Thu. Dec 3rd, 2020

BY DONNA WESTFALL

 

 

This is the dirty sign people are supposed to pay attention to
This is the dirty sign people are supposed to pay attention to

 

In between the  B Street pier and the lighthouse is the jetty; where you see a smudged sign with the word “DANGER.”  Ahhhh….. the sea looks calm enough.  It doesn’t look dangerous.   Even though there are 3 locks on the gates  you simply walk around the gates and step up onto the jetty to enjoy a walk to the end. Let’s hope it’s not the ending of your life.

 

jetty Feb 8 and  9, 2013 006

Will you be swept away and die? Or swept away and have to be rescued?  The force of the waves is another story entirely. Claiming lives, claiming boats and mandating use of search and rescue workers and sometimes the Coast Guard.

What is a jetty?  In our area, it’s a man made extended structure of concrete and rocks to help slow down beach erosion,  and to help in the approach channel in order to guide vessels in entering or leaving the docks.

Headlines like Tillamook (Oregon) Bay bar claims 17 lives in 7 years…. the place at the tip of the jetties where the calm bay waters meet the sea – has been growing progressively worse for about 20 years.

Feb. 2, 2013: Two South Eugene High School students, Connor Ausland, 18, and Jack Harnsongkram, 17, were swept to their deaths.3

Nov. 10, 2010: Katie, 33, and Mike Myers, 34, of Portland were swept away while walking to the end of Yaquina Bay’s south jetty.  They were celebrating their 15th wedding anniversary.

You struggle with the idea that you want to keep the ocean shore the kind of place people want to visit, not over fenced, not over signed.  But, you can’t fix stupid. There are already 3 signs along the jetty.  One at the beginning of the jetty.  2 more further along the jetty.  Do the signs need to be more explicit?  Bodies of dead people? Or listing the number of days since the last death or last search and rescue?  Whatever it takes, can it be done for little money and bureaucracy?

Supervisor 1st District, Roger Gitlin, brought together people from the City, County, Search and Rescue and Lt. Commander of the Army Corp of Engineers, John Baker.  In the introductions it was apparent that Baker is proud to be 5th generation Texan.  After 45 minutes of discussion with input from nearly everyone in attendance,  most everyone walked down to the jetty.

To sum up, Sup. Gitlin remarked ” I am delighted to play a small part in bringing Government together to solve a common area of concern, THE JETTY. In observing our Federal government, The U.S. Army Corps  of Engineers, responding to Del Norte County and City of Crescent City concerns for public safety is refreshingly gratifying. This example relationship between governments should be a model to follow in solving so many of our problems.”

 

Search and Rescue volunteers mentioned that it costs about $4,000 to mount a rescue.  The most recent rescue took place in December.

Supervisors Sullivan and Gitlin listen to Commander Baker of the Army Corp of Engineers
Supervisors Sullivan and Gitlin listen to Commander Baker of the Army Corp of Engineers

 

After the meeting, Mayor Rich Enea said, “I thought it was a good meeting. New signs and safety equipment will work great”.

Let’s hope it’s at little cost and expense, creating no further bureaucracy…. and that it works to save lives.

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “TAKE A WALK ON THE JETTY?”
  1. I walked out on the jetty once and it was magical. It was during a minus tide and there was an actual beach alongside the jetty. We walked to the end where it starts getting hard to pass, and noticed a magical looking piece of beach below. You could see pelicans and gulls standing on the sand, no footprints of human. The water was very calm. So we climbed down. I wandered through the large cement jetties embedded in the sand, it was a bit like the Led Zeppelin album cover. It was a memorable experience. I would hate to think we can’t ever do that again.

    We can’t be 100% safe from every obstacle life puts in our path, so people get hurt, people even die. Might as well stay in bed if you want to be protected from anything that can harm you. Leave the warning sign, let us walk on the jetty. Strangers might be advised by another sign of the deaths that have occurred, and make it more clear about the dangers of rouge waves. But I’ll take my chances next time I happen to be out that way during a minus tide.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.