Stay Eat Events Weather Beaches


Unknown 'Oily Sheen' Off Oregon Coast May Be Behind Tar-like Mystery, Finds Further South

Published 5/25/24 at 6:35 p.m.
By Andre' Hagestedt, Oregon Coast Beach Connection

(Newport, Oregon) – Visitors to the Oregon coast and Washington coast need to take extra care along the beaches and keep themselves and pets away from the patches of tar that have been washing up in the last week. There has been a “Unified Command” set up between various state and federal agencies, as more are being discovered farther south and one possible cause has been spotted off the north Oregon coast.

Latest Coastal Lodging News Alerts
In Seaside:
Includes exclusive listings; some specials in winter
In Cannon Beach:
Includes rentals not listed anywhere else
In Manzanita, Wheeler, Rockaway Beach:
Some specials for winter
In Pacific City, Oceanside:
Some specials for winter
In Lincoln City:
Some specials for winter
In Depoe Bay, Gleneden Beach:
Some specials for winter
In Newport:
Look for some specials
In Waldport
Some specials for winter
In Yachats, Florence
Some specials for winter
Southern Oregon Coast Hotels / Lodgings
Reedsport to Brookings, places to stay; winter deals

The Unified Command is a combination of agencies being led by the U.S. Coast Guard, Washington Department of Ecology and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

DEQ said they have collected samples from beaches and are still testing the tar-like material. However, firm results are not expected until next week.

In the meantime, what's causing it may or may not be just off the beaches of Clatsop County, 1.5 miles or so off Cannon Beach. Other oil sheens in the past along the coast have occurred because of disabled vessels but they did not cause incidents such as this.

Beth Quillian, who is a spokesman with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), is also fielding questions for the Unified Command. She confirmed there has been an “oily sheen” spotted 1.5 miles offshore from Cannon Beach, but that is still being examined. What it's made of – or if it's the cause of this incident – is “still unconfirmed” she told Oregon Coast Beach Connection.

[Ongoing updates from DEQ]

“The Coast Guard is still conducting flyovers and has been since Thursday,” Quillian said.

The sheen has only been spotted in the Cannon Beach area and it does not appear to be moving south. According to what Quillan had, so far there's no evidence it had come from the north, as the first patches began showing up on the Washington coastline.

“I have not heard if that sheen specifically – on the water - has been seen elsewhere,” she told Oregon Coast Beach Connection.

Unified Command said it had no information yet about any plans for vessels to head out and examine the sheen. Oregon Coast Beach Connection will have updates on this Sunday.

Luckily, the incidents have slowed down or halted on the Washington coast.

DEQ announced earlier Saturday that more tar-like patches had been found farther south, including around Yaquina Head at Newport. Quillan said since then another had been discovered at Holiday Beach, which is just a few miles south of South Beach.


National Weather Service satellite image from May 25, noonish: resolution was not good enough to spot the sheen as some satellites have done

Responders are continuing their search for oiled birds or more tar patches and they will continue to clean them as they're found. Grass roots groups Washington Coast Savers and Coast Watch are also scouring beaches with volunteers. You can see reports as they come on the Coast Watch site, although nothing has been spotted by participants yet.

Officials from Unified Command and all involved continue to urge the public to not touch oiled birds or the tar patches as the substance is still unknown.

“Dogs and other pets should be kept away from these materials,” DEQ said Saturday. “Tar balls are sticky and can get on skin, hair and clothing. If this happens, wash the area with soap or degreasing dishwashing detergent and water. Avoid using solvents, gasoline, kerosene, diesel fuel or similar products.”

If you see oiled birds or other wildlife, report it to 1-800-22-BIRDS (1-800-222-4737). Untrained handling of affected wildlife is dangerous to the animals and any individuals attempting to help.

If you find oily patches, contact Oregon State Police or local police at the non-emergency numbers. MORE PHOTOS BELOW

Oregon Coast Hotels in this area - South Coast Hotels - Oregon Coast Vacation Rentals - Where to eat - Maps - Virtual Tours



MORE PHOTOS BELOW






Booking.com




Above: photos ODFW. Silver Point near Cannon Beach at the top

More About Oregon Coast hotels, lodging.....

More About Oregon Coast Restaurants, Dining.....


Coastal Spotlight


Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

LATEST Related Oregon Coast Articles

Raucous Oregon Coast View in Lincoln City or Depoe Bay Spotlighted in May
Some of these sights cost a little less through mid May. Depoe Bay hotel reviews, Lincoln City hotel news

Four Finds Where Kiddie Distractions and Grownup Fun Meet Untamed on Oregon C...
The 'buzziest' destinations have more than you know: Seaside, Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport

Summer Solstice, Sunset Past 9 pm for Oregon / Washington Coast
Summer's official launch on Thursday, June 20. Astronomy, sciences

Annual Rockaway Beach Kite and Art Festival Returns to Oregon Coast
Father's Day weekend, June 14, 15 and 16. Rockaway Beach events, Manzanita events, Cannon Beach events, Garibaldi events

When Rockaway Beach Falls Off the Edge of the Oregon Coast's Seasons
Get ready for some insider tips on weather, changing sands

Unusually Heavy Solar Storm Good for Aurora Along Washington Coast, Possibly ...
Better for the Washington side but still possible in Oregon. Weather

U.S. Travel Tips: More Reasons to Meander Around Manzanita, on Oregon North C...
A quiet but quirky sense of the laidback. Neahkahnie Mt., Nehalem, Wheeler

Wild Tales from Oregon Coast Lighthouses: Giant Holes to Killer Storms
Port Orford, Coos Bay, Bandon, Florence and Seaside / Cannon Beach. History


Back to Oregon Coast

Contact Advertise on Oregon Coast Beach Connection
All Content, unless otherwise attributed, copyright © Oregon Coast Beach Connection. Unauthorized use or publication is not permitted