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About Seaside signal. (Seaside, Or.) 1905-current | View Entire Issue (Dec. 8, 2017)
4A • December 8, 2017 • Seaside Signal • seasidesignal.com
First-person accounts Gift-wrapping
from an historic storm I
recall a week without
power, lessons learned
hat has become known as
“The Great Coastal Gale”
hit the region in December
2007, knocking down thousands of
trees, stranding residents and leaving
thousands with power, many for more
than a week.
Among those who weathered the
storm, a notable group stepped forward
to work to ensure the safety and well-be-
ing of Seaside’s residents.
Mary Blake, former director, Sunset
Empire Park and Recreation District,
helped set up a shelter at the Bob Chisholm
Community Center. Lt. Chris Dugan was
among the firefighters who cleared de-
bris, battled blazes as they broke out and
helped those in need. Seaside School
District Superintendent Doug Dougherty
addressed concerns of students and their
families. Keith Chandler, general manag-
er of the Seaside Aquarium, helped keep
fish and aquatic life alive.
Here are their stories:
This steel billboard on Highway 101 was toppled by the storm.
SEEN FROM SEASIDE
The storm came in, and as always,
the community center was the heart and
soul for a lot of people.
Not just for the safety elements, but
it was the support of people who were
rightfully fearful from the scary aspects
of a big event.
We turned the community center into
a 24-hour area where for three days we
served breakfast, lunch and dinner. We
had a little ukulele group do songs. We
set up our park and recreation programs
for kids to have a play area. Everybody
The city was able to get a portable
generator and we set it up outside. That
gave us life.
It was Christmastime, so we had
Christmas lights on the outside as well
as the inside of the facility. Between
Dec. 3 and Dec. 8, it operated for 122
We also had a check-in so people
would sign in. So if somebody was wor-
ried about somebody at home or a loved
one or they were out of the area, they
could check in with us. We had over
2,000 signatures of people using the
facility, and we served over 6,000 meals.
All the restaurants and all the people
with their freezers knew they didn’t have
enough electricity, before food became
contaminated. We served up things like
steaks, crab — some of the finest food
you would ever find.
I slept in the shelter. We blew up a
couple beds, and we set up our sleeping
arrangements behind the counter. We
sectioned off the card room, taped it
off, so people had an assigned area they
could set up their own little housekeep-
If they needed to shower, they show-
ered at the swimming pool.
We had a bus coordinated with the
Providence Seaside Hospital if people
needed any kind of emergency services.
We coordinated people and volunteers
and it was a sight to behold.
It gave us an insight into any kind of
big event, whether it was a man-made
emergency or natural causes. You be-
come as resourceful as you possibly can.
You are really operating from the heart
so you have a lot of compassion for what
is going on. You fall back into what you
practice for safety and survival.
People depended on the leadership
that they had always counted on, wheth-
er or not it was going to the pool and
having a good lifeguard to make sure
they are safe in the water or driving in
the streets of Seaside.
Our mayor, Don Larson, would al-
ways check in, which reassured people.
Then we started to get the higher-level
elected officials come in just to check
out the damage. The people of the com-
munity really sprung into action.
In the end, the storm had so many
positive things to really reinforce the
people how strong we are together.
It was an incident that probably was
one of my proudest moments.
Lt. Chris Dugan
The first day, it was really starting
to get a little nasty out, but no more
than that. I remember going down to
dispatch and it was probably within 10
minutes all heck broke loose. It seemed
the wind blew, it rained, it just didn’t
stop. It was just ongoing.
One thing I remember is the phones
being off and the power being off. We
really expected one or both of them to
come back very soon — and they never
We couldn’t get calls to dispatch. We
had trapped communities, trapped areas,
Janet Volchok and others came togeth-
er for music and song while taking
shelter at the community center.
where trees were down with no access to
them. So we spent time getting trees out
of the way.
(Firefighter) Doug Barker and I made
an inventory of all the power lines down,
all the trees down. We made a map of
the city of where the issues were so we
could hand it out to power company and
I actually lived at the station for
that week. There was a room available
upstairs, so I slept up there. I basically
went on all the calls possible.
The community center got a gen-
erator from Camp Rilea. I remember
helping them get that set up at the back
of their building so we could get heat
and lights in there.
As a whole I really think it brought
us altogether. We worked together and
we made it through that. The power’s on
and we’re talking on the phone.
That’s where our resilience is going
to be really tested.
I can’t believe it has been 10 years
since the storm. I remember we had a
few days to prepare for strong winds.
See Storm, Page 5A
t’s the first week of December and already I’m wrapping
gifts. This would be a good time to share I am the
world’s worst gift wrapper. OK, maybe not the worst,
but one of the worst. Which is why any retailer offering
courtesy gift-wrapping gets an A+ from me.
When I was a college freshman, my friend Carolee got
a part-time, seasonal job at the mall, gift wrapping. She
said on any given shift, she might wrap 50 or more gifts.
How do you do it, I
asked. It’s easy, she
said. I would have
been fired the first
When I was
school, we had a
cooked, she ironed,
she washed clothes,
she braided hair.
The only thing she
wouldn’t do was
cleaning. She was
a whiz, however, at
wrapping gifts. She
did that thing with
the scissors where
you curl the ribbon
for the bow like
EVE MARX/FOR SEASIDE SIGNAL
I remember asking
her to help me wrap Great gifts begin with great wrap-
Christmas gifts. She ping.
declined. I had the
rolls of wrapping paper and the Scotch tape and the presents
all ready. I didn’t cut enough paper off the roll to wrap the
first gift. The second gift, I had too much paper. By the time
I got around to the third gift, Marguerite snatched it away.
This is the first and last time I’m going to do this for you,
she said, grumbling. But it wasn’t.
My immediate family has more than its share of bungled
My husband, who has never understood my obsession
with gift wrap, is possibly an even worse gift wrapper than
me. He might win our family award for Worst Wrapped
Gift. He uses too much tape or not enough. Wrapping paper
in his hands turns to confetti. He has no concept of neatly
folded corners. In recent years he’s taken to giving gifts in
the shopping bag the store gave him.
I recall a Christmas bash at the home of a British friend
named Sue. Sue and her husband Mark have since moved
to jolly England, but I loved their house in New York which
was creaky and Victorian with lots of odd nooks and cran-
nies and wide board wooden floor boards. Sue labored for
hours producing the vast array of English treats she put out
including trifle and plum cake and sticky pudding with tof-
fee sauce. I could hardly tear myself away from the apricot
studded Stilton. They had a fabulous tree which went all the
way to the parlor ceiling, every branch laden with home-
made gingerbread men and strung popcorn and blown glass
ornaments. I remember noticing the wrapped gifts under the
tree had a pleasantly frumpy look.
Sue caught me eyeing these parcels as I stood, spiked
punch in hand.
It’s an English tradition to save the wrapping paper and
use it again, she said. That’s why we don’t tear it, we care-
fully open it, to use again. Sometimes it lasts for years.
I like that, I said.
A long time ago, when I was quite young and single, I
went to my friend Christina’s place on Cornelia Street in
Greenwich Village on Christmas Eve after her two young
sons were in bed. Ostensibly I was there to help wrap their
gifts. Christina was a single mom. She had a boyfriend
named Tom who was there to assemble what needed assem-
bly. Tom showed up with a bottle of peppermint schnapps.
Needless to say, three hours into it, we’d barely wrapped
Tell them Santa ran out of wrapping paper, Tom said.
My advice in general is don’t give your sweetheart a
Christmas gift in a brown paper bag.
Throughout time, books are objects of fascination
ooks have been around for
hundreds if not thousands of
years if you include scrolls
and wax or clay tablets.
Books have been written on
papyrus reeds, the skins of animals,
and some have even been made
using human skin, a practice called
anthropodermic bibliopegy. Just
reading about those books made my
skin crawl! Apparently the most ma-
cabre books on death or dying in the
18th and 19th centuries were seen to
add an extra level of esoteric interest
if purported to be bound in human
skin. Thankfully, most of those
alleged bindings have been proven to
have been made from sheep, cows,
or goat skin.
The physically bound book
continues to still have a great value
to many. Especially those books seen
as rare and unique either for the level
of artistry or the history of the author
themselves. Shakespeare and John
Audubon both have created books
that continue to sell for millions of
dollars because of the content, rarity,
and illustrations. Consider the fol-
lowing rare books and their current
value or the perception of value that
have for audiences today:
The Egyptian book of the dead
is often represented in movies as a
book for magic or causing death.
In actuality, the book of the dead
explains the Egyptian beliefs on the
afterlife and what it takes for a per-
son’s “ka” or soul to be weighed the
same as a feather (i.e., balanced truth
and justice in that person’s heart) by
Anubis, in order to get to the Egyp-
tian version of a heavenly afterlife.
Those souls that weighed too much
or too little were rejected and given
over to Ammit, the devourer of souls.
While movie versions of the book of
the dead show a large black wooden
book with beautiful clasps, the real
book of the dead was either written
on papyrus rolls or sections of it
were painted on the walls and tombs
of the funerary chambers of the
John D. Bruijn
The world’s first printed atlas
from the second century, the Geo-
graphia Cosmographia by Claudius
Ptolemy was drawn on scrolls. It was
republished in 1477, and a copy of
that edition sold for nearly $4 million
in 2006. The known world of the
time was mainly the Mediterranean.
Ptolemy believed the sun revolved
around the earth since the earth
was the center of the (then) known
Only 48 Gutenberg bibles still ex-
ist in the world and one sold for $4.9
million in 1987. They were the first
books to be printed with movable
type in 1455 and are considered one
of the rarest books in the world. The
printing of the Gutenberg bibles was
considered a technology revolution
since this was the turning point for
books being no longer written by
hand. This allowed for mass produc-
tion and the first easy distribution of
information. Nowadays, in the digital
world, we would call that “going
viral” when multitudes of people are
all accessing the same information
at once. Imagine how it must have
felt when for the first time hundreds
of people could all hold and read the
exact same information at the same
time instead of waiting for individu-
ally commissioned copies that were
The Codex Leicester by Leonardo
da Vinci, is a one-of-a-kind hand
drawn master artist journal that sold
at auction for $30.8 million. It is the
most famous of da Vinci’s scientific
journals. Included in the book are
theories on fossils, movement of wa-
ter, and what made the moon glow.
Bill Gates purchased the book at
auction, had it digitally scanned, and
used the scans as screen-savers for
Microsoft Plus for Windows 95.
Originally 200 copies were print-
ed of the Declaration of Indepen-
dence on July 4, 1776. Today, there
are only 24 original United State of
America Declaration of Indepen-
dence copies left. Some of the print-
ing was done in such a hurry that
residual ink marks can be seen on
some of the remaining originals. One
copy of the Declaration of Indepen-
dence was found in 1989 behind a
painting that was purchased for $4 at
a Pennsylvania flea market because
the buyer liked the frame and not the
dismal dark country scene. Approxi-
mate value? About $1 million.
Even newer books, such as those
written by J.K. Rowling, to the right
collector have special interest. J.K.
Rowling handwrote and illustrated
seven original copies of her book,
“Tales of Beedle the Bard,” before
she mass published the book. The
only copy of the seven that she put
out to auction (the rest were given to
friends and her editors) sold to Am-
azon.com in 2007 for $3.98 million
All this just goes to show that
people are fascinated by knowl-
edge or history, and things that are
perceived as rare or special will con-
tinue to gain value depending on the
cultural significance. Some of these
books and artifacts mentioned above
will fade away with time. Others will
always continue to transcend any
trends and always be considered of
great value or even priceless. Histo-
ry, art and the recording of the same,
it seems that both will always be of
great fascination to the human race.
The Seaside Signal
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