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In Oregon, the beaches belong to the people. As part of Oregon's tradition of environmental stewardship, the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition serves as the guardian of the public interest for our coastal region. Oregon Shores is dedicated to preserving the natural communities, ecosystems and landscapes of the Oregon coast while conserving the public's access.  Oregon Shores pursues these ends through education, advocacy, and engaging citizens to keep watch over and defend the Oregon coast.
 Oregon LNG Threat Appears to Have Ended
Site of proposed Oregon LNG export terminal. Photo by Tiffany Boothe.
In surprising and extremely hopeful news, Oregon LNG has withdrawn its application to develop an LNG (liquefied natural gas) export facility on the Skipanon Peninsula in Warrenton. Oregon LNG informed both the city of Warrenton and the state's Department of Environmental Quality on Friday, April 15, that it would not continue with its appeal of the Warrenton hearings officer's decision to deny the permit on the grounds of interference with fish habitat and recreational activity protected under the city’s comprehensive plan.
Hundreds of people and many local groups have fought this LNG proposal for a decade. The outcome is a remarkable victory for citizen involvement. Community activists in Astoria and all along the proposed 87-mile pipeline route can take credit for a stellar example of grassroots organizing.
Oregon Shores' role has been working in partnership with Columbia Riverkeeper on the land use and legal issues raised for the permit applications for the proposed $6 million terminal and pipeline. Columbia Riverkeeper took the lead in opposing Oregon LNG’s land use application to the city of Warrenton for the site of the proposed export facility, with attorney Courtney Johnson, who represents us through our Coastal Law Project, providing key support. The city's hearings officer found for us on several points and rejected the application.
Oregon Shores took the lead in opposing Oregon LNG's appeal to the Warrenton city council. We would like to believe that the comments we submitted in opposition to the appeal terrified Oregon LNG into giving up....but really, while we take pride in our contribution to the cause, many dedicated people succeeded in organizing determined resistance that attacked the would-be developers on many fronts and appears to have fended off this potential environmental disaster. Oregon LNG was already facing votes opposing the project from the Astoria City Council and Clatsop County Board of Commissioners, which denied land use permitting for the pipeline.
We will be watching carefully to see if the company has any further tricks up its corporate sleeve, but this just may the happy end of a long, long battle.

 Rockaway Planning Commission Denies Riprap Demand
Rockaway house in question, shown after December storms. Photo by Scott Gilbert.
The planning commission for the city of Rockaway Beach, after long delay, has turned down the controversial application by developer Tai Dang for a riprap structure to protect his threatened rental property. The planning commission held two hearings, at the applicant's request, and then delayed while the city's attorney negotiated with Mr. Dang's attorneys. But in the end, the planning commission at its April 26 meeting declared that the application was incomplete, and rejected it. Oregon Shores has been combating this riprap proposal at every step.
There had been speculation that the city, which originally allowed the threatened house to be built, was reluctant to deny the application for fear that it might be held liable if it denied the owner permission to protect the property with riprap. Oregon Shores, along with many local residents, strongly believes that allowing a shoreline protection structure (riprap) at this location would violate the city's comprehensive plan, and that the planning commission is obligated to say so. But the city had earlier failed to enforce its own plan in allowing the house to be constructed west of the line that should delimit construction under the city's Goal 18 exception zone.
It remains to be seen whether the developer will seek to challenge the planning commission's decision. The city believes that because this was not an actual land use decision, but a decision that the application wasn't complete, no such appeal is possible. We'll be watching to see how this turns out. (The reason that the application wasn't complete was precisely because Mr. Dang failed to present evidence that the structure qualified for shoreline armoring in the first place.)
To recap: The planning commission held its second hearing on the issue on Tuesday, Jan. 26. Developer Tai Dang applied last year for permission to install riprap to protect his rental house from erosion. Oregon Shores, along with many local residents, successfully opposed the application. It was earlier turned down by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD), based in large part on the city's declaration that the structure’s location violated the comprehensive plan. The developer is now appealing the city’s administrative decision.
At the second hearing, Oregon Shores, represented by attorney Courtney Johnson of our Coastal Law Project, argued forcefully once again that the structure is clearly on the wrong side of the “Ocean Setback Line” defined in the city’s plan and accompanying ordinance. Tai Dang’s appeal had been based on a claim that the structure should qualify for riprapping under the plan.
However, at this hearing the lawyer for Mr. Dang changed arguments, now claiming that the city is obligated to approve shoreline protection for the house because the property was developed prior to Jan. 1, 1977, which is the cutoff point for properties to qualify for armoring under Statewide Planning Goal 18. As Courtney Johnson rejoined, and as Oregon Shores explains more fully in subsequent comments we are sending to the city, this is stretching that regulation too far. While there were cabins on that parcel of land long ago, the parcel has since been divided into two new lots, and the Tai Dang house is built well to the west of the locations of the earlier structures. It is clearly new development, not the kind of pre-existing structures that were grandfathered in when Goal 18 was adopted.
Oregon Shores participated in both hearings on the application, and subsequently requested and received a seven-day continuance of the public comment period, allowing us time to rebut the developer’s claims and also opening the door for additional public testimony. Since that time, we've been waiting to learn the outcome of the behind-the-scenes negotiations taking place, but they apparently came to nothing and the planning commission made the decision we had called for all along, denying riprap that would have clogged the public beach to protect a structure that should never have been built.

 This Summer’s Shoreline Science Workshop Now on the Calendar
Students sampling during past year's shoreline science workshop. Photo by Michael Coe.
CoastWatch will offer only one Shoreline Science Workshop this summer, instead of the usual three. The good news is that we’re giving you plenty of advance notice to sign up for the one that will take place. It will be held July 8-10 at the Depoe Bay Community Hall (220 S.E. Bay Street). Online registration is now available.
These workshops, by now a CoastWatch tradition, are led by ecologist Stewart Schultz, author of The Northwest Coast: A Natural History. Three full days of instruction cover rocky shore, beach and estuarine habitats in depth, and touch on forests, the nearshore ocean, marine mammals, tides and oceanography, citizen science and many other topics. Matters of concern such as marine debris and invasive species will also be discussed. Each session will include field trips, indoor presentations and laboratory experiences (with some variation, depending on the weather).
We are pioneering a comprehensive approach toward our citizen science projects, with the Otter Rock Marine Reserve area our first area of focus, which is why we are returning to Depoe Bay after having held one of last year’s workshops there.
If you would like to reserve a place offline, paying by check, contact Fawn Custer, CoastWatch’s volunteer coordinator, at (541) 270-0027, (Incidentally, Stewart Schultz had schedule constraints this year, but we plan to resume holding three workshops next summer.)

 Oregon Shores Endorses Outdoor School Campaign
The Oregon Shores board was eager to sign on as supporters of the campaign to restore the Outdoor School tradition and make sure no child is left inside.
Outdoor School has been a milepost for Oregon youth for more than 50 years, but today, less than half of all students get the chance to participate in this often life-changing educational experience. The Save Outdoor School for All campaign seeks to pass a ballot measure assuring that every Oregon fifth- or sixth-grader will have the chance to attend a week-long, hands-out outdoor learning experience, through the use of dedicated lottery funds.
The campaign has only a short time left to raise the 125,000 signatures needed to get a measure on the 2016 ballot, and the funds to make the campaign possible. Supporters can sign the petition, donate, and get involved through the website.

 Newest Member Brings Education Background to Board
At its most recent meeting on Saturday, April 9, the Oregon Shores Board of Directors augmented its ranks by voting Patrick Willis to an interim seat. (Under Oregon Shores’ by-laws, the board can appoint new members between annual membership meetings. Such board appointees then stand for election before the membership at the annual meeting.) Pat Willis brings over 25 years of educational ... MORE 
 OPAC Takes Up Rocky Shores and Marine Reserves
Oregon’s Ocean Policy Advisory Council met in Newport in early April hear reports on several topics of keen interest to coastal conservationists. Among these were the current status of the Marine Reserve Program, with a focus on the Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve; a recent report by the council’s Science Panel on ocean acidification; and a discussion of coastal resilience and how that factors into ... MORE 
 Land Use Agency Considers Rocky Shores Initiative
In December, Oregon Shores successfully proposed to the state’s Ocean Policy Advisory Council (OPAC) that it is high time that Oregon revisit its management policies regarding our rocky shore areas. A new OPAC working group was created, chaired by Robin Hartmann, Oregon Shores’ Ocean Policy Advocate, to review policies adopted in 1994 but never fully implemented. The initiative involves not ... MORE 
 Photographers Invited to Help Oregon Shores Illustrate Our Work
As you've likely noticed if you visit this website regularly, Oregon Shores uses numerous photographs of the shoreline and of the entire coastal region. We illustrate articles on this website, and we also use photos in newsletters and e-bulletins and in various other publications, such as CoastWatch handouts. We’re constantly searching for new images of the coast. Some we seek for their sheer ... MORE