Seaside Stories

The Big Storm

December 15, 2010 | by Shanda Bonn

The Oregon Climate Service calls it the Great Coastal Gale of 2007, but here in Seaside we just call it The Big Storm. As wind and rain pounded my house last night, my husband and I recalled the storm that touched down 3 years ago this month. I remember standing on the rocky shores of Cove Beach holding up our cell phones trying to get a signal. We looked like characters in a sci-fi movie hailing the aliens. There were dramatic scenes raging all over the Pacific Northwest, but few outside our area knew what was happening in our town because of the loss of phone service. Today, I asked others around town what they remembered from the storm and our subsequent week without power.

Seaside residents, Wendy and Kim, remembered the Cove scene as well. Kim loaned out her phone several times to folks who couldn’t get a signal even out at the beach. Wendy said, “People made cardboard signs saying ‘Cellphones work here.’” She went on to say, “We had gas at my house, so a group of people would come over for showers. Then we’d all migrate over to someone else’s house to cook dinner over their camp stoves.” Kim talked about the half-pig and half-cow she had just bought prior to the storm. She ended up feeding a lot of people that week. “My husband asked if we should buy a half-cow this year and I said NO! Definitely not.” We haven’t seen a storm like that since, but she doesn’t want to push it!

Visiting with Sandy and Laura at the Seaside Chamber of Commerce, they recalled how they kept their offices open, ready to assist residents and visitors, all huddled around a little kerosene stove and a makeshift phone system. Sandy remembers KMUN radio as being the one source of information on the coast. “At one point the DJ said, ‘Would someone just come down and answer the phones?’” So she and two others trundled over to the station to field numerous calls. “It felt good to be doing something to help people,” she said. Laura laughingly added the one lesson she came away with: If you hear a big storm is coming – get your laundry done! “I was surrounded by piles of dirty laundry. That and no shower made for a great experience 3 days into the power outage when news crews came to interview me!”

Joey Daniels, Training Officer for Seaside Fire and Rescue, recalls how well the community came together in spite of being somewhat unprepared for such a large-scale crisis. He said the Fire Department, as one of the few places in town with a generator, became an instant command center and provided back up for the Police Department and Public Works. The station also became a safe haven for firefighters and their families. It was a strain, though, to serve as a makeshift evacuation center. People were sleeping in the firefighters’ beds and on chairs and floors as well! People even came to hook up their oxygen machines and other medical devices. He said the storm served to motivate the City to be more prepared in the future. A lot of places around town now have generators including the Seaside Convention Center, a much better evacuation site, he says. And the City has instituted an Instant Management System for emergencies with a Public Information Officer and administrative personnel.

Leave a Reply

and so much more!

Color Now Bursting on the Coast

Pick up a colorful bouquet of summer dahlias at roadside stands along Highway 101 and other coast highways

Learn More
Coming Soon: Epic New Mountain Biking Trails

Seaside’s natural landscapes are settings for all kinds of two-wheeled adventures, including challenging rides on logging roads ...

Learn More
A Seagull’s View

Aerial shot of Seaside Oregon from the 1920s

Learn More
Playland: Amusements in the 1930s

Recognize this classic Seaside landmark? For nearly 70 years, countless kids and adults have come to the Oregon Coast to get behin...

Learn More
Pocket Garden Walking Tour

When you walk down Broadway Street, you notice the patches of flowers planted along the sidewalk — all bursting with color, no m...

Learn More
Wave Meets Wall

Back in 1925, the waves would encroach on Seaside's Turnaround with a dramartic ferocity

Learn More
“Fascinated” on Broadway

Fascination has been a staple in Seaside, Oregon since the 1950s.

Learn More
MotorTrend Magazine – Epic Drives: Classic Cobra Visits Seaside

MotorTrend Magazine makes the trek to Seaside, Oregon to show off a Classic Cobra

Learn More
Family Magazine: Vacation 101

A look at family fun activities on the North Oregon Coast

Learn More
An early morning kayak ride

One kayaker's take on an early morning ride into the Necanicum Estuary.

Learn More
Ice Cream for Dinner

More than a dozen frozen treat shops, the thought of brain freeze is likely.

Learn More
Driving the Oregon Coast Highway

Unique views are plentiful along all 363 miles

Learn More
Guide to Spring Events in Seaside

If you think Seaside is simply a summertime destination, get ready to adjust your mindset! Seaside offers something for all visito...

Learn More
Seaside: More Than Just a Resort Town

Seaside is also a community of hard-working professionals

Learn More
The Pull of Progress – Seaside in 1921

Postwar Seaside saw a boom in growth and development.

Learn More
Honeymooning in Seaside

Part of the fun of planning a wedding is also planning the honeymoon (and I’ve been collecting ideas for both)! Many couples dream of the ideal honeymoon location, and on the top of their list should be Seaside! Sand, sea, and surf, along with amazing places to stay, eat, and be merry.

Learn More
Pedal Boating through Seaside

Paddle boating Seaside is another unique way to see Seaside while getting a little exercise in the process.

Learn More
For a Taste of Oregon’s Beautiful North Coast, Visit Seaside

Seaside has been a vacation destination for nearly as long as Oregon has been a state.

Learn More