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!

Awards Program for Excellence in Customer Service

New Customer Service Awards Program in Seaside, Oregon

Learn More
Seaside Inside for Kids

Seaside is known for a variety of outdoor activities to enjoy during most of the year and it’s not uncommon to have a 60-plu...

Learn More
Crabbing & Clamming as Seasiders Do

“How have you lived here this long and never crabbed?” That’s the question I kept asking my friends and gracious hosts in Se...

Learn More
Seaside Library

A look at the humble beginnings of the Seaside Public Library

Learn More
Portland to Seaside by Bus

Visiting Seaside without a Car

Learn More
The Sweet Side of Seaside

Above photo: A tray of sweets on display at A Sweet Affaire, held every February. In February, we invite you to bask in the sweet ...

Learn More
Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day in Seaside

Seaside has many treasures “hidden” before our very eyes, ones we may take for granted because we don’t fully grasp their importance.

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
Making Seaside Beautiful: Gardens

Seeking help on starting a garden plot sent me in search of Pam Fleming, whose reputation as a resource on Seaside’s Gardens was a bit understated as I was to discover. I met her at the Grand Opening of Back Alley Gardens (find by walking through Natural Nook Florists 734 Broadway).

Learn More
Klootchy Park's Sitka Spruce Tree
Near Seaside: Reviewing Klootchy Creek Park

Located adjacent to U.S. Highway 26, about 2.5 miles east of U.S. Highway 101, is the famous and previous national-record-breaking...

Learn More
Playland: Amusements in the 1930s

Recognize this classic Seaside landmark? For just over sixty years, countless kids and adults have come to the Oregon Coast to get...

Learn More
Feel Like A Kid Again

Go ahead — take a vacation from adulthood with a trip to Seaside. We give you permission to feel like a kid again. Forgot how? H...

Learn More
Top Take-Out Spots in Seaside

Maybe you need a quick breakfast to fuel your day’s adventure? Or you’re hungry for dinner but too tired to venture out of you...

Learn More
Oregon Coast Visitor Tsunami Awareness Program

Tsunami awareness resources from the Office of Emergency Management

Learn More
Family Reunion

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

Learn More
Step Into Vintage Charm at the Times Theatre

Moviegoers love a good comeback story, and that’s exactly what they’ll find at the “new” Times Theatre & Public House...

Learn More
How to Explore the Historic Gilbert District

While many visit Seaside to stroll the Prom, ride the carousel and load up on saltwater taffy, walk east on Broadway over the Neca...

Learn More