The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current, July 20, 2016, Page 7A, Image 7

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Inn: Orr, Trabucco are interested in old Seafare restaurant
Continued from Page 1A
Orr, the main agent for
Marina Village, said the pro-
posal is part of the marina vil-
lage development concept he
and Trabucco brought to the
Port a year ago. The partners
want to make properties like
the Riverwalk Inn, Chinook
Building and the former Sea-
fare restaurant part of a more
uniied tourist destination.
“One important thing we’re
lacking is some way to draw
people in in the winter,” Orr
told the commission, adding
the upstairs of the Chinook
Building could provide vital
meeting space for the hotel.
Seafare Restaurant
The Port Commission’s vote
included options to include the
restaurant’s lease and extend
Hospitality Ventures’ lease on
the hotel two years.
Since being named opera-
tor nearly a year ago, the com-
pany has been on a month-
to-month lease. The Port is
waiting to search for a long-
term operator until after it
resolves litigation with Param
Hotel Group, which sued the
agency for allegedly breaking
a previous deal and choosing
Hospitality Ventures, an oper-
ator with local connections to
the Port Commission. Orr and
Trabucco are co-defendants
on claims they interfered with
Param’s agreement with the
The Port announced in Feb-
ruary that a new master plan for
and engaging directly with an
existing tenant. Orr and Tra-
bucco have long been interested
in the restaurant, and have inves-
tigated the structure’s condition.
Lease extension
The Daily Astorian/File Photo
A chair and table sit in the riverside dining room of the old
Seafare restaurant.
the agency was needed before
offering up the former Seafare
restaurant, because of a lack of
information on the building for
bidders. Hunsinger asked what
had changed.
Knight said the Port was
bypassing the bidding process
In addition to the option for
the restaurant, Orr asked the
Port Commission for a two-
year extension on the lease of
the Riverwalk Inn, saying the
company needed more cer-
tainty before making bigger
Orr said there’s an amount
of maintenance that shouldn’t
be expected from a month-to-
month tenant, such as a $40,000
investment he said is neces-
sary to replace an aging laun-
dry facility. “We put a lot into
this building, but there are big-
ticket items a longer-term lease
could help us decide to invest
in,” he said.
In other news:
• The Port delayed award-
ing the contract for a storm-
water treatment system on the
central waterfront because
of additional costs needed
to ensure groundwater does
not escape from the worksite
into the Columbia River. The
expected wining bid is Conway
Construction from Ridgeield,
Washington, which bid less
than $1.6 million on the proj-
ect, nearly $700,000 lower than
the next lowest bid.
• The Port awarded the con-
tract for a $60,000 stormwa-
ter treatment project at North
Tongue Point to Big River Con-
struction Inc. of Astoria.
Risky: Government’s cost of rescue efforts is not small
Continued from Page 1A
To help remedy the situation,
the department recently assigned
a park ranger to patrol the fence.
In late July, a task force will
present recommendations on
improving the fence, signs and
public communication.
But combating the allure
of that perfect picture — that
happy couple perched on a nat-
ural pedestal above the ocean
— will be no easy task.
It’s not OK
Cape Kiwanda is a beauti-
ful area, and popular for good
Sandy beach stretches to
a sparkling ocean where the
other Haystack Rock in Paciic
City rises hundreds of feet high.
The nearby Pelican Pub and
Brewery offers food and ocean
views, while dory ishing boats
launch from the beach. It’s one
of the few places on the coast
where visitors can drive onto
the sand.
What makes the area unique,
and dangerous, is geology. Jut-
ting into the ocean from a large
dune, Cape Kiwanda is com-
posed of sandstone that is grad-
ually being destroyed, piece by
piece, by ocean currents navi-
gating around Haystack Rock.
cliffs, caves and bowls are
carved in bizarre shapes against
the ocean, the creative hand of
wind and waves sculpting a
landscape that will eventually
become an island and someday
disappear completely.
A popular hiking trail leads
up the cape to the fence line and
warning signs. First built in the
1970s, the fence sits a long way
back from the tip of the cape.
This creates the belief, accord-
ing to many park visitors, that
they are being fenced off from
land that is perfectly safe and
home to better views.
Yet the sandstone bluff is
anything but stable. Cliffs give
out without warning and waves
rise quickly, pulling people into
the sea.
Deadliest spots
The seven recent fatali-
ties make this cape the deadli-
est spot on the Oregon Coast, a
place that has brought wrench-
ing heartbreak to families and
communities across the Paciic
Last summer, 17-year-old
Slick Rick Nelson of Sprague
High School and his friends left
a bonire on the beach, climbed
up the cape and passed through
the fence. On a cliff edge, Nel-
son fell backward, dropping
hundreds of feet onto the rocks
below. He was pronounced
dead at the scene.
At a candlelight vigil in June
2015, Nelson’s little sister knelt
before a cross, pleading for her
brother to come back.
“You’re supposed to take
care of me,” she screamed.
“I’m your baby sister. I didn’t
get to say goodbye.”
But death at Cape Kiwanda
is nothing new.
Eleven people died at the
cape from 1960 to ’72, and
multiple fatalities took place in
the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and 2000s,
according to research into old
newspaper accounts by Julie
Lethin-Keyser, and conirmed
by parks oficials.
Lethin-Keyser was inspired
to do the research when her
son, Sean Yamaguchi, 22, and
his girlfriend, Elise Dickey, 18,
drowned at Cape Kiwanda.
Yamaguchi was closing in
on a welding degree. Dickey
was an artist.
Fences and rules
Outcry in the 1970s inspired
the irst fence at Cape Kiwanda,
but shifting sands and high
winds made upkeep dificult.
The fence was rebuilt in the
mid-1990s, but has needed to
be ixed multiple times.
More dificult than keeping
the fence erected, however, has
been convincing people to stay
behind it.
Weekend crowds have
exploded in Paciic City during
the past few years. Upward
of 10,000 people cram onto
the beach and Cape Kiwanda
during summer weekends, said
James Oeder, division chief for
Nestucca Rural Fire Protection
District. The increase has meant
more accidents, and more peo-
ple walking beyond the fence.
While lost children are one
thing, conducting a rescue
effort on the sandstone bluff
beyond the fence, especially an
area known as the Punchbowl,
makes Oeder’s blood run cold.
The Punchbowl is a low-ly-
ing multicolored sandstone
bowl. It sits on the ocean edge,
features swirling colors and
a sea cave. But that beauty
can turn deadly in a matter of
moments, as quick-rising seas
pull people into a “washing
machine where you’re churned
around with huge rocks,” Oeder
said. “It’s very hard to get out or
escape if you get caught.
“Since I started this job in
2009, we’ve only pulled one
person out alive.”
“I cringe every time I have
to send my team in there,”
he said. “It’s very danger-
ous because you never know
what’s going to happen. It can
be empty and then become full
of water and very rough within
a matter of minutes. The trac-
tion is awful.”
Danger, danger
In February, during a rescue
operation in the Punchbowl,
two personal watercraft were
pulled into the sea cave and two
rescuers were injured.
The government’s cost of
rescue efforts is not small.
For irst-responding ire dis-
tricts, the cost is around $600
per hour, and $1,800 to $3,000
for a three- to ive-hour rescue,
Oeder said. That money comes
from the ire district budget.
The cost spikes dramati-
cally when the Coast Guard
is involved, which is often
the case in serious rescue
The equipment most com-
monly used by the Coast Guard
for a rescue at Cape Kiwanda
includes a motorized life-
boat, H-60 Jayhawk helicop-
ter and H-65 Dolphin helicop-
ter, said Petty Oficer 1st Class
Levi Read, public affairs spe-
cialist for the Coast Guard
13th District. The combined
price for the three totals around
$21,000 per hour, or $63,000
to $105,000 for a three- to ive-
hour mission.
Civilians will not be billed
for the rescue mission, with
limited exceptions.
Read emphasized that the
Coast Guard doesn’t worry
about the price when it comes
to saving lives and people
should never hesitate to call
for help. Oeder said his agency
couldn’t bill a person for a res-
cue either; although at Cape
Kiwanda, he wishes he could.
“If we had the ability to bill
a person for a rescue,” Oeder
said, Cape Kiwanda “would be
the place.”
The spate of deaths led to
an emotional town hall meet-
ing in March. A task force was
formed that will make recom-
mendations to Lisa Sumption,
director of the Oregon Parks
and Recreation Department.
As the long-term plan
develops, the parks department
has added new signs at the bluff
indicating the danger. They’ve
also added a park ranger who
patrols the fence, hoping to
limit the number of people who
put themselves in danger.
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