Coast Guard: Depoe Bay key to emergency response


DEPOE BAY — The commander of the U.S. Coast Guard surf station here warned a visiting congressman on Thursday that a key lifesaving operation is being jeopardized by the government’s failure to dredge the six-acre harbor.

Senior Chief Chris Hinote told U.S. Representative Kurt Schrader that USCG Station Depoe Bay is sometimes the only facility on the Oregon coast capable of launching rescue boats in storm conditions.

“Depoe Bay is unique,” he said, explaining how storm-driven swells that shut down other ports on the Oregon coast are often dissipated by Depoe Bay’s rugged topography.

“We can get out when others can’t,” he said.

Hinote’s remarks came during a scheduled Nov. 1 visit by Schrader to inspect the six-acre harbor and learn more about the city’s plea for federal dredging funds. Depoe Bay was the only port on Oregon’s west coast that failed to get federal dredging funds in 2018.

Fifteen people, including the mayor, boat captains, charter company owners, a county commissioner and state representative were on hand to make the case for a dredging operation in 2019.

Hinote said the rising silt isolates the city’s floating fuel dock at low tides.

“We have our own fuel tank, but it’s only 600 gallons,” commented the station commander. “Each of our boats carry 400 gallons, so in the event of a big search-and-rescue case we would need access to that dock. Eventually, this will shut down the whole harbor.”

Schrader listened quietly to speakers that included the harbormaster, Roy Hildebrand, and Loren Goddard, co-owner of Dockside Charters.

“We can’t let that happen,” Schrader said.

The congressman’s swing through Lincoln County on Thursday also took him to Taft High School in Lincoln City, a new Veteran’s Resource Center in Newport and the Newport Marina for a tour of dock and fishing operations.

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