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About Cannon Beach gazette. (Cannon Beach, Or.) 1977-current | View Entire Issue (April 22, 2016)
4A • April 22, 2016 | Cannon Beach Gazette | cannonbeachgazette.com
Views from the Rock
How local high school
teachers made a diff erence
arth Day is a big deal in Cannon
I had no idea when I moved here
last year the extent of the apprecia-
tion of the land, its preservation and
maintenance. Where else does a parade take
place celebrating Earth Day? Where else do
residents celebrate it for 12 days — four days
longer than Passover, which starts tonight?
Earth Day here is “a sacred celebration of
our relation with this wonderful place,” Dis-
trict 5 County Commissioner Lianne Thompson
commented in our of¿ ce last week.
ost of my birding is done alone,
but teaming up with my BFF
(best friend forever) Mitzi adds
a certain delight! And that pretty much
describes the day we had during the
Fourtth Annual North Coast Birdathon.
The celebration of Earth Day draws us in intel-
lectually, and our hearts and souls, she said.
“We’re here together in this place, no matter
how we get together crosswise, we’re together in
this sacred place.
“The best of what we do is to come togeth-
er and celebrate and pay attention. We have an
awareness this is what it means to be here, it calls
us and tells us to be responsible and careful in
taking care of this land as we work here and play
here. I love it.”
Of puffi ns and pinnipeds
Over the last year, on the Oregon Coast, I’ve
learned to look around in ways I never had before.
When I ¿ rst went for an outdoor run, I noticed
a crow hovering above me on a tree. As I ran, it
À ew to the next tree, and then the next, keeping
pace, before peeling off in another direction.
Now I always look up at the trees, especially
at the top of the trees. It seems like there’s always
something avian keeping an eye on you.
My ¿ rst story for this newspaper upon arrival
was on dune grading.
Homeowners spoke of the “Frankendunes”
that swallowed up their view.
Other citizens feared long-term results of
grading and setting a precedent for more grading,
upsetting the beach’s natural order.
Subsequent stories brought an education in ge-
ology, marine life, archeology, forest management
and seismology. The irony of the “Twelve Days
of Earth Day” — as bounteous as it is — that it is
only the tip of the iceberg (one of the few natural
wonders Cannon Beach actually doesn’t have).
Local authors wax poetic about the prehistoric
beauty of the region. With it come some prehis-
One of the fun parts of watching these shores
is discovering wildlife we never knew existed.
The many kinds of seals and sea lions. I learned
the word “pinniped.”
I still haven’t seen an elephant seal, which
came to Cannon Beach in 2007, but I hope to.
Author Doug Deur said he saw one recently.
I can’t imagine the combination of an elephant
and a seal, but it does stimulate the imagination.
‘Mr. Earth Day’
It’s hard to imagine the one-two punch of a
Seaside High School science department in the
decades of the 1980s and 1990s with Ed Johnson
and Neal Maine, teachers worthy of a top-notch
Geologist and environmental consultant Tom
Horning, a Seaside High School graduate, recalls a
1970s Earth Day assembly at the high school with
a visit from none other than Gov. Tom McCall.
Johnson is Cannon Beach’s “Mr. Earth Day,”
and he participated as he does every year at the
“Twelve Days of Earth Day” potluck dinner last
Top teams at
“Mr. Earth Day,” former Seaside High School teacher Ed Johnson.
Like Horning, he’s been celebrating the holi-
day since its inception.
Johnson’s grandparents moved to Cannon
Beach in the 1940s, and he settled here after
he got his master’s degree at Cornell. John-
son taught with the Seaside School District for
17 years, alongside another early adopter, Neal
Maine, founder of the North Coast Land Conser-
vancy, author, naturalist and philosopher.
Maine is still sharing his vision, whether it’s
how to see a rain forest, saving a displaced os-
prey or a renewed appreciation of the sand on
our beaches. His lecture, “Beaches: More than
Sand,” was part of this year’s “Twelve Days”
Seaside’s High School science department in
the 1980s “was so good, it had to end,” Johnson
quipped last Friday at the Cannon Beach Earth
Day Potluck at the Visitors’ Center.
“Ed Johnson was one of my all time favor-
ite teachers,” Seaside High School grad Jeanne
Braun said in an email. “Because of his passion
for teaching and his wonderful sense of humor I
remember always looking forward to being in his
Neal Maine is the reason why Braun started
volunteering for North Coast Land Conservancy
more than 10 years ago, she said. “Neal is the
kind of person who inspires you to look at nature
in a whole new way — with your eyes and ears
and mind wide open.”
Both Johnson and Maine continue to share
with us their deep passion and knowledge of
nature and the importance of taking care of our
natural world, Braun said. “The impact that they
both have made in our community and continue
to make should inspire us all to be better stewards
of this precious place that we call home (or as
Neal would call it: paradise!).”
It wasn’t just naturalists who thrived at Sea-
side High School.
Horning remembered chemistry teacher Leo
Sayles as having “more impact on me than any
He was just a “really good instructor,” Horn-
ing said. “Anybody who took his class really en-
Horning became a chemistry major at Ore-
gon State University because of experiences in
Sayles’ class, he said.
“And I still rely on the things I learned his
class than I did at OSU,” Horning said.
“It was something about the way we were im-
mersed in it, whereas opposed to the university,
Th e (science) beat goes on: Th ree of Sea-
side High School’s Associated Student Body
oﬃ cers give a presentation on the group’s
Don’t Catch Th is Wave tsunami awareness
and fundraising campaign during a January
school board meeting.
where you could only carve off a little bit of time.
Ultimately it turned out to be really relevant to
being an exploration geologist in geochemistry.”
The landscape that is celebrated in ¿ lm, from
“Goonies” to the latest production, “Seaside”
currently being shot at Hug Point and Arch Cape,
is ¿ lled with “dangerous beauty,” in the words of
¿ lmmaker Sam =alutsky, who grew up in Port-
land spending summers on the coast.
It is that dangerous beauty that is our most
tangible reminder of the environmental respon-
sibilities in this fragile land.
“People moved to Cannon Beach for its aes-
thetic beauty and they did everything the could to
protect it,” Horning said.
Cannon Beach is proactive, Horning said, act-
ing in a sustainable manner, taking care of trees,
watershed and expanding watershed protection.
“They’re always ahead of the curve,” he said.
“The important thing is to hold the line. It’s death
by a thousand pinpricks that sets back a commu-
nity. If you don’t draw the line and set a standard,
you wonder where everything went.”
If you were to say anything to the city of
Cannon Beach about Earth Day, we asked, what
would it be?
“Keep up the good work,” Horning said.
We would add: and start with a good science
Our pace was different this year and
I haven’t ¿ gured out why, but I want to
emulate it every year in the future. Al-
though the of¿ cial start time is 7 a.m.,
Mitzi works until midnight and is very
sleepy if we get that early a start, as
was apparent one year, when she fell
sound asleep in the dunes while watch-
ing a À ock of mixed shorebirds. This
year, we started at the civilized hour of
Our ¿ rst stop was Haystack Rock,
where we ticked off nine species, in-
cluding our beloved tufted puf¿ ns. We
saw three! Also spotted were all three
scoter species, two cormorant species,
murres, guillemots and Harlequin ducks.
Luckily, no eagles at the Rock this time
scaring off the other birds.
We kept to the ocean and scanned the
Cove in Seaside, walked the trail around
the Mill Ponds and took a quick look
in the Necanicum estuary. It was early
afternoon and we had listed 60 species.
After a quick stop to get coffee, we drove
straight to Brownsmead and Bug Hole
Road, eating our PB&J’s on the way.
The day ended on Logan Road, the
back road between Seaside and Astoria.
Excellent birder, Linda Perkins had seen
an American dipper there earlier in the
day, so we stopped, Ran to the river’s
edge and ticked off our last bird at 6:58
Mitzi and I tallied 93 species that day
(my new record for one day), but more
importantly we raised nearly $4,000 for
the Wildlife Center of the North Coast.
That makes a great day birding all the
Please consider joining us next year
for the Fifth Annual NOC Birdathon. We
will be celebrating ¿ ve years by extend-
ing the hours from 12 to a full 24-hour
cycle! (Can you say owls?) Put the date
on your calendar — April 8, 2017.
Join the growing group for birding
adventures in the Cannon Beach area.
We meet the ¿ rst Sunday of the month at
the Lagoon Trail parking lot on Second
Street at 9 a.m. As a group, we decide
where the best birding is and bird un-
til about 11. Bring binoculars and wear
appropriate clothing. Everyone is wel-
Susan has spent her life enjoying
the great outdoors from the lakes and
woods of Northern Minnesota, Mount
Adams in Washington and now the
Oregon beach environs. After spending
many pleasurable hours driving her
avid birder parents around, she has
taken up birding as a passion, to the
mixed emotions of her husband Scott.
The Boacs reside on the Neawanna
Creek in Seaside where their backyard
is a birder’s paradise.
Tale of the mysterious Highway 101 ‘Bandage Man’
t’s been one of those months. Per-
haps, it’s just been one of those
years. 2016 is all about and pol-
itics, local and national, with April
speci¿ cally focused on taxes. It’s all
a bit, well, serious. As a fun respite,
let’s blur the line between fact and ¿ c-
tion for a minute. With weather grad-
ually improving (April showers not
withstanding), and camp¿ res becom-
ing a more common occurrence, hav-
ing a few good ghost stories in your
back pocket can only help matters.
So in an effort to make April
more eerie, I went hunting for some
haunted local legends. Here’s what I
Built in 1881, the Tillamook Rock
Lighthouse was a solitary steward of
the night, guiding ships along the
tempestuous Oregon coastline to
and from the mouth of the Columbia
River. Over a mile offshore and just
a little dispirited nowadays days, the
John D. Bruijn
lighthouse seems the best candidate
for a good ghost tale. Heck, at one
time after being decommissioned it
was an of¿ cial columbarium — a
sacred place to inter human ashes.
Sounds promising so far, right? The
lighthouse seems the idyllic location
to spend eternity. In fact, that was
the name of the business: Eternity at
Sea. You just have to cross the wa-
ter to get there. Anybody remember
the fable of the River Styx? But is
it haunted? As a historian, and not a
ghost hunter, I think it is unlikely.
The next uncanny Cannon Beach
location is the former home of Gov-
ernor Oswald West. Since the gover-
nor’s passing the home has become
an icon of the beach town. With
fame comes gossip. The house sits
perched on a basalt precipice with
hands-down one of the best views of
Haystack Rock. It is said that it was
the time spent constructing his home
that inspired Governor West to pro-
tect Oregon’s public beaches.
Disappointed? Not scary enough?
Let’s move on.
The only local ghost story to con-
sistently crop up during research is
that of the tale of the Bandage Man.
It is a decades old tale, and most
coastal natives are familiar with a
variation of it. The origin story is
always a bit different, depending on
who tells it. The Bandage Man is
supposedly a reanimated logger who
was gravely injured (from landslide,
or sawmill accident) and now haunts
the section of Highway 101 from
Cannon Beach south to Arch Cape,
although the area often expands and
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The deadline is noon Monday prior to publication.
Letters must be 400 words or less and must be
1555 N. Roosevelt, Seaside, Oregon
signed by the author and include a phone number
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N. Roosevelt Drive, Seaside, OR 97138, drop them
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CANNON BEACH GAZETTE
The Cannon Beach Gazette is published
every other week by EO Media Group.
contracts to include Cannon Beach
proper. With his rotten À esh covered
in bloody gauze, the Bandage Man
has been blamed for everything from
missing dogs, which he dines on,
to gruesome car accidents, which
he causes by patiently hiding in the
back seats of unlocked cars, only to
appear in the driver’s rearview mir-
ror seconds before the misfortune
occurs. He has been reported to haunt
courageous campers with all manner
of nefarious pranks. Not always the
sneaky sort, this Oregon mummy
enjoys jumping out on the roadside
at night to scare unsuspecting motor-
ists, often causing horri¿ c accidents.
Now this is the stuff of camp¿ re
lore! Walking away from the group,
on their way to use the bathroom, a
young camper might hear warnings
from the older generation to “watch
out for the Bandage Man!”
As oral tradition proves, a good,
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spooky story can live for decades,
even if it is never properly writ-
ten down. Or perhaps it was just a
practical joke to play on unsuspect-
ing tourists? It might have been in
the same vein as the elusive Can-
non Beach headless horseman, who
rode through town carrying a papi-
er-mâché head under one arm and
riding a black horse. What a sight!
But that’s another story for another
So what’s your verdict on this lo-
cal lore? Are our small coastal ham-
lets haunted or not? As an historian, I
have no qualms admitting that I love
a juicy ghost story. Like a good mov-
ie, I ¿ nd it entertaining, whether or
not it is based on a true story. Even
during these serious times, some-
times blurring the lines between fact
and ¿ ction has its merits.
Hey, watch out! You’re gonna
burn your marshmallow.
THE NATIONAL AWARD-WINNING