|In Oregon, the beaches belong to the people. As part of Oregon's tradition of environmental stewardship, the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition serves as the guardian of the public interest for our coastal region. Oregon Shores is dedicated to preserving the natural communities, ecosystems and landscapes of the Oregon coast while conserving the public's access. Oregon Shores pursues these ends through education, advocacy, and engaging citizens to keep watch over and defend the Oregon coast.|
| Jul 26 NEW Saga of Rockaway Riprap Case Takes New Turns|
Threatened Tai Dang house is in center of aerial photo. Courtesy of ShoreZone Images.Developer Tai Dang has carried his campaign to be allowed to riprap his controversial rental property in Rockaway to new venues.
The City of Rockaway Beach City Council has scheduled a hearing Wednesday, Aug. 10, 6 p.m. in the council chambers at city hall (276 S. Hwy. 101), on an appeal of the city planning commission’s denial of his application. The planning commission’s denial was due to a finding that Dang’s application was incomplete, but the underlying reason was that the house is clearly located west of the city’s ocean setback line, in a location where it should never have been built. Oregon Shores has been steadily opposing the effort to place riprap on this stretch of public shoreline for more than a year, and will urge the council to uphold the planning commission’s denial.
(The city can’t grant the developer a permit to install riprap—only State Parks, which manages the public shoreline, can do that. But to issue a permit, State Parks must receive an affirmation from the local government that the property is eligible for riprap. The city informed the state that the property did not qualify under its plan, so the state dismissed the application. Also, it should be understood that Dang is not seeking to place the riprap structure on his own property; he is asking the public to give him a large swath of public shoreline to protect his private interest.)
Dang is also trying a second line of attack. His attorney has filed a "writ of mandamus" in Circuit Court, seeking to gain the right to build a shoreline protection structure by another route, by asking the court to compel the city and state to allow the riprap structure. Oregon Shores believes that this court claim is deeply flawed and just plain erroneous in many ways. The city and State Parks are the named parties and will be defending their actions, but we will be watching the case very carefully.
The case is unusual in a number of ways. The city had earlier failed to enforce its own plan in allowing the house to be constructed west of the line that should delimit construction under the city's Goal 18 exception zone. A part-time planner for the city made an obviously wrong decision to grant a building permit for the house in its location. But when erosion began to threaten the structure (by his own testimony, Dang knew that the land was rapidly eroding), and a riprap permit was sought, a new city planner discovered the error and informed State Parks that the property did not qualify for protection. When Dang appealed to the planning commission,
Oregon Shores, represented by attorney Courtney Johnson of our Coastal Law Project, argued forcefully once again that the structure is clearly on the wrong side of the “Ocean Setback Line” defined in the city’s plan and accompanying ordinance. Tai Dang’s appeal had been based on a claim that the structure should qualify for riprapping under the plan.
However, at this hearing the lawyer for Mr. Dang changed arguments, now claiming that the city is obligated to approve shoreline protection for the house because the property was developed prior to Jan. 1, 1977, which is the cutoff point for properties to qualify for armoring under Statewide Planning Goal 18. As we rejoined, this is stretching that regulation too far. While there were cabins on that parcel of land long ago, the parcel has since been divided into two new lots, and the Tai Dang house is built well to the west of the locations of the earlier structures. It is clearly new development, not the kind of pre-existing structures that were grandfathered in when Goal 18 was adopted.
| Tue Jul 26 Join Fawn Custer on Friday for a Birthday Walk|
The beach at Muriel O. Ponsler State Scenic Viewpoint. Photo by George Mazeika.Oregon Shores is about to celebrate the organization’s 45th birthday. Our volunteer coordinator, Fawn Custer, will mark the day in the appropriate way, by taking a walk on the beach. She invites you to join her for a guided tour of the shoreline, with special attention to natural sea wrack and artificial marine debris, this Friday, July 29, 10 a.m. at the Muriel O. Ponsler State Scenic Viewpoint (93520 Hwy. 101) in northern Lane County. Fawn expects the walk to last until about noon.
The Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition was formed by veterans of the campaign for Oregon’s pioneering Beach Bill, which gives us access to Oregon’s entire shoreline. The bill was initially passed in 1967 (note that date), was amended in 1969, and survived a court challenge. Advocates for protection of these public beaches then set about creating a new watchdog organization, which became an officially recognized non-profit corporation on July 29, 1971.
We haven’t engaged in a lot of hoopla over our 45th anniversary, because we are already focused ahead on a truly major milestone: the Beach Bill’s 50th anniversary, coming up next year. You will be hearing a lot more about that soon.
But we didn’t want to let our birthday go by completely unnoted, so Fawn is doing the honors by inviting CoastWatchers, other members, and anyone else interested in the shoreline and its natural history to join her to explore a stretch of that public shoreline we’ve been defending for the better part of five decades.
Fawn will concentrate on the natural history of the driftline. However, one of the ways that CoastWatch helps to protect our shoreline is through monitoring and cleaning up marine debris, so Fawn will also discuss this less welcome component of the wrack and explain CoastWatch’s marine debris survey project. She will also be glad to answer any questions about CoastWatch—bring your questions, and also bring along prospective CoastWatch volunteers.
For more information about this event, or anything else CoastWatch-related, contact Fawn Custer at (541) 270-0027, firstname.lastname@example.org.
| Sat Jul 9 NEW August Community Science Day Planned for Otter Rock|
We’ve held two Community Science Days at Otter Rock, as the first steps toward organizing a CoastWatch Community Science Team pulling together all our citizen science projects focused on the area surrounding the Otter Rock Marine Reserve. We’re pioneering the concept here, with the hope of making this work for the other marine reserve areas as well, and eventually for other areas of the coast. ...
| Jun 28 No New Oregon LNG Threat Appears |
Site of proposed Oregon LNG export terminal. Photo by Tiffany Boothe.In April, Oregon LNG withdrew its application to develop an LNG (liquefied natural gas) export facility on the Skipanon Peninsula in Warrenton. Oregon LNG informed both the city of Warrenton and the state's Department of Environmental Quality that it would not continue with its appeal of the Warrenton hearings officer's decision to deny the permit on the grounds of interference with fish habitat and recreational activity protected under the city’s comprehensive plan. Oregon Shores and Columbia Riverkeeper worked together in successfully opposing the permit, and attorney Courtney Johnson, representing Oregon Shores as part of our Coastal Law Project, was taking the lead on countering Oregon LNG's appeal at the time the company gave up.
We have been watching anxiously ever since to see whether the company had something else up its sleeve, or whether it had truly abandoned the project. A new threat could still arise, but to date there has been no sign of any further activity. We will stay vigilant, but thus far, no news is good news. (However, remember those cheesy Westerns, in which someone would say "It's quiet out there...too quiet.")
Hundreds of people and many local groups have fought this LNG proposal for a decade. The outcome--if indeed the project is dead--is a remarkable victory for citizen involvement. Community activists in Astoria and all along the proposed 87-mile pipeline route can take credit for a stellar example of grassroots organizing.
Oregon Shores' role has been working in partnership with Columbia Riverkeeper on the land use and legal issues raised for the permit applications for the proposed $6 million terminal and pipeline. Columbia Riverkeeper took the lead in opposing Oregon LNG’s land use application to the city of Warrenton for the site of the proposed export facility, with Courtney Johnson, working on our behalf, providing key support. The city's hearings officer found for us on several points and rejected the application.
Oregon Shores took the lead in opposing Oregon LNG's appeal to the Warrenton city council. We would like to believe that the comments we submitted in opposition to the appeal terrified Oregon LNG into giving up....but really, while we take pride in our contribution to the cause, many dedicated people succeeded in organizing determined resistance that attacked the would-be developers on many fronts and appears to have fended off this potential environmental disaster. Oregon LNG was already facing votes opposing the project from the Astoria City Council and Clatsop County Board of Commissioners, which denied land use permitting for the pipeline.
This just may the happy end of a long, long battle. Just as well, because we still have much to do in combating the other LNG proposed for the Oregon coast, at Jordan Cove on the North Spit of Coos Bay.
| Jun 12 Here’s an Opportunity to Express Your Coastal Values|
What areas of the coast do you consider most precious? Which stretches of shoreline need better protection? What do you like to do when you visit the coast? How strongly to you support marine reserves, wave energy development or ocean planning? A research team at Portland State University would like to know. They are conducting a survey of Oregonians that seeks to understand how Oregon residents ...
| Jun 7 2015 Photographers Invited to Help Oregon Shores Illustrate Our Work|
As you've likely noticed if you visit this website regularly, Oregon Shores uses numerous photographs of the shoreline and of the entire coastal region. We illustrate articles on this website, and we also use photos in newsletters and e-bulletins and in various other publications, such as CoastWatch handouts. We’re constantly searching for new images of the coast. Some we seek for their sheer ...