Ellen Steen

Ellen Steen

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Kathy Burke is one of our neighborhood captains for emergency preparedness. She recently noticed that house numbers are not posted on all of the houses in her area. She and our local firefighters remind us that visible house numbers can be of vital assistance in locating homes that have an emergency in progress, especially at night and/or in bad weather. While our Cape Meares firefighters know our quirky streets, ambulance crews dispatched from Tillamook likely won’t. House numbers are not required by Tillamook Fire, but they are strongly suggested. Buy reflective house number signs, either from a local hardware store or via donation at tillamookfire.com. Seconds and minutes can make the difference between life and death in a medical emergency; do your part by having house numbers prominently displayed on your home.

There’s exciting news for our preppers. On March 11, 10 years after the big Japanese earthquake and tsunami, “ShakeAlert” went live in Oregon. ShakeAlert is an early warning system for earthquakes along the West Coast that will notify you a vital few seconds or minutes before an earthquake strikes. You will get a real-time alert on your cell phone before you feel the ground shaking. That can be just enough time to take cover or head to higher ground! More advanced uses allow ShakeAlert to open fire station garage doors and elevator doors automatically, slow trains, sound audible alerts in schools and hospitals, protect the electric grid, and more. The system cannot predict earthquakes, but can offer critical seconds of warning when a quake begins. ShakeAlert has been in use in California for more than a year, and it will debut in Washington in May. You don’t need to sign up to get this service; simply enable emergency alerts on your cell phone. For more information on how to do that, go to shakealert.org.

I had a nice chat with Jason Elkins, Park Manager for Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint. While Cape Meares Lighthouse and the gift shop will be closed again this summer due to COVID-19 precautions and lingering differed maintenance caused by budget-related short staffing levels over the last year, exciting things are going on behind the scenes. The gift shop will be outfitted with a new metal roof, and a much-needed overflow parking area will be established. There is an area on the left-hand side of the road prior to getting to the existing parking lot where trees blew down and created a natural open space. Friends of Cape Meares Lighthouse applied for and received grant money to fund an overflow parking space there. The Friends group is partnering with Oregon Parks and Recreation to create the new parking lot, which will hold about 15 vehicles. In phase two of the project, a trail will be created from the new overflow parking area to the Octopus Tree. The department expects to be fully staffed this year, enabling public restrooms and trails to be open. The lighthouse itself and gift shop should be back in operation by late spring 2022. What great news and good things to look forward to!

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