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Longer Days, Sunsets After 5 Reveal Trippy Little Details for Oregon, Washington, Coastlines

Published 01/19/21 at 12:26 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Longer Days, Sunsets After 5 Reveal Trippy Little Details for Oregon, Washington, Coastlines

(Portland, Oregon) – Finally, the days are getting longer, and sunsets in inland areas like Portland, Eugene or Olympia, Washington, are now taking place after 5 p.m. as of Wednesday.

Portland gets to celebrate its first sunset after 5 p.m. today, but some places north are still a day or two away from that joyous marker. From here until June, days keep getting noticeably longer and the first sunset before 5 p.m. for the Portland area won’t happen again until November.

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Yet on the Oregon coast and Washington coast, that’s already been the case. Indeed, some parts of the southern Oregon coast passed that point a few days ago.

All this brings up some intriguing little details about sunsets in the Pacific Northwest.

Today, Coos Bay is at 5:13 p.m., showing the southern Oregon coast has been over 5 p.m. for a bit already. Cannon Beach is already a few minutes after as well, but Portland reaches that point today.

Up on the Washington coast, Westport clocks in at a little after 5 p.m. as does La Push much farther north, but Seattle is still just a minute or two away under that five o’ clock mark. It has a day or two to go.

The online listings you find may not be the same from source to source. A listing for Cannon Beach could deviate slightly from website to website, but it’s usually within a minute or two of the other.

One aspect that already provides a twist is the fact sunsets happen a little later on the coastlines than in inland cities like Seattle, Portland or Eugene. Yet some sources will list the same sunset times for a beach town and its closest inland town. For instance, you may find Seaside with the same sunset predictions as Portland. Most I-5 corridor cities are at least 70 miles west, making the exact moment of that orb going away a bit later along the shoreline. That can be a difference of nearly 10 minutes.

While online sunset listings have improved in recent years, you will still discover quirks between locales and websites.

Another part of the hitch with sunset times in almanacs and other sources is that they often list that exact time of dusk going by a flat, featureless horizon. It doesn’t take into account SE Portland getting blocked by the west hills, for example.

Back in 2012, Oregon Coast Beach Connection tested the difference between Portland’s sunset time and Warrenton, discovering the beach was seven minutes later. However, the difference between the coastline and nearby valley cities can increase or decrease depending on where you are in the Pacific Northwest.

In any case, if you want a little extra daylight at the end of the day you might zip on over to the Oregon coast or Washington coastline. You’ll have at least a few minutes more than when you left.

Of course, this also means sunrise happens a few minutes later at the coast. Sometimes you just can't win when it comes to daylight.

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