Tuesday, September 29, 2020
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Hiker clinging to rock face rescued via drone by Depoe Bay firefighters

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Depoe Bay Devils Punchbowl Rescue

Depoe Bay rescuers used a drone with thermal imaging early Tuesday morning to guide a fallen hiker to safety north of Devils Punchbowl State Park in Otter Rock.

(Video courtesy of Depoe Bay Fire District)

The man, who slightly injured his leg in the incident, called 911 after falling several feet off a trail north of Devils Punchbowl State Park area, as he clung to a rock face.

Rescue units responded shortly before 6 a.m. and deployed a professional DJI drone — made exclusively for first responders — piloted by Depoe Bay Engineer/Paramedic Kevin Dykes. Dykes was able to locate the man using FLIR thermal imaging to map out a path to rescue in the pitch black night. Firefighters used their lights to shine a path for the man to navigate a ridge. Fire officials said the man had to walk through part of the ocean to get to first responders, made possible by low tide.

Depoe Bay Fire Engineer/Paramedic Kevin Dykes piloting Drone 21 (the red lights in the background). Engineer Dykes was able to launch this within minutes and plotted a path for the victim to climb down the rocks on his own thanks to the use of the drone’s onboard FLIR camera.

Thermal imaging makes it easy for rescuers to see details, such as people and land, which give off heat and show up as white on video, even in complete darkness.

After being guided to safety, waiting emergency personnel checked out the hiker and found him cold and wet with no serious injuries.

“We purchased this drone just for situations like this,” Depoe Bay Fire District Chief Bryan Daniels said. “Having a drone capable of carrying payloads, we can get a lifeline to people or a life jacket in rough conditions.”

Daniels said using a drone keeps rescuers out of harm’s way and has paid for itself as a helicopter doesn’t need to be called in if a drone can do the job.

Newport Fire Department and Pacific West Ambulance helped coordinate the rescue.

Melissa Cribbins is champion of public education the Oregon Coast needs

Lincoln City Homepage Letters to the editor

Driving down the I-5 corridor, you’ll pass some of the best high schools in Oregon. Driving down highway 101 is a different story. Being a local high school student, I’ve witnessed Oregon’s textbook case of educational inequality firsthand.

I still remember my freshman year spent at South Eugene High School, one of the highest-ranked schools in the state. I remember walking past shelves lined with the newest edition of textbooks, their shiny spines reading “15th edition.”At the beginning of each trimester, I flipped through a course catalog thick with page after page of advanced classes and unique electives.

Then I moved to the coast. Now instead of shelves filled with brand new textbooks, I read from textbooks held together with dull grey duct tape or in many cases, no textbooks at all. Instead of having hundreds of courses to choose from, I take just two classes since four of my intended classes were cut. Even before schedule cuts, I had access to far less advanced classes and opportunities to succeed than students at other schools in Oregon do.

This is my reality of education on the Oregon Coast. Plagued by a lack of resources, teachers, and funding, I simply do not have the same educational quality that larger cities like Portland and Eugene do. Many continue to brush this off as a small problem compared to the larger, especially economic, issues affecting coastal communities. However, in order to address larger problems like the coastal economy, one must address the root problem of education, especially when just 48% of students from my coastal high school continue to higher education compared to 82% at South Eugene High School.

Still though, big city politicians and the Portland elite prevent necessary changes to education on the coast instead choosing to consolidate more resources in what are already some of the best school districts in the state. Melissa Cribbins is the independent thinker dedicated to improving rural education that the Oregon Coast needs.

Melissa has long recognized not only the need to fund public high schools on the coast like my own, but also expand career technical education and fund local community colleges so high school students continue to higher education eventually becoming integral parts of improving our coastal economy. A vote for Melissa Cribbins is a vote to improve educational equality and ensure the coast prepares young individuals to become a part of our coastal communities.

Re-elect Claire Hall to the Lincoln County Commission

Lincoln City Homepage Letters to the editorI have known Claire Hall for over thirty years. We met in the late 1980s while she was a broadcast journalist and I was a deputy district attorney for Lincoln County. In the 90s, after she was elected to the County Commission, I had the opportunity of working with her in my capacity as Chief Deputy D.A.

Claire was always strong on crime and an ardent supporter of local law enforcement. She was instrumental in obtaining the funds to increase the jail capacity from 100 to 161 beds.

Claire has been a compassionate and effective public servant. She loves Lincoln County and cares deeply about the welfare of its citizens. Most importantly, she has a wealth of experience and expertise in the political arena, and has worked productively with many elected and public officials in the state and federal government.

She has been, and will continue to be an outstanding and conscientious Lincoln County Commissioner.

Peter Fahy
Eddyville

Amy Ryan Courser blasts do-nothing politicians for wildfire negligence

Amy Ryan Courser for Congress
Amy Ryan Courser, candidate for Congress, drove to every fire command zone in the U.S. 5th District in a pickup truck jammed with new socks, cartons of Chapstick, boxes of protein snacks and flats of bottled water for weary firefighters. Awestruck by the unselfish response of Oregonians, she called for a new program along the lines of the fabled Civilian Conservation Corps to put hard-hit district residents to work restoring fire-ravaged communities.

Heads should roll on Nov. 3 for slipshod forest policies that changed Oregon into a tinderbox waiting for a spark, declared a contender for Congress who is turning the U.S. 5th District into a hot seat.

“We’ve got to fire Congress,” asserted Amy Ryan Courser, a former Keizer city councilor who claimed “status-quo” politicians from Salem to Washington D.C. have proved more dangerous than climate change. “All these deaths and losses of homes is their fault. We have to fire them all.”

Amy Ryan Courser

The unforgiving accusation erupted after Courser put her campaign on hold to support firefighters and victims during wildfires that swept the sprawling region from Lincoln City to Detroit beginning Sept. 7. Statewide, more than a half-million people were evacuated, many from communities of the 5th Dist. in Clackamas, Marion and Lincoln counties. Dozens of people were killed across the Western U.S. and thousands left homeless in fires that have yet to be totally contained.

Courser hailed the waves of first responders and homegrown volunteers who poured into the fire lines, including scores of civilians who helped save town of Molalla after firefighters were ordered to stand down when two mega-fires, the 193,000-acre Beachie Creek fire in Marion Co. and 138,000-acre Riverside Fire in Clackamas Co., threatened to merge.

“They put out their own fire after the governor pulled the original firefighters and said ‘let it burn,’” alleged Courser, who laid blame for the unprecedented disaster at the feet of “elitist” politicians who ignored the warning signs of impending disaster.

Courser, a Republican, claimed Congress allocated money for forestry management as long ago as 1996 but failed to implement programs that could have prevented the rapid spread of wildfires. In her eyes, Western governors and progressive politicians have neglected the horrifying effects of bankrupt environmental policies they have embraced.

“They want you to believe this is all about climate change to cover-up their guilt,” said Courser, citing a dogma of inaction that has allowed massive “understory fuel loads” to accumulate on public lands.

She assailed her opponent in the upcoming election, six-term Democrat incumbent Kurt Schrader, for deserting his role on an influential House agriculture committee where forest policies are shaped. Schrader now sits on a House energy committee whose climate legislation will not affect the existing environment for years to come, if ever, she asserted.

Courser drove to every fire command zone in the district in a pickup truck jammed with new socks, cartons of Chapstick, boxes of protein snacks and flats of bottled water for weary firefighters. Awestruck by the unselfish response of Oregonians, she called for a new program along the lines of the fabled Civilian Conservation Corps to put hard-hit district residents to work restoring fire-ravaged communities, reopening long-blocked roads that hampered firefighters and reducing fuel loads in vulnerable forests before the next fire season.

“We need to tap the entrepreneurial spirit of our people and rebuild the homes and businesses that have been lost,” Courser concluded. “We have to surmount the illogical regulations and court challenges that have taken precedence over the lives and property of Oregonians.”

One of the biggest election stories in Oregon is the race between the embattled Schrader and Courser, a dynamic newcomer on the statewide political scene.

While the seldom-seen Schrader arrived safely in Newport to inspect a command-center bunker 20 miles from the fire lines, Amy Ryan Courser was at the front, distributing crucial supplies to victims and firefighters. Their reactions to Oregon’s devastating wildfire disaster underscore crucial differences between two contenders for Congress that are stark as day and night.

A self-made success whose highest office has been city councilor, Courser has electrified the race for Oregon’s 5th Congressional District by being everywhere while Schrader burnished his reputation as a recluse. Even as smoke from the Echo Mt. Fire lingered over the horizon, Courser last week launched a 12-city, four-day tour of the Oregon coast, meeting hundreds of enthusiastic voters across party lines from Yachats to Rockaway Beach.

“It’s exciting to think that we can do better,” reflected Courser, known affectionately as ‘ARC’ to supporters. “We’ve lost so many politicians to corruption or indifference that we have to have a Robin Hood attitude. We have to fight for each other.”

Lincoln County/A Galaxy of Stars

Lincoln City Homepage Letters to the editor

Behold the sinister orange glow that highlights the struggling red sun’s attempt to melt the dense smoke.

Dawn heralds another day of continual dusk as our lungs struggle to cope.

Our hearts and thoughts go out to those brave souls fighting the front line of fire;

trying to save and protect, most not individually recognized while giving their best; trying not to tire.

Level III orders come down; leave now; join the sluggish snake going south on Highway 101.

The fortunate eventually come back to intact structures; those not so lucky, find what the fire has done.

Stories of heroism by firefighters, Pacific Power, common citizens, the entire collective of care.

The resulting surviving community; puts their best foot forward; to help; to be there!

Despite this year of distrust, discord and distaste; the common good that binds us, did elevate.

Some face the tough dismal rise of the Phoenix; the more fortunate, thank fate.

If that heartless eastern wind had continued that hard blow another 8 to 12 hours;

Lincoln City would have been reduced to just memories, and a few charred cell towers.

Those brave law enforcement men and women directed traffic, facilitated evacuation, indeed heeding the call;

as well as protecting our neighborhoods from looters, who try to take advantage of those that fall.

The volunteers, seen rising like the finest cream; representing churches, businesses and compassionate individuals.

We know some of the stars; such as Frank, cooking at the Eagles, selflessly giving time away from their livelihood.

The outlet mall offering an empty space to facilitate much-needed distribution, because they cared, and could;

an outpouring of what makes an American; rising like that Eagle, our own special mascot.

A willingness to help others that you may or may not have met; but are part of our membrane, our community knot.

Yes I am proud to be a citizen of America and of course, our well loved Lincoln City.

A destination beach town, in a county where the stars glow day and night; shining love; shading unwanted pity.

David A. Lee

Depoe Bay resident boosts Portland Police morale with gift bags

Portland Police Gift Bags

A Depoe Bay woman recently organized delivery of gift bags to an embattled Portland Police Bureau, who have been the target of attacks by rioters in the City of Roses.

Highly decorated Portland Police Officer Mike Gallagher is in charge of keeping members of the bureau’s morale up, and he says it has been a difficult job given the current situation with “no end in sight.”

“Officers are having feces thrown at them. They’re being hit with bottles, rocks, fireworks, molotov cocktails, paint and urine balloons, you name it,” Gallagher said.

Officers feel like they are on their own little island trying to survive.

With Black Lives Matter, Antifa and other groups protesting nightly, it has become difficult for Portland Police as they are tasked with keeping law and order when protests turn violent. Calls to defund the police have led to budget cuts, which have made resources for the beleaguered department largely unavailable.

That’s where the Depoe Bay resident comes in. Gift bags containing gift cards for coffee, food, beer and a locally made chocolate bar were put together for officers, who have been working 20-30-day shifts due to staffing shortages. The items were secured by the woman with some help from “elves” and portland area businesses.

Portland Police Gift Bag

“The way it was put together — the thank you card — even the little ribbon. That took time,” Gallagher said. “It’s very much appreciated.”

Members of the Portland Police Bureau’s Rapid Response Team were recipients of the bags, with reactions ranging from stunned disbelief to heartfelt gratitude as their shifts began. “Thank you so much,” was a common response to the gesture with some saying, “God bless you,” and “You helped make our job easier.”

Rapid Response Team members said they were touched by the donations from afar and were filled with hope and encouragement.

What was inside the bag:

Portland Police Gift Bags

A thank you note accompanied the bags, and with it a personal message from the Depoe Bay woman who tells a story of how she almost became a police officer and does random acts of kindness in her grandfather’s name. The woman thanked officers on behalf of the Portland community and the entire State of Oregon.

“We know things are very tough right now with what you have to do on a nightly basis,” the thank you note reads. “I can’t even imagine how difficult your jobs are at this time. Hang in there, it will get better.”

Thank you from Depoe Bay

Police sent a trio of thank you cards to the good samaritan, signed by the men and women who continue to protect Portland. The team also sent a custom challenge coin.

Portland Police Thank you
Names have been obscured to protect PPB as they have been personally targeted by certain elements of protest groups

According to Gallagher, This act of kindness is not an isolated incident as there are other stories of people driving long distances to hand deliver gifts to Portland Police, but nothing so far, on this scale.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:

At a time where violence and politics dominates major news networks, it’s nice to write a story about the good in humanity.

Multi-agency Resource Center opening at Lincoln City Outlets

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Lincoln City Outlets

Lincoln County community services and FEMA are hosting a Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) that will be available for those whose homes and businesses were affected by the Echo Mountain Complex Fire and accompanying wind event.

If you are a renter at one of the affected properties you are also encouraged to attend.

The MARC will be open this week at the Lincoln City Outlets in Suite 200.

  • Tuesday, Sept. 22: 3-8 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 23: 1-8 p.m.
  • Thursday, Sept. 24:  8 a.m.–1 p.m.

The MARC will include representatives from several support services, such as Planning Department, Solid Waste, Behavioral Health, Oregon Department of Forestry and FEMA. Additional resources will be available either in person or in printed form.

Registration/Attendance:

  • Free. No registration needed.
  • Due to COVID-19 conditions, only a limited number of persons will be allowed in at one time. Face coverings and hand sanitizer will be made available.
  • A greeter will be at the main entrance to provide information on the MARC and entrance will be based on first come first serve. Officials estimate 20-25 families will be allowed in at one time.
  • Computers with internet access will be available for those who need to file an application with FEMA or for the Small Business Administration.
  • Interpreters are available on site to assist as needed.

Confirmed Community Services Partners:

  • City of Lincoln City
  • DHS – Self Sufficiency
  • Federal Emergency Management (FEMA – financial assistance application)
  • Lincoln County Animal Shelter
  • Lincoln County Behavioral Health
  • Lincoln County School District
  • Lincoln County School District H.E.L.P.
  • Lincoln County Emergency Management (Small Business Administration Loan Assistance info)
  • Lincoln County Environmental Health Vital Records (birth and death certs)
  • Lincoln County Environmental Health (public water system monitoring)
  • Lincoln County Planning and Development (info on rebuilding, permits, process to rebuild)
  • Lincoln County Solid Waste
  • Ministerial Services
  • Northwest Septic Service
  • Oregon Department of Forestry
  • Pacific Power and Light
  • Red Cross – Clean Up Assistance Kits
  • Robertson Environmental

Additional resources near the MARC include:

  • The Donation Distribution Center is located in Suite 118 and is open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Trauma Center for Disaster Victims (Behavioral Health) is located in Suite 410 and is open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Questions or Need More Information?

  • Contact the Lincoln County Call Center at 541-265-0621 between the hours of 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • More information is available at www.co.lincoln.or.us/echomountainfire – go to the Disaster Damage and Recovery Page.

Lincoln City man shoots self in groin at checkout

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Mckays gunshot

Lincoln City Police responded to McKay’s Market Sunday for a reported gunshot wound, discovering a man had accidentally shot himself in the groin.

Twenty-nine-year-old Nicholas J. Ellingford, of Lincoln City, sustained a self-inflicted gunshot wound that entered his groin area and exited through his lower thigh, narrowly missing his femoral artery. Officers on scene immediately gave first aid before Pacific West medics arrived.

Ellingford was rushed to Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital where he was taken by Life Flight to Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland. Lincoln City Police Sergeant Jeffrey Winn said Ellingford was in stable condition.

A criminal investigation is ongoing, as Ellingford did not have a concealed handgun license for his Glock 9mm and his act was found by police to be reckless and placed several people in danger. Police said citations would be issued.

Police found Ellingford accidentally pulled the trigger as he put the weapon back in his pants in the zipper area after showing the gun to a friend in the checkout line.

No one else was injured in the accident.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact Lincoln City Police Sr. Officer Jayne Johnson at 541-994-3636.

Echo Mountain Complex: 293 homes destroyed, Zero fatalities

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Officials with the Echo Mountain Complex have completed preliminary structural damage assessments in the fire area and 293 residential structures have been determined to be a total loss.

An additional 22 residential structures have sustained damage. Numerous outbuildings, automobiles, RVs, trailers, boats, and other personal property were also destroyed.

“It’s a miracle that we are able to report that there are no fatalities associated with this incident.” said Incident Commander Rick Dolan.

Specialized teams of structural specialists have been on-site at the incident since Monday to conduct inventories and assessments of structural damage. Each of the impacted properties throughout the fire area has been assessed for loss or damage. Lincoln County will be publishing a more comprehensive and finalized list of structures by address at a later date.

The Echo Mountain Complex was ignited during the massive wind event that impacted western Oregon on Sept. 7, 2020. The Echo Mountain Complex is comprised of the Kimberling and Echo Mountain Fires. Oregon Department of Forestry Incident Management Team 1 has been in command of the fire since September 10th.

Residents impacted by the Echo Mountain Complex can access information on re-entry and assistance at: https://www.co.lincoln.or.us/echomountainfire.

Residents are reminded that while re-entry to many areas is allowed, numerous hazards remain around structures. Utility companies have been working in the affected neighborhoods to restore services.

Echo Mountain Complex Fire 40 percent contained

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A lack of expected rain hasn’t stopped firefighters from getting more control over the Echo Mountain Wildfire as 40 percent of the fire is contained and mopping up efforts are underway.

Highway 18 has been opened but drivers should expect delays of 20 minutes to two hours as Pilot cars are being used. Motorists are reminded to be patient and be on the lookout for firefighters and equipment while on the highway.

A Level 3 evacuation is still in place and has been adjusted at the Highway 18/101 interchange. Residential addresses between milepost 0 and 5 have been downgraded to Level 2.

Oregon Department of Forestry officials said the communities in the area have been very supportive of the firefighting operation.