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!

Excellence in Customer Service Tip #1: 3 Key Elements in a Good Greeting

National Tourism and Travel Week begins May 2, 2015. In celebration, the City of Seaside Visitors Bureau is emphasizing the import...

Learn More
Ice cream time in Seaside, Oregon
An Adventure to Share

A winning family vacation in Seaside, Oregon

Learn More
View from the Tower

View from the old Seaside Hotel tower.

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
Snail Mail: the Agony & the Ecstasy

Snail mail in Seaside circa 1909.

Learn More
Top Things to Do With Young Kids

Seaside has long been a favorite family retreat, but it’s an especially good choice for families with young children. Why? Becau...

Learn More
Garden Circle Evolution

The evolution of Seaside's Turnaround garden circle.

Learn More
Episode One: Grave of the Unknown sailor

The Seaside Audio Walking Tour exploring the mysterious grave of the unknown sailor.

Learn More
Family Reunion

Seaside is a hot spot for family reunion get-togethers.

Learn More
Seaside Inside: The Historical Edition

Above photo: A group plays the historic arcade game, Fascination at Funland Arcade in downtown Seaside, Oregon. Seaside is a popul...

Learn More
Ranger’s Guide to the North Coast

Some of Oregon’s most scenic and history-rich places are located in or around Seaside. In fact, within just a one-hour drive, yo...

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
Chasing Waterfalls

Waterfalls around Seaside, Oregon.

Learn More
Everything but War

An image of a classic World War II sign that point from Seaside to all of the major conflicts raging around the world

Learn More
How to Catch Your Dinner: Learning the joy of razor clamming in Seaside, Oregon

The way to dig for razor clams and what to do with them once you catch them in Seaside, Oregon...

Learn More
SOLV Beach Clean Up

When I look at our beaches I don’t see garbage. I see a breathtaking coastline, and I think how lucky we are to have such pristine beauty right in our own backyard. I believe most beachgoers, both locals and tourists, are conscientious about disposing their refuse properly after a day playing on the beach. So why do we have the SOLV beach cleanup twice a year?

Learn More