

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(Lincoln City, Oregon) – Maybe she was interested in Black Friday sales? Maybe she was looking for a different kind of seafood in the form of gourmet fish 'n chips? Or perhaps the poor Oregon coast critter simply got lost. (Photos courtesy Lincoln City Police Department)

Either way, Lincoln City police had to deal with an unusual situation early Friday evening as a female sea lion wandered onto a roadway in the Taft district of the central Oregon coast town.

According to Lincoln City Police Department (LCPD), about 5 p.m. dispatchers received reports of a sea lion that had come up from the river and was meandering around the neighborhood at about SE 51st St. Officers arrived on the scene, discovered the sea lion quickly, and nicknamed her Tiffany. They immediately set up a perimeter to ensure she did not get hit by a vehicle.

Officers couldn't help but laugh at the oddball state of affairs. See video of the sea lion

“Tiffany was very content on staying in the middle of the roadway and slowly moved closer to Hwy 101,” the LCPD said on social media.

Since the police department does not normally handle issues like this, they called in help from Oregon State Police Fish and Game and North Lincoln Fire and Rescue.

Officer Plummer from the state police group said he'd never encountered anything like this in his 20 years of being in the area. Indeed, all this set in motion something truly different for officers on scene for the next two hours.

First up was the attempt to entice the animal with her favorite dish: seafood.

The goal was to get her to go back into the water with as little stress to the animal as possible.

One officer was dispatched to nearby Kenny's IGA Village Market to explain they needed gobs of fish to bait this runaway sea lion with. Staff donated several packages of fish and refused to take money, insisting they wanted to do whatever they could to help the curious sea lion out.

“The gift of fish was presented to Tiffany, who was interested in the fish, but was likely too overstimulated and unfortunately was not willing to follow the bait,” LCPD said.

Not unlike a similar situation in Astoria on the north Oregon coast a few years back, those on the scene had to resort to more direct methods. Officers and firemen created a makeshift mobile coral made of plywood to try and urge Tiffany towards the water again. The nearest river access was about three blocks away.

Nudging a wayward sea lion back to its own world is always an intricate endeavor that requires patience. This plan was working with Tiffany, the department said, but it was slow going. Several breaks were needed, often for Tiffany's health, which included a few “refreshing soaks from garden hoses.”

They managed to get her to the access spot, where she “settled down happily” next to a section of small stream, but it was still a rather low tide at the time. However, officers said she was content to hang out in this spot and wait for a higher tide to come back in and cover her, eventually whisking her away to her natural environment.

“Lincoln City Police department would like to extend our thanks to Oregon State Police Sergeant Plummer, the crew and volunteers at North Lincoln Fire and Rescue, and to the many helpful citizens in the area who kept their distance despite wanting to be involved in such a unique situation,” LCPD said.

In March of 2012, Oregon Coast Beach Connection had an amusing encounter with a sea lion that spooked people in the dark on a beach in Lincoln City.

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