Bay City grapevine

Bay city methodist churchWelcome to the
Bay City Grapevine

Featuring the latest news happenings in and around Bay City, Oregon, plus occasional features, a weekly column and a picture or two every now and then. And, from time to time, we’ll throw in a bit of humor or tongue-in-cheek commentary on world events. Read and enjoy

-- John R. Sollman, Editor and Publisher

Bay City United Methodist Church

Surviving a Tsunami

Bay City United Methodist Church


Articles this issue:

Over The Back Fence

Letters to the editor

Dr. William C. Hawk and the Tillamook Bay Hospital

The Rise and Fall of the "San Francisco of the North"

The Bay City/Tillamook newspaper wars of 1891-‘93

Earthquake Survival

The Slug's Eye View

Add me to the Grapevine email list

Ad Montgomery

BAY CITY, March 18, 2013

Adelheide “Ad” or “Addie” Montgomery passed away peacefully at about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 12.

As she wished, Addie died peacefully at her home on Pennsylvania Avenue in Bay City. Addie had been under Hospice care for several months. She was born in 1911, and would have been 102 this August.

Addie and her husband, George, known as “Monty,” set their sights on Bay City, and, together, built their house in Bay City in 1980. Both were very active in Bay City affairs. Monty preceded Addie in death several years ago.

Following is an article I wrote in 2011, on the occasion of her 100th birthday.

Addie, you will be sorely missed. Your contributions to the betterment of Bay City are legion.

John Sollman



Bay City’s most avid Booster turns 100

From her enthusiasm for Bay City, you would expect that Adelheide “Ad” Montgomery had been a life-long resident of the town. But no, Ad and her husband, George, (most people call him “Monty”) moved from Portland to Bay City about 1982.

Ad was born in Austin, Minnesota, on August 11, 1911. Her father had been the president of a small college, which closed shortly after WWI. Ad moved to St. Paul when she was just a young sprout. She attended the University of Minnesota on-campus high school “where they trained their teachers,” she explains. Her father thought that would be a good idea.

Asked how she came to be called “Ad,” she replied that she was christened Adelheide Meiners. Her baby sister “couldn’t pronounce that mouthful, so she just called me ‘Ad.’ And it stuck.”

Following her graduation from the University of Minnesota, Ad worked one summer at an upstate New York resort, and, later, hired on as Christmas help at the St. Paul Montgomery Ward store. For Ad, Montgomery Ward became a career lasting 25 years. But a strike at the St. Paul Ward’s store precipitated a transfer to Portland, where she worked for several years, then transferred to Chicago for two years, and, finally, returned to Portland for good. There, she became supervisor of the mail order complaint department.

Ad Meiners met George Montgomery while working in Portland, and they married in 1950. Monty worked in outside sales, but took a job designing for those huge mainframe computers during the ‘50s. These were the old vacuum tube jobs that took up an entire room and then some. They got hot so quickly that they could run for only 30 minutes before they had to be shut down to cool off.

Ad recalls that Monty invited her to go along with him to IBM school in Portland. “I really didn’t have a use for it, but I went anyway,” she said. Monty’s work entailed an occasional trip to Chicago, and he always took Ad along because she knew the town. “But,” she confessed, “after all that schooling I took with George, after all those trips to Chicago to get checked out on this new device or that, I never used it. And now, I know nothing about computers. In fact, I never knew how to run a typewriter! I always had a secretary to do that.”

Ad harbors some deeply held feelings about computers in the schools. While computers may be efficient, she opines, “they can also be a hindrance to young people these days.” Ad prefers that the kids get their information from books and teachers, and learn proper English. Arithmetic would also be helpful, she added, “so they can add up something, and multiply and divide without using a calculator or a computer.”

One of the reasons Ad accompanied Monty to Chicago was because she loved riding on the train. “I’ve been on every single route between here and Chicago, including both Canadian routes. I’ve traveled on all the lines which had passenger service,” she said. Highlight of Ad’s extensive train travels was a trip on Great Northern’s “Empire Builder,” when she occupied a compartment next to Gypsy Rose Lee and her little son. Gypsy was traveling with a troupe of girls to do a show in Portland. “They were all real nice,” Ad recalled, “and well educated. They had all been to college.”

Ad and Monty purchased a lot in Bay City in 1979, while they still lived in Portland. They put up a barn, and then got a log house kit and, together, they put it up. But it didn’t get done overnight. Ad and Monty spent many a weekend camped out in a little trailer they had in their barn while they worked together assembling their log house. According to Ad, the shape of the split logs and the fir shakes sandwiched between them provided excellent insulation.

Why did they pick Bay City? Ad and Monty had friends who lived in Twin Rocks, where they spent a lot of time during the summers, starting in 1957. Eventually, they started looking for property where they could be on a hillside and have a great view. They could actually see the bay when they bought their Bay City property, but the local alders have gotten so tall since then that, now, Ad can see the bay only in winter.

Ad was an avid sports enthusiast most of her life. She played golf and tennis --- lots of tennis. But one day she “fell down and hurt me-self, so I can’t do those things anymore.”

Ad and Monty retired to their new home in Bay City about 1982. Retirement meant more time for fishing while they were completing their log house. “During that period I did a lot of fishing, you bet!” Ad said. “We had a little cabin over in Washington. I used to just sit on the bank, put a bell on the pole, and read a book while waiting for the bell to ring.”

Ad is well known for her many civic interests following her move to Bay City. “In a small place like this,” she says, “it’s easy to get into different organizations. And, I haven’t even joined all the things I could have joined.”

It was not long before Ad became interested in the Friends of the Library. “They made me vice president. And, there was this doctor from Netarts who went to Nepal every year, and we used to gather up books and clothes and all kinds of things to send over there with him,” Ad said.

It was through the Friends of the Library that Ad became acquainted with many people around the Tillamook area upon whom she could call to help with other organizations she would be working with.

Peggy Cox lived about a block from Ad and Monty, and it was through Peggy that they both became members of the old Kilchis Grange. It was through the Grange that Ad and Monty were introduced to the Bay City Boosters.

The Boosters Club got its start during the 1930s as an organization dedicated to preserving the quiet, rural, coastal character of Bay City. Upon joining the Boosters, Ad became acquainted with George and Mala Beck, who were committed to improving and beautifying the entrance to Bay City at 5th Street. Ad can’t recall whether she ever actually applied for membership in the Boosters. “I just started going,” she said.

The Boosters Club was instrumental in starting a library in Bay City, which was housed in several local residences before finally finding a home in a wing of the city hall. But when a former mayor let it be known that he intended to close the library in order to get more space for the city offices, Ad swung into action. She and the Boosters showed up en masse at a City Council meeting. “We got it done! They didn’t take the space away from the library,” she exclaimed.

Mala Beck had been president of the Boosters for many years, and in 1994 she convinced Ad to stand for election to replace her. “Mala pushed me into it,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed the Boosters Club. But, it’s awfully hard to get anything done, because you have to deal with the government.”

But Ad is the one who got ODOT, a veritable paradigm of bureaucratic intransigence, to reduce the speed on U.S. 101 through town to 45 mph. It had been 55 ever since ODOT moved the Coast Highway out of downtown Bay City, where it ran along 5th Street.

As Boosters president, Ad strongly supported the Beautification Committee. The entrance at 5th Street received red lava rock, and a new “Welcome to Bay City” sign was installed along the highway. The Beautification Committee, now under the guidance of Gail Reese, Mala Beck’s daughter, purchased and installed window boxes, known locally as “hay racks,” on all the town’s businesses and keep them in bloom all year.

But all good things must come to an end. On February 24, 2006, Ad turned her gavel over to Ken Beebehiser after serving 12 years as president.

Ad and Monty also worked with the Patterson Creek Pals, a group dedicated to restoring fish runs and water quality in Patterson and Jacoby Creeks. She lamented her inability to get out and run up and down the streams like she used to. This relegated her to making phone calls and helping Pat Peterson, the Pals’ secretary. “I did whatever didn’t require any running around,” she said.

Ad and Monty celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2000. Sadly, they would not have the opportunity to celebrate their 60th. Monty passed away about 2008, following a period of declining health.

And, what does Ad like the best in Bay City, and where does she feel she has accomplished the most? She likes the beautification project, with which she became involved upon joining the Boosters. She liked the school salmon-rearing project, where the kids hatched salmon eggs in a classroom tank and transferred them to Patterson Creek when they had lost their egg sacs. She especially liked the idea of a teacher presenting the hatchery program “hands on,” without having to use a computer.

Asked about her worldview, she said, “The problem with the whole world is financial. Everyone wants cars, TVs, material goods — too many material goods, I think. When I got a coaster wagon (as a child), it had to last. And my father wouldn’t give me a bicycle because they were too dangerous.”

Ad yearns for a simpler time, when a handshake sealed a contract, when people accepted responsibility and didn’t blame others for their own misfortunes.

Ad has already received birthday greetings via two telephone calls from friends on Pitcairn Island in the Pacific. Through the years, Ad has maintained a relationship with them through the mail, which often took weeks to arrive. But recently the Pitcairn Islanders have acquired a satellite phone, which speeds up communication just a bit.

The happiest of birthdays to you, Addie. And may you enjoy many, many more.

To honor Ad and help her celebrate her 100 years, her many friends have arranged for an open house at her home at 6035 Pennsylvania Ave., from noon to 5 p.m. on Thursday, August 11.

Parking at Ad’s home is scant, and people coming to the open house are advised to park in the vacant lot next door, which can be reached via a driveway from 7th Street.

It will be a simple affair. Cake and appetizers will be served. But, PLEASE, don’t tell Ad. It is to be a surprise for her.



The Watt Family in Bay City

(Phyllis Wustenberg provided the following family information for the park dedication.)

Five generations of the Watt Family have contributed to the Bay City community. Five brothers came to Oregon from Ontario, Canada, during the 1880s, seeking a new home and business opportunities. Robert and George Watt chose to settle Bay City in 1895, and brought their families here.


The Robert Watt Family:

Robert bought 26 acres and built the family home at 9th and Main Streets. He became an American citizen in 1908, and considered it a privilege and a duty to vote and serve his new community. Robert served on the City Council, School Board, Port of Bay City, and his church board.


A son, also named Robert, was born in 1899, schooled in Bay City, and graduated from Oregon Agricultural College (today OSU) in 1920. He moved his family to Bay City in 1930 to start a mink ranch. Like his father, he served on the City Council, the School Board, the Port of Bay City, and, later, on the County Mental Health Board. During WWII, he served on the County Draft Board, his least favorite job.

The younger Robert’s family would include three daughters and one son. Bob Watt served on the Bay City Fire Department and the Port of Bay City.

Joanne Watt Imhoff began the Tillamook County Outdoor School Program.

Phyllis Watt Wustenberg served on the City Budget Committee during the 1960s. She was appointed to the City Planning and Zoning Committee in 1972, when land use planning in Oregon was in its infancy. She continues to serve on the Planning Commission. Her public service also includes 12 years on the County Library Board, eight years on the Oregon State Board of Higher Education, service on the County Extension Board, and, since 1978, on the Pioneer Museum Board.

Phyllis is married to Don Wustenberg, whose public service includes the City Council, Budget Committee, Port of Bay City/Garibaldi, and the Tillamook Education Service District board.

Their son, Mark Wustenberg, served on the City Council.

Their grandson, Ben Wustenberg, served on the original Vision Committee before leaving for college.

Her nephew, Tom Imhoff, has served on the Streets Committee and the Disaster Mitigation Committee. He provided the Streets Committee guidance on sound streets policy, from his experience with the City of Portland.

The George Watt Family:

The youngest daughter, Margaret Watt, was born in 1905. The joy and happiness of her early childhood in Bay City led her to be most generous in her gifts to Bay City.

The family created the Bay City Garden at the intersection of 5th Street and U.S. 101.

In 1975, Margaret Watt Edwards and her husband, Lowell, established the Watt Brothers Scholarship Trust, to benefit Tillamook County High School graduates. The families of George and Robert Watt are trustees, who, annually, award more than $100,000 in scholarships to deserving students.

In 1985, Margaret donated the first land for the Pioneer Museum at Spruce and Warren Streets.

In 2002, through the generosity of Margaret’s family, the Pioneer Museum was gifted 140 acres of Kilchis Point property. This property is now being developed into a beautiful interpretive park highlighting local flora and fauna, and displays featuring Native American culture and early pioneer settlement.



Surviving a Tsunami

BAY CITY, March 22, 2011 --- By now, everyone is familiar with the chilling images out of Japan, of the wall of water crashing through a coastal city, destroying everything in its path. Houses were lifted from their foundations and swept ahead of the flood, crashing into and destroying more buildings, the wave sweeping away everything in its path --- boats, automobiles, bridges, structures --- nothing survives. Wood buildings which survived the inland rush of water were then swept back out to sea, leaving behind them a scene of absolute, total devastation.

Those living in the path of the tsunami had scant moments to prepare themselves and evacuate; thousands met their deaths before it was all through. The magnitude 9 quake which produced the tsunami was the high point of a seismic event which is not over yet. The major quake was preceded by a series of precursor quakes ranging in size up to about magnitude 7.2. Following the main event, there have been hundreds of aftershocks.

On the Oregon Coast, we had about eight hours warning that a tsunami was due. Those who have NOAA radios heard three warnings, the first about midnight setting a tsunami watch, then two more, the final one setting a tsunami warning.

Those who stayed up watching television saw the waves arrive at the Hawaiian Islands. About four hours later, they arrived on the West Coast of the United States. As our Fire Chief, Don Reynolds, put it, "it was a far-off event, giving us the advantage of time." The Fire Department, Reynolds said, showed up in force and were eager to get to work.

But, Reynolds explained, "I didn't want my people out in the field before the sirens rang," which they did for the first time about 6 a.m. The sirens rang two more times after that, the last one about 20 minutes before the expected arrival of the tsunami wave.

The Fire Department was out in force after the first siren sounded, knocking on doors in the Goose Point area. People were getting ready to leave, Reynolds said, but he noted that, except for knowing where they were going to go, they were not particularly well prepared. They were taking with them a goodly supply of comfort foods, Reynolds said. But, he added, "they were ready to roll when we came to the door."

It was Bay City's good fortune that tsunami's arrival coincided with an extraordinarily low tide. The configuration of the land also helped protect residents of the Tillamook Bay area. Other areas farther to the south did not fare as well; Brookings Harbor and Crescent City were especially hard hit.

And another noteworthy point. The first wave was expected to hit about 7:20 a.m. My daughter, who has a place on Siletz Bay, went to high ground early in the morning and returned home about 9 a.m. She reported that Siletz Bay was filling and emptying every 15 minutes. It did this about eight times, she said. The lesson to be learned is that the tsunami may continue for several hours after the first wave hits, and it is unsafe to go anywhere near the water until local authorities have determined that it is really over.

The major area of concern in Bay City, Reynolds said, is Goose point. But there are other areas of serious concern as well, including the low-lying businesses along U.S. 101 and downtown Bay City.

The recent event was spawned by a far-off quake, Reynolds said. While the City had a full eight hours to prepare for this tsunami, the occurrence of a quake along the Cascadia Subduction Zone is quite another matter. In that case, the people living in Goose Point and the low-lying areas of Bay City will have a scant 20 minutes to get to high ground, if even that.

There is every possibility that there will be no siren, and the only warning the people will have is the prolonged violent shaking of the ground. As soon as the shaking stops, people need to make for the nearest high ground, preferably on foot, since the roads in many places will be impassible. The Bayocean Spit four miles away and the railroad dike in Bay City may afford some small protection from the tsunami, but it probably won't be much if the images from Japan are any indication.

Moreover, when the "big one" comes, Fire Department responders won't be in the field until they have seen to the safety of their own families. The firefighters will perform much more ably in the field if they're not worrying about the safety of their loved ones.

Throughout Bay City, the roads are marked at the 80-foot level, though some of the markings are getting faint and hard to see. Every family should survey its own situation and determine where to go when the "big one" hits.

The City of Bay City is fortunate to have had a preview of things to come. There is no question of whether we will suffer a major subduction quake. The question is when it will occur, and, sadly, there is no known means today to make that prediction. We know only that such a quake has occurred about every 300 to 500 years, and the last one occurred on the evening of January 26, 1700. That is known from Japanese records of their so-called "orphan tsunami."

So what do we do? Reynolds proposes to address this question at informal meetings with the residents of Bay City's neighborhoods. The first will be for the residents of Goose Point, Reynolds said. He proposes to go door-to-door and hand out flyers advising the residents of the time and place of the meeting for their neighborhood.

It is also recommended that Bay City residents read the op-ed piece by Edward Wolf, Jay Raskin and Yumei Wang in the Monday, March 21, Oregonian, discussing five lessons Oregonians should learn from the tragedy in Japan. Copies of The Oregonian may be found in any Tillamook County library.

Most importantly, there will be chaos immediately following a major seismic and tsunami event, and people must prepare for their individual survival. That will consist of preparing a family survival kit and developing a family survival plan. Individual survival will be discussed in greater detail in an upcoming article in the Grapevine. Until then, it is strongly recommended that you attend the meeting scheduled for your neighborhood.

Residents' ideas will be most welcome at these meetings. Residents may get more information about the meetings, or individual survival preparations, by calling the Fire Department at (503) 377-0233.

As Reynolds says, "When it quits rockin', you should be walkin'."




blue bar

Over The Back Fence
John R. Sollman, Editor and Publisher

BAY CITY, September 30, 2015 --- I’m late. I know it. Just too much going on for my superannuated bones. Sorry about that.

Bay City Pearl Festival

The Pearl Festival is now history. In fact, it came pretty close to being blown away. None of us will ever forget waking up to howling winds and just enough rain to dampen things a bit.

Pearl Committee chair Sara Charlton had a busy time coming up with a workable Plan B. The Odd Fellows Lodge opened its doors to the Boosters Garage Sale, originally to be held in The Landing west parking lot. And the Boosters did very well in their new indoor venue, I am told.

Other vendors had been scheduled to set up on the newly finished tennis court, but they were moved inside the Arts Center. The music, which was supposed to be in the park, was moved to the Ad Montgomery Hall, behind City Hall.

Performing music, now under cover, were the following groups: Tico Marimba at 10 a.m.; Wil Duncan at 11:30 a.m.; Ocean Bottom Country Blues at 12:45 p.m.; Eric Sappington at 2 p.m.; Joe Wrabeck at 3:15 p.m.; The Gospel Trio at 4:30 p.m.; and Benny and the Bay City Rockers at 5:45 p.m.

Everything I’ve heard indicates that moving the music program under cover was appreciated by everyone.

A food vending truck wasn’t able to handle the winds, and didn’t show up.

Because of the storm, the Coast Guard Color Guard had to cancel. They called me the afternoon before, to advise that they had to be available for possible rescue duty at sea. When I heard that, I took down the canopy over my gazebo and put away all my deck furniture in anticipation of the high winds.

But Doug and Jeanette Steinbach came up with a substitute color guard on very short notice. Our color guards for the parade were Jeremy Belonte, 15; Michael Zaugg, 14; and Ethan West, 13. They are members of Boy Scout Troop 687, sponsored by the Latter Day Saints Church. They did a great job!

They used lighter-weight flags and parade poles because of the winds. They wouldn’t have been able to handle the VFW’s parade flags in that “gentle breeze.”

Units in the parade were: Mayor Shaena Peterson, Pearl Festival Committee members Sara Charlton and Jeanette Steinbach, Festival Honoree Phyllis Wustenberg, the Bay City United Methodist Church, Bob Collins and his antique car, The Landing, the Elks Drug Float, VFW Post 2848 with its “combat vehicle,” the Oregon Coast Dance Theater Dance Team, the Tillamook County Bookcart Drill Team, Senator Betsy Johnson, Commissioner Mark Labhart, Commissioner Tim Josi, and the Bay City Boosters. Doug Steinbach led the Pet Parade, but, sadly, I don’t have the names of the pet owners or their pets.

Jim Henry drove the “combat vehicle,” and I rode shotgun.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that we were not in this event alone. Many local businesses have helped by sponsoring events or simply by making contributions for general use.

The committee thanks the following sponsors for their generous contributions: Bay City Arts Center, Pacific Seafood, Bay City Boosters, Sheltered Nook on Tillamook Bay, Pioneer Museum, Tillamook-Bay City RV Park, Tillamook County Library, Tillamook Radio, and the Tillamook Country Smoker. And, again, things were moving so swiftly right up to the event, that others I’m unaware of may have added to the pot.

Judges for the event were Sharon Stafford, Angie Cherry and Chuck Everheart. The Mayor’s award went to Phyllis Wustenberg, the Festival Honoree; the Theme Award was given to The Landing; the Best Bystander award went to Kate Klobas/Sammie Schmader; Best Pet award went to Doug Steinbach’s boxers; the Community award was given to the Oregon Coast Dance Theater Dance Team; and the Best Entry award went to Bob Collins and his antique car.

Many thanks to Pearl Committee chair Sara Charlton and members Dia Norris, Gretchen Power, and Doug and Jeanette Steinbach. If I have missed a member, please forgive me.

Bay City spirit couldn’t be dampened by a little rain and wind, and we had a really great festival. See you all next year.

T.J. Robinette Fundraiser

T.J. Robinette’s need continues, and will for some time.

I am told that he will have reconstructive surgery in early November, and we should all pray for a good result.

An account, the Robinette Family Fund, is still accepting donations at Umpqua Bank.

Skidmarks on the Highway

Just an update on the Blue Ranger saga. I got the windshield replaced right away, and the rest of the work within two weeks of my accident, when my pickup skidded on road oil and I ended up in the ditch between U.S. 101 and the railroad.

Tillamook Ford completed the cosmetic repairs, plus a few adjustments to the steering mechanism and the headlights, in short order. My Ranger looks like a new car. The guys at the Ford Garage did an outstanding job.

Just be aware of the dangers of driving on a wet road after a prolonged dry spell. The road oil floats to the surface and the road turns into a skating rink. Likewise, standing water on a highway always presents the danger of hydroplaning. I’ve seen that more than once, but, happily, never experienced it myself. Slow down a bit when encountering standing water. This assures better contact between your tires and the actual road surface.

Burning Season

Not that I enjoy printing news of which everyone is already aware, but for the record I’ll report that the yellow sign is posted at the Fire Station. We can burn once again, but in burn barrels only. All burning must be completed before sundown, which is getting earlier every night.

Now that I can burn my paper, my garbage can is a lot lighter.

City Park Improvement Fund

When you visit the City Office, you’ll notice a contribution jar sitting on the main counter. That is for funds to help support the park.

Jackson Morris came up with the idea to solicit contributions to help with improvements to the Al Griffin Memorial Park. The tennis court has been finished and looks really great. There is grant money to pay for the work, but grant funds need to be matched.

So, next time you’re in the City Office, drop a buck or two into the jar. You’ll be glad you did.

Click here for more back fence. . .


Mill at Bay City razed by fire
By Peter B. Smith

THE TILLAMOOK HEADLIGHT, May 21, 1924 — "The Oregon Silver Spruce Company's mills at Bay City were totally destroyed by fire Monday afternoon and evening, and the entire city threatened with flames by a stiff southwest wind.

"The fire started in a hot journal in the trim saw about 2:30 in the afternoon. The mill was said to have been connected to the city's low-pressure water system which was inadequate to reach the flames. The blaze quickly spread and in a short time the entire mill destroyed at an estimated loss of $75,000 to $100,000. The capacity of the entire mill was 60,000 feet daily and a large amount of the cut lumber was consumed by fire.

"The Tillamook Fire Department's ladder truck responded to a call, but found its equipment was handicapped by lack of water pressure. City Mayor Smith*, and Fire Chief Coats authorized the city's pumper to go to the scene and accomplished effective work after damming a creek from which water was pumped. The entire force of the Tillamook Department fought the fire for over four hours. The Whitney company's mills at Garbaldi shut down in order to release their men to aid Bay City.

The rest of the story

History of Bay City
by Peter B. Smith, with the assistance of John Sollman

When headlines in the February 1913 Bay City Examiner announced, “Bay City Cannery Closed Indefinitely,” locals were not surprised.The railroad had been running through town for two years. The docks were built, Bay City real estate sales were booming, and the mill and at least two canneries were running around the clock when local fishermen went on strike.

Strikes between fishermen and processors were not new. The first battles with Northwest Coastal fish processors began in the 1880s on the Astoria docks, and have never stopped. As recently as 2005, price disputes delayed the crab season for a month. . .

Click here for more back History. . .

blue bar

Earthquake Survival

By Don Reynolds -- Bay City Fire Chief
There are two things everyone needs to understand about earthquake and tsunami survival:

  • You will be on your own for most of the survival period; and
  • you should know what to do if you are caught in either of these life threatening situations.

Your fire department will give you information to help you to survive. The first installment, Earthquake Survival, is based on a talk by Doug Copp, Rescue Chief and Disaster Manager for American Rescue Team International, the world's most experienced rescue team. Doug has been inside 875 collapsed buildings in 60 countries and knows of what he speaks. Doug's ten tips, summarized below, could save your life.


  1. People who "duck and cover," or get under objects like beds, desks or cars are generally crushed to death.
  2. Cats, dogs and babies often naturally curl up in the fetal position, a natural survival instinct. You should too. Get next to a sofa or some large, bulky object which will compress slightly but leave a void next to it where you can survive.

More . . .


The Slug's Eye View

by Peter B. Smith, (additions by John Sollman)
The Mothers' Club 1948
In the top drawer of a file cabinet in the Tillamook Library, in the "Bay City" rubric, one may find an early record of the Bay City Mothers' Club. The sheets are tattered and hard to read, but worth the effort.

In 1948 a constitution was written and the club began raising funds for various civic projects. In 1955 the club began discussing the park as a project and approached the Bay City Boosters Club which, happily, voted to turn over their interest in the park to the Mothers, helping out whenever possible.

In July 1955, the Mothers put on a dance, with proceeds dedicated to park upgrades. A work party cleared brush and planted donated grass seed, which quickly sprouted. The restroom was restored to working order, whether it was an outhouse or a more sturdy structure with plumbing was not stated. (The original facility, according Betsy Griffin, was a "two-holer" outhouse at the far end of the ball field.)

Playground equipment started with a donated backyard children's swing set, and evolved from there. The City Council voted to provide a drinking fountain, sand box, teeter totter, and rings, with local stonemason Al Griffin building the drinking fountain and a barbecue as well, from which the steel grate was later stolen. (Griffin would serve as the town's mayor for many years, and after he died in office in 1998. The park was named in his honor.)


Law and Order and Public Services in Old Bay City
by John R. Sollman

Herbert "Hub" Miller, in his book, "Adventures of an Oregon Country Boy," describes a society where murders were rare, most thefts were petty, and domestic spats always got more coverage in the "Headlight-Herald." Most of the action was in white-collar crime --- people getting swindled out of their money through blue-sky investment scams.

Bay City once had a town marshal named Longcore, who threw people in the town jail for fighting, or being drunk and disorderly. After sobering up following a night in the city jail, the now-chastened inebriate would be released after paying a hefty fine of about $2 and promising to lay off the sauce. But rarely were those promises kept for long --- sometimes no longer than 10 or 12 hours. That hefty $2 fine may seem trivial today, but it was a day's wages then.

The rest of the story

The Bay City United Methodist Church
by John R. Sollman

Bay City's defining feature is the Bay City United Methodist Church, situated at the corner of 5th and D Streets. The church's origins go all the way back to the 1860s.

Lucy E. Doughty writes in her history of the Bay, or Kilchis, Church that when her family "arrived in Idaville or Bay District" in September 1870, they found that there was already an established church. It was called the "Bay Preaching Place," and met in the Kilchis River School House near the bay shore. (The Idaville area was once known as Jawbone.)

In those days, the bay shore was not where it is now. In fact, the mill where the Morning Star and other boats were built is located on the present-day Pioneer Museum property south of Bay City's Goose Point area, nowhere near today's bay shore. But that is another story.

Doughty writes as follows in "Tillamook History":

"There were only eight white families on the whole bay shore: the Vaughns and Aldermans on the little 'prairie' or open land reaching back from Idaville, Mr. and Mrs. Coleman on the tideland nearby, the Davidsons at the mouth of the Wilson River, the Hiram Smith and Hiram Terwilliger homes at the present site of Bay City, the Elmers across the bay on what is now the Beals place, and the Bayleys at Garibaldi; besides these, Webley Hauxhurst lived on the Sandspit that is now Bay Ocean."

More . . .

The Bay City/Tillamook newspaper wars of 1891-‘93
By Peter B. Smith

BAY CITY Oct. 10, 2009 — On June 8, 1888, with word of a town being platted to the North at Obet Thomas’ Landing by timber cruiser Winfield Scott Cone, Tillamook businessmen started a staunchly Republican propaganda organ called the Tillamook Headlight.

Cone dubbed his town Bay City after his home town in Michigan. Backed by Salem businessmen, Bay City was deemed a threat to Tillamook politicians and real estate speculators, whose fortunes depended on Tillamook’s remaining the center of county commerce.
That year, Cone and C.E. Wilson purchased 52 acres of land from Washington and Martha Jacoby, which the Jacobys had purchased from Martha’s uncle, John Monroe. He, in turn, had inherited it from an earlier settler, Obet S. Thomas, in 1882. More. . .

Bay City Art Center

If you have ideas for articles, know of an event you wish to have covered in the Grapevine, or have comments, please contact us at:

John Sollman at the Grapevine

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
by John R. Sollman

Though the Lewis and Clark expedition is highly touted in many history books as the first crossing of the North American continent by white men, they were certainly not the first. The Hudson's Bay Company was well-entrenched in Canada, and the Northwest was a favorite source of furs and pelts for the French trappers of that era.

It is even rumored that Sir Francis Drake might have visited the Pacific Northwest in the Golden Hind two centuries earlier, and that Tillamook Bay was actually the Drake's Bay of legend. The tall, straight firs of the Pacific Northwest were highly prized as masts for English men of war. All said, the Indians of western Oregon and Washington were well-acquainted with white men long before Lewis and Clark.

Joseph L. Meek had been raised in Virginia and was well educated. But the lust for adventure, to be part of something new, drove him to St. Louis, Missouri, in the fall of 1828, at the tender age of 18 years. He applied to trader William Sublette for a job as a trapper with his trading company. After some soul searching, Sublette took the lad on, and in March 1829 Joe Meek became one of 54 trappers en route to the Rocky Mountains.

The rest of the story

Dr. William C. Hawk and The Tillamook Bay Hospital
by John R. Sollman

Dr. William Calvin Hawk received his medical degree from Rush Medical College in Illinois and married Emma McLain about 1870. The couple traveled around the country, first in the South, and then westward. In each location, he would hang out his shingle, and she would open up a millinery shop. She also taught the local ladies how to make their own stunning bonnets. According to a piece in "Tillamook, Lest We Forget" by the Hawks' grandson, Herbert "Hub" Miller, Dr. Hawk was in Tombstone the day of the famed Gunfight at the OK Corral. Dr. Hawk and his family finally settled in Jefferson, near Salem, and opened a practice there.

But the Westward urge was strong in him, and in 1905 he traveled to Tillamook County to see whether there would be any prospect for him to establish his practice there. He soon acquired property in Bay City and returned to Jefferson to close out his practice and move his extended family to Bay City.

The rest of the story


The Rise and Fall of the "San Francisco of the North"
by John R. Sollman

When the City of Bay City was preparing to incorporate for the second time in 1910, the region was well along in its transition from the pioneer days to the modernity of the 20th century. Greed was truly alive in well in those days of blue-sky speculation on everything from dairy animals to logging to real estate development to railroad building.

The area which was to become Bay City had the advantage of a large, reasonably deep bay protected from ocean storms by a sand spit some four miles west across the bay. When Captain Gray first transited the bar in the sloop, Lady Washington, to enter the bay in the late 1700s, he had 36 feet beneath the ship's keel at low tide. (There continues to be speculation whether Tillamook Bay was actually the Drake's Bay described in the ship's logs of Sir Francis Drake some 200 years earlier.)

A mill and shipyard had been established south of Bay City's Goose Point area where the "Morning Star" and several other vessels were constructed. The channels, in those days, were sufficiently deep to permit ocean-going vessels to transit the bay without danger of grounding. The Bay City area provided good docking and moorage potential, and a pier was constructed to facilitate movement by sea of Tillamook products, such as cheese, butter and timber, to consumers in Portland and the Willamette Valley.

The rest of the story



Surviving the Big One
By John Sollman

BAY CITY Jan. 15, 2010 —Mayor Shaena Peterson held a Town Hall meeting last December to urge Bay City residents to make preparations to survive a disaster. We've seen many major storms that produce landslides in the mountains and cut the Coast off from the Valley for from several days to several weeks. The December 2007 storm was such a disaster --- some of us would liken it to a major disaster --- but it pales in comparison to a major subduction quake offshore followed by a tsunami: the so-called "Big One."

More . . .


And remember, you got it from the Grapevine. . .


Next page

Home | The Back Fence | Past Issues of Grapevine | Contact | Slug's Eye View | History | Links

Website design and maintenance: WEB