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About Seaside signal. (Seaside, Or.) 1905-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 7, 2020)
A4 • Friday, February 7, 2020 | Seaside Signal | SeasideSignal.com
Selling nature means selling safety, too
SEEN FROM SEASIDE
Oregon King Tides Photo Project reminds
tide-watchers to be safe for ‘Round 3.’ Take
extra precautions when you walk on slip-
pery areas or near big waves, and always
be aware of your surroundings and the
othing can match the Oregon Coast
for its natural majesty: especially
the king tides that send water crash-
ing to the shore and can move logs like
I had the opportunity to watch Janu-
ary’s tide show from the second ﬂ oor of the
Lanai Hotel on Sunset Boulevard.
Even from a safe perch, I couldn’t help
but feel a sense of concern every time a
wave swept over rocks and met the hotel’s
concrete berm a ﬂ oor below.
The view was exciting and the adrena-
line was real.
Yet we all saw how this majesty could
turn to the inconsolable tragedy felt by one
Portland family on Jan. 11, when one child
perished and another was swept to sea.
Their story is a call for caution and com-
passion. As the ﬁ nal round of the winter
season’s king tides is set for this week, Sat-
urday, Feb. 8, through Monday, Feb. 10,
please heed the warnings, and warnings of
Tiﬀ any Boothe/Seaside Aquarium
Tiﬀ any Boothe of the Seaside Aquarium took this shot of people scrambling from the king tide on Saturday, Jan. 11, in the Cove.
A history of storms
January’s coastal ﬂ ooding scenario “was
a duplicate of 1967: highest tide of the year
coupled with big waves the size of which
that we can only infer from the surges in the
bay and damage down the coast.”
So advised geologist Tom Horning, a
six-decades-long Seaside resident in the
days before the event.
Horning’s words sent me scrambling
to the archives, to the storm of December
1967, when high tides, winds, storms, low
barometric pressure and changes in ocean
currents, delivered a wallop to the North
Coast, bringing 10-foot-plus tides to Sea-
side and Gearhart.
On Dec. 2, 1967, the Signal reported, as
the tide went down and the wind began to
let up, onlookers came to Seaside to watch.
“The Turnaround and the Cove were
major places for spectators, some of them
from Willamette Valley cities, to watch
the waves,” the Signal wrote at the time.
“Large numbers of men, women and chil-
dren climbed onto the logs to watch others
being washed in.”
Other storm-watchers went to the north
end of Franklin as water poured over the
sand spit near the estuary.
Flooding at an underground sewage sta-
tion at Lewis and Clark Way and Downing
Street short-circuited controls. Planks and
two-by-fours ﬂ oated along Avenue S, Edge-
wood south of Avenue G, and water ﬁ lled
crawl spaces of area homes.
In Cannon Beach, pounding waves
tossed logs over the seawall and into the
Surfsand Hotel, and through the window of
a home on Elk Creek.
King tides, also known as perigean
spring tides, are the highest-predicted
tides of the year. They occur as the or-
bital alignment of the earth, sun and
moon pushes tides higher than usual.
Driftwood thrown over the bank and onto dry land at 25th Avenue and the bay, 1967.
December 1967, parking lot section of North
Edgewood at the height of the storm.
Water crosses the roadway in the Cove.
“Could have been bigger, but maybe we are
lucky that we dodged a bullet,” geologist Tom
den tide brought a wave up over the rocks
and onto the area where people were stand-
ing across the road.
“The accident happened when hundreds
of persons were gathered at the Cove about
noon on Thursday, to watch the raging seas
as they swung into the cross currents which
help to make the scene so spectacular,” the
Signal wrote. “For some time previous to
the accident the seas were not unusually
high, but the one which caused it gathered
enough force to carry the wave up over the
rocks and onto the area where people were
standing and across the road. The injured
women were standing on or near the log as
it was caught by the sea and hurled back-
wards, throwing the aged victim beneath it
and knocking the others down.”
While the others recovered from their
injuries, McCulley died the next day.
A tragedy in 1939
A storm in early January 1939 shared
much of the anticipation of this year’s king
The accident happened when hundreds
went to the Cove to watch the raging seas
— many of them on the future site of Selt-
zer Park, where people gather still when the
waves are high.
Martha McCulley, 77, of Puyallup,
Washington stood on the high ground, eager
to get a glimpse of the king tides.
The seas were relatively calm, the Sig-
nal reported on Jan. 12, 1939, when a sud-
For years the Oregon Coast has sold its
beaches and its natural beauty to visitors.
We are all participants here: the Coast’s
King Tides Photography Exhibit belies an
invitation to sharpen our lens and head to
The Oregon Coast Visitors Associa-
tion promises “exciting storm watching and
timeless attractions” in Seaside.
Portland Magazine offers Cannon Beach
as one of “Five Dramatic Destinations for
Storm Watching on the Oregon Coast.”
Our coastline is ruggedly beautiful any
time of the year, writes the travel website
“Best of the Northwest,” but “especially mag-
ical in the winter, when a storm blows off the
Paciﬁ c, creating a raw and captivating spec-
tacle with howling winds and waves crashing
against the driftwood-ﬁ lled shorelines.”
True that, but only half the story.
While notable, the force of January’s
storm ultimately proved far less than the
40-foot or higher waves that could have
struck; wave heights peaked at 28 feet in
Seaside. Imagine if those numbers had been
Tourists and locals alike may be lulled
into thinking, as Joanne Rideout wrote in
The Astorian: “It just didn’t look that bad
Or imagine a more potent scenario, when
the tsunami does hit.
“When the next large-scale Cascadia
earthquake and tsunami strike the Paciﬁ c
Northwest, Oregon will face the great-
est challenge of our lifetimes,” Gov. Kate
Brown said in January, before the anniver-
sary of the last Cascadia Subduction Zone
quake Jan. 26, 1700. “I urge everyone to
start conversations this week with their fam-
ilies, friends, and loved ones about how to be
safe and as ready as possible.”
Cutting the cord, kind of, if you don’t count Netﬂ ix
ince forsaking cable we watch a lot
less TV. In fact, when we turn it on,
it’s only watch to Netﬂ ix. I don’t think
I’m missing much as I listen to breaking
news throughout the day thanks to Tune-In,
a free streaming service.
Last week CNN live streamed the Sen-
ate impeachment hearing over the Inter-
net. Cable TV, at least right now, seems
Netﬂ ix, by the way, is a great source of
diversion and entertainment. The ﬁ rst few
weeks we were off TV I watched a police
procedural series called “Unbelievable”
starring Toni Collette, an Aussie actress.
The show is based on a true crime story and
won lots of awards. Since I like Collette so
much, I also watched her in a series called
“Wanderlust” where she plays the wife half
a couple experimenting with open marriage.
After that I watched all three seasons
of “Atypical,” starring another favorite
actress of mine, Jennifer Jason Leigh, who
plays the mom of a young man with autism.
My husband tricked me into watching an
awful movie called “Below Her Mouth,”
which if you ask me was soft porn. He fell
asleep halfway through it, which was really
I took a break from Netﬂ ix to attend a
Lunch in the Loft event at Beach Books
last Thursday. The featured author was J.S.
James, who prefers to be called Joe who is
the author of “River Run,” a novel set in the
Willamette Valley. Penguin Random House,
who published it, calls it an explosive debut
mystery about a newly minted deputy thrust
into the cutthroat world of hunting.
James read a thrilling section of his book
to an enchanted audience. Over a delicious
chicken and veg soup served with a lentil
salad catered by Dough Dough Bakery, he
relayed to a attentive audience how most of
his writing happens in coffee shops.
“My tendency is to start each story with
a big bang,” he said. “Fueled by high-oc-
John D. Bruijn
Karen Emmerling, proprietor of Beach Books
with J.S. James, author of “River Run.”
Back at home, we’re currently ﬁ xated on
a Netﬂ ix series called “Love,” a romantic
comedy created by Judd Apatow. It’s about
millennials in Los Angeles, which already
should tell you a lot. A pretty 30-year-
old woman is a producer of a call-in radio
advice show whose star is a husky teenage
girl with potty mouth. Her boyfriend, and
by season three he is her ofﬁ cial boyfriend,
is an aspiring screenwriter. His day job is on
the set of a TV show called Wichita, which
is about teen witches. He’s a teacher whose
job is forcing algebra and American history
on to the teen cast members when they’re
not on set. The star of Wichita is Apatow’s
younger daughter, Iris, now 17, who steals
the show and is much more interesting than
any other character.
“Love” is challenging. The 30-some-
thing characters have a way of rubbing OK
Boomers like me all wrong way. They talk
too much and have to process everything.
They’re always checking in with their feel-
ings. They also call each other “dude.”
I can’t wait to ﬁ nish the series so I can
return to books.
On Feb. 20 at 6:30 p.m., Beach Books
is doing a signing and reading with David
Robinson, author of “Cloud Devotion,” a
book of thought-provoking questions pro-
viding a year full of soul-nourishing mor-
sels. I’m not entirely sure what that means
but Robinson is the pastor of the Cannon
Beach Community Church and a Cannon
Beach resident. The event is free and open
to the public. Come one, come all.
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