Monday, November 30, 2015

Lucky or Loosers

Crescent City is a bit of an enigma. I'm not the first person to arrive here in awe of the trees, the ocean view and the crystal blue of the Smith River, nor am I the first to notice the community of homeless who live in the woods behind Walmart and panhandle on the corners or the rows of empty businesses downtown. When my hubby and I first arrived here, my daughter and her hubby drove us to Endert's Beach Lookout. I was overwhelmed. I cried. I hugged her. I asked if I can really live here or do I have to go "home", which was silly, because "home" was sold. Here is the lookout at Endert's Beach. That's Crescent City on the horizon.

I haven't lived here long enough to know Crescent City in its heyday, though I've learned it had one. It has a logging history. People remember logging trucks piled so high they would practically run you off the road. Downtown was the home to many thriving businesses. At some point the logging stopped (there are still busy mills in Brookings and Eureka), and then the Tsunami hit. It was 1964, and Alaska had an 8.8 earthquake. The residents were warned, but complacent because they said nothing ever happened in the past. It was a cruel lesson in not second-guessing nature. 11 people died.
LA Times 1964 video of Crescent City

There was another Tsunami on March 11, 2011 because of the earthquake in Japan. My daughter lived here by that time. Warning systems and wiser people saved lives. Only one person was swept away, some man who rushed down to the beach to take photos.
Time-lapse video by engineering group

Only the downtown business area is within the Tsunami Zone. A few residences and apartments are within the zone as well, but most residences are above the Zone and safe. (Scroll down when the map opens to view the city).
Tsunami Zone.PDF

Apparently the town leaders had settled into complacency....everything is fine just the way it is, don't change anything. Environmentalists had the loudest words when it came to changing anything, including bypassing Last Chance Grade..."leave it alone, if it falls into the ocean, so be it, just don't cut a single Redwood to bypass it". Last Chance Grade is about 10 miles south of town on 101 where the side of the mountain is trying to slide into the ocean. It did in 1945 (I believe) and took a family down with it.

By the power of social media, I am happy to say that thinking has been changed. Someone had an idea, and created a Facebook group. The group grew to nearly 2,000 Crescent City residents in two weeks. The group has become a voice for the city, and has lit a fire under our leader's asses. It was only a short time before Real Estate agents, City Planners and other Movers and Shakers got on board. The group urges residents to attend meetings, and they have.

We also support Caltrans regarding Last Chance Grade and told the state of California we want a Safe Bypass even though it means cutting out a swath of Redwoods. Without 101 there is no way to access Crescent City from the south. We would be cut off. A Bypass had been in the works for years, but nothing was moving just stopped, stagnate and squashed under the protests of the environmentalists.

Now don't get me wrong, I am an environmentalist, but I'm not stuck in Stupid Mode, either. There needs to be balance.

Some of the things the group has inspired, supported or helped push forward:

Beautifying the Beach Front park
A concert to raise money to build a Dog Park
Possible Band Shell in the Beach Front Park center
Reopening of Glenn's Bakery in 3 months
A new Pub
A new Cafe in the harbor
The re-opening of Tsunami Lanes bowling alley
Promoting The Lighthouse Repertory Theater
Promoting local business and shopping local

Homeless people and bums are a long-term issue we are trying to figure out how to address.

So, to date, this is my adventure, where I live with my dear hubby. He has a good job, one of the few in town. He would like more shopping nearby, maybe to live in a bigger city, but he doesn't really want to change jobs. There are few doctors here and no specialists. We have a small hospital. People drive 111 miles to Medford, Oregon to see a specialist. Our little airport currently only has prop-job flights to and from Portland, Oregon and Life Flight Air Ambulance to major hospitals. I don't know what the future will bring, but for now we are here, maybe permanently, maybe not. Right now I feel like one of the Lucky ones.

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