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!

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
Breaking High

A look at a waves breaking over the turnaround at high tide in Seaside

Learn More
The Columbia River Maritime Museum: On the Water’s Edge

A visit to the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria.

Learn More
Locals Weigh In on the Best Ways to Visit Seaside

Building a campfire on the beach is a special tradition in Seaside. Photo: Kimson Doan Maybe you’ve visited Seaside for decades,...

Learn More
A Seaside Jewel

Library in Seaside is a popular jewel for small community

Learn More
The Amazing and Colorful History of Seaside

The Lewis and Clark expedition reached the sea near Seaside. Seaside has one of the most compelling stories you’ll find anyw...

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
Buffleheads: Oregon Coast’s Silliest Part-Time Residents

Buffleheads in Seaside, Oregon rivers in winter.

Learn More
A Tradition of Tea

Seaside has a 26 year tradition it loves to share with visitors. Those in town for the holiday season are invited to step back in ...

Learn More
My First Trip to Seaside

Recalling a memorable first trip to Seaside, Oregon

Learn More
“Gee, the Water’s Fine”

A trip to the beach is not only fun, it's good for your health!

Learn More
Murals, Swing Jazz, and Marine Life: Experiencing Seaside’s Arts & Culture

Seaside, Oregon, is known for its downtown murals and active arts scene. Photo: Rick Mickelson As one of the best known beach dest...

Learn More
Beach Access for Everyone

Beach Wheelchair Access is Growing on the Coast Seaside is proud to be among a small number of coastal towns in Oregon to offer fr...

Learn More
The Iron Horse Comes to Town

A look at the train that connected Seaside to Portland in 1898

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
The Beer 101 Pint Pass

While attending the 2015 Oregon Governor’s Conference on Tourism, I met Brandon Holmes, co-founder of technology startup Bandwan...

Learn More
Paddle Neawanna Creek
How to Paddle Seaside

Spend a little time in Seaside, and you’ll find yourself itching to paddle on the rivers and ponds.

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