Should we worry about tsunamis living at the oregon coast?
Last night an 8.2 magnitude earthquake struck in the Gulf of Alaska triggering a tsunami watch alert along the west coast. It was quickly called off but I’m sure brought up the question for many people just how safe it is to live at the coast.
I personally live in an oceanfront house with my wife and two young boys. It is something we deal with first hand. In my humble opinion it is a matter of educating yourself on what the realities are and making a decision on if the risk is worth it to you. We all have fears we deal with. What’s important is not letting the fears of what might happen outweigh the risks of probable outcomes. Our family loves life at the beach. And we have plans in place for probable scenarios. We have multiple meeting places, emergency equipment ready, contacts in place to check in with, and most importantly we educate ourselves and our kids what to expect. There are many resources available to learn how a tsunami is formed and what will happen. Our kids are regulars at the Hatfield Marine Science Center which has great hands on exhibits that explain waves and possible tsunamis. If you are interested in learning more about tsunamis and how to be better prepared HMSC is a great resource and more can be found at http://hmsc.oregonstate.edu/tsunami-preparedness. Another important resource for those of us that live or visit Lincoln County is the LINCOLN ALERTS. You can sign up to be notified of emergency announcements and get more information about the difference between what a tsunami “watch” and “warning” are and what to do if either area announced. SIGN UP HERE.
The reality is anywhere you live is going to come with some sort of risk of disaster, natural or manmade. Here at the coast there are many things you can do to reduce the risk of being caught in the wrong spot during a tsunami if it was to happen. Some people like myself are comfortable living on the water and feel perfectly safe. Others that love the coast prefer to own a home above the “tsunami zone.” Every area will have its own zone maps and its important to know evacuation routes and safe zones. That can be determined with the help of a local expert. I recommend starting at the site listed above for more information.
What makes the Central Oregon Coast Special? When my wife and I were looking to move out of the Portland area a couple years ago we didn’t have anything tying us down to any one area. What we were looking for was a place near the ocean with a good balance of entertainment, opportunity, beauty, and serenity. There are 5 real points to discuss when talking to the point of why buy on the central coast.
Too close to a metro area and you get the “bedroom community” effect. When you look at what has happened to the towns to the north like Seaside and Cannon Beach any sunny weekend day and its grid lock in town. With just a little more distance you don’t get the overwhelming surge of weekend tourists. But, on the flip side get too far from any metro area and you loose that consistent “tourist” element that gives an area the art and entertainment. We have three larger metro area ( Portland, Salem, and Eugene) that are all within 2-3 hours depending on where you are going. Not only does it boost the local economies but also gives you the access to the larger hospitals and infrastructure that metro areas provide within a reasonable distance.
Why are we drawn to the beach… For the beach, right. Well Oregon has an amazing coastline but all beaches are not created equal. What I love on this area of the coast is you are never far from a beach access. This is especially true from Otter Rock just north of Newport all the way south to the town of Yachats. So, whether you want to get onto the beach right in town or do a little exploring to find your own spot free of people you can always find your very own stretch of sandy beach!
Weather and Climate
The central coast area is in an interesting pocket between the northern Oregon coast which tends to get clouds that stack up against the coastal range directly east and the southern coast that experiences more wind. Please keep in mind I am no meteorologist and these are my first hand observations. We get the typical storms that hit the beach but they just seem to move through quickly giving us many patches of blue sky over the course of winter months that can traditionally be filled with many overcast days across much of the pacific Northwest allying the coast. Another big factor I’ve noticed here is our temperature range. You don’t see the extremes of hi and low temperatures. Sure it’ll get below freezing from time to time but 50’s and 60’s are much more the norm all year round with temperatures in the 70’s and low 80’s in the summer and dropping into the 40’s and high 30’s over the winter months.
Housing prices vary significantly on the Oregon Coast. We all have different wants and needs in a home wether it be our primary residence, a family vacation home, or investment property. But what doesn’t change is wanting the most for our money. Real estate in Lincoln county is very affordable compared to similar markets along the coast. It’s going to depend a lot on what needs you have but I can say for what we have in terms of beaches, landscape, and entertainment you get a lot for your money here. Here’s a local property search page you can visit to learn more: http://bit.ly/2yfn201.
Variety of Towns
Whats the perfect beach town? Thats going to be different for all of us. Maybe we are looking for the best town for fishing and want to run out and drop crab pots in the evening and slip out for a little salmon fishing for the morning bite. Or, hit the boardwalk for afternoon shopping and catch a bite before taking in the sunset. Agate hunting, art galleries, surfing hot spots, the list could go on forever… The towns along the central coast are all so different. Truly something (or somewhere) for everyone. I personally love the slower paced towns in South Lincoln County of Waldport and Yachats for their beauty, fishing opportunities, and close proximity to the larger town of Newport for the necessities. But, every town has its own vibe and attractions. There are many good websites to find more information on the many towns of the Central Coast but this is one of my favorites: http://visittheoregoncoast.com/. I just love the ability to explore and play in different places close by without having to travel far.
So I hope this article helped to shed a little light on what makes the Central Oregon Coast special. Please feel free to contact me directly if you need any guidance on where or what to do at joe@JoeJessal.com or for all your housing needs on the coast. Enjoy the beach!