Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Yachats Gazette, February 22, 2013

Coastal Safety Marker 
Dedication at Smelt sands March 9, 2013
Interview with JR Collier, Park Manager
Oregon Parks & Recreation Department

The installation of the Coastal Safety Marker at Smelt Sands was complete on January 4. The drownings that inspired this project occurred on February 5, 2011.

TYG: What is the purpose of the coastal safety marker?
JR: The purpose of the coastal safety marker that’s going to be placed at the Smelt Sands [at the Adobe end of the 804 trail] is really to help educate the public on some of the dangers you might see on the ocean shore.  The ocean can be a very dangerous place, and hopefully this safety marker will give the public pause just long enough to be aware of some of those issues before they go down to the beach. Because everybody comes to the beach to have fun and to have a great time, and we’re hoping to make sure they continue to have a good time while they’re there, and also be safe.

TYG: Will there be any new restrictions as to what you can do at Smelt Sands? 
JR: No. There won’t be any restrictions to what you can do on the beach or on the ocean shores. This is just an educational opportunity to help the public see that there are dangers associated with being down so close to the ocean. The ocean’s a wild place, and things can happen, and really that’s the whole point. So there won’t be any new rules or restrictions put in place.

TYG: […] How did you come to be involved with this project?
JR: I was introduced to the committee that’s in charge of putting the coastal safety marker up in September. I took over as the South Beach unit manager in mid-September, so I manage all the State Parks from the Yaquina Bridge down through the town of Yachats, basically from south Newport to Yachats. So being that the safety marker is going to be placed at Smelt Sands, it’s within my unit. I started working with this group to go through the permitting process that would allow them to put the marker up, because they’re a group that’s not necessarily associated with State Parks [so] they had to get a special permit. [This] means we can ensure that it’s placed in a correct location, that the message is one that we think is a good message to be shared with the public, and that we make sure it stays in place. One thing we’ve seen on the ocean shores is that if things aren’t placed correctly, they get eroded really fast. So we just want to be assured that if it’s placed there, it’s going to be there for a long time. […]

TYG: Who else is working on the project? 
JR: Well, there’s a variety of people associated with this project. […] Helen Beardsworth is who I’ve worked with for the most part, and then Curtis Wilson [who was architectural lead], but I believe their committee [in Eugene, made up of relatives of the deceased and interested parties] is probably seven or eight people. [So] it’s a pretty large group of people who have played a role in getting the safety marker installed. [The committee members are as follows: Helen Beardsworth, Frank Gibson, Sarah Harnsongkram, Chris Havel, Stan Honn, Stewart Thompson, Kathryn Toepel, Curt Wilson, Lili Weldon.]

TYG: When is the safety marker dedication occurring? 
JR: The safety marker is going to be dedicated on March 9, 2013. March is traditionally a time we consider beach safety awareness month. That’s kind of the kick-off of the summer: it’s spring break, and so we usually try to do some education and outreach in that month in anticipation of spring break to get the message out. So it’s going to be March 9th, and I believe it starts at 11 am, at the Adobe. And then they’ll be doing the dedication I think around 11:30. Then after that they’ll have an open house at the Adobe from noon till 2 pm, where they’ll be providing information and things like that.

NB: The initial design concept (3 basalt columns with a wave and 3 seating stones) was done by Stewart Thompson, an architect. The concept was detailed by a team of Ellen Tykeson with assistance by Lee Imonen. Ellen Tykeson designed the wave and the embellishments (sea stars). Jason Elliott took Ellen’s design and bent the metal to her design. Ellen made the sea stars. Carl Oslund designed the text panel.

Interview with Roxy Hills of 
Isabella Dog Biscuits 

The Yachats Gazette recently met up with Roxy, Anita, and Casey at the new Pet Bath & Beyond on Ocean Beach Drive, the site of the former Raindogs.

Roxy: Do you want to start with the dog biscuits? I make these biscuits that are called Isabella Dog Biscuits, and there are 5 flavors.
TYG: That’s a cool logo here! What are these pictures? Does that signify the flavor?
Roxy: This is a Spaniel—these [pictures] are all from like 18th century engravings, from a book from very long ago. And so I wanted a nice clean-cut image of dogs, so each flavor has a different dog on it. So he kind of looks like peanut butter, he kind of like a peanut, if you had a bunch of peanuts on a dog. And this one’s a very energetic dog, and it’s called Energy Treat. They’re all natural ingredients and organic and locally-sourced, whenever possible.

TYG: It’s just that this looks like some other breed, like a terrier or something? And this looks like a poodle!
Roxy: Well, the breeds of the 18th and 19th centuries were different than today. They didn’t breed as specifically as we do. Those dogs had names that we probably don’t even recognize, although this dog is named a Spaniel. I like to get ingredients locally if possible, so one of the ingredients that we have in this particular flavor is kale …

TYG: “Corn, soy, wheat-free, vegan, made with organic ingredients.”
Roxy:  Yeah! That’s because a lot of dogs have allergies to corn, and soy, and wheat, so these do not have any of those ingredients. It’s for dogs that are sensitive, you know, who sometimes chew their feet a lot? Sometimes they have allergies or something. So these are going to be something that will help dogs with allergies. And they’re a treat. And the kale comes from a local, organic farm which is called Sitka Springs—they’re outside of Toledo. I like to work with local vendors, and they are also doing restoration of their stream, on their farm, so they do things that are environmentally friendly, too. […]

TYG-Ed. Asst.: How did you get the idea for this business?
Roxy: The idea came because I wanted to do something natural and organic and local for a treat for dogs. And I was walking on the beach and saw of the kelp, and I researched that and found it was good for dogs too.

TYG: Do you have kelp in here?
Roxy: Powder, yep. To get organic, it had to come from Canada. I first took kelp off the beach and tried to dry it, and that was a fiasco. Tried to do it myself, and it was a disaster. [laughter] It’s not something you can do easily.

TYG-Ed. Asst.: What happened? 
Roxy: It smelled really bad!

TYG-Ed. Asst.: Oh dear!
Roxy: It rotted before it dried. So it had to go to the people who really knew how to dry kelp. The kelp and the kale are inspired by the beach, and going in the woods, and bringing a treat to dogs that my dog enjoys. We went through 29 flavors before we came up with these. […] We went through—I don’t know how many—trial recipes. Lots of them. But these came from a lot of experiments. My dog’s in the car: he’s the chief taster. You have dogs, don’t you?
TYG: Yeah, I have a Golden Retriever—I used to have two Labs.
Roxy: Well, I’ll give you some samples to take with you. There are five flavors…

TYG: We have a Golden Retriever right now—which one do you think would be best for him?
Roxy: I think any of them! You’d best ask him. This one is Oatmeal Cookie, and this one is called Oregon Grape, and it’s shaped like Oregon. This one’s the Energy Treat, and everyone loves Peanut Butter. […] They’re all handmade, so every one of them is going to look different. They’re not done by machine, and they’re not done in big batches. […]

TYG: This one really looks like Oregon!
Roxy: I had a local welder make [a cookie cutter], his name’s Dave, and he’s in Waldport. He’s a very talented welder to be able to get a shape like that!

TYG: What did you do before this?
Roxy: Before this? Oh my gosh, I did so many things I hate to tell you! […] Well, I wanted to get into this business, because on my website, there’s also a little section that’s called “Travel Safely” and I’m a big promoter of dog seatbelts. Keep your dog very safe when you’re traveling.

TYG: Normally we just have him in the trunk!
Roxy: Yes, you should get a seatbelt. The business is named “Isabella,” and she’s a dog that’s missing because we were in a car accident, and when we had the dogs released from their seatbelts, they ran off. We got the poodle [Beignet] back, but [Isabella] is missing. So I named the business after Isabella. […]

TYG: Did you have anything else you wanted to talk about?
Roxy: We have a short, short story competition that Isabella Dog Biscuits is promoting. […] This is going to be great! It’s open for all ages; it’s 500 words or less, and the prizes are going to be selected by Bruce Holland Rogers, who’s a writer in Eugene, he’s won two Nebula Awards, he’s won the Oregon Arts Commission Award; he just got an award to go, in the fall, to Japan to write short, short stories. So this is going to be a real fun competition! There is no entry fee, and the winner gets published on four websites, and gets a free bag of dog biscuits! So it’s going to be fun. [The entries] have to be in by March 21, and by April 30 Bruce is going to pick the winner. […] And then we’re going to have Bruce here, and he’s going to read from his book.

Interview with Anita Kirk & Casey Case of 
Pet Bath & Beyond

Roxy: [to Chris & Anita] How did you get the idea to put a shop here? [to TYG] They have another store in Newport.
Casey: You’ll have to ask Anita!
Anita: I just woke up one morning and said “Oh, I’m going to sign another store!” [laughter] Isn’t that what basically what I did?
Casey: Basically! You see, she likes the Yachats area…
Anita: And then we got Roxy who said “Yeah, do it!”

TYG-Ed. Asst.: So how do you all know each other?
Anita: Dogs… [laughter] […]

TYG: So, I have a question… Are you going to have any baths in here? Because it says Pet Bath & Beyond…
Anita: Right. I didn’t want to change the name because it would be more work. […] We’re just going to carry the bathing [products].

TYG-Ed. Asst.: You have a grooming facility in Newport?
Anita: Yes. So the grooming’s in Newport, and we moved all the retail out, kind of broke it up.
Casey: We thought about it, but there’s no room in here.
Anita: […] It ruins your merchandise, too.

TYG: Why?
Anita: Oh, all the hair—trust me! And here would be so small that you couldn’t even do the bathing. We might do the bathing… this was Roxy’s idea: a little area outside, where you could wash off their feet from the sand, but it won’t be inside. We have to start small. […] We’ll trim nails here, and in the summer do the little pools for their feet. What I’m mainly focusing on here is beach walking, dog training, pet sitting… I’m going to pet-sit at night. […] When people want to go out to dinner, and they don’t have have a place for their dog, then they’ll just drop them off here until the restaurant’s closed—if it’s not too late.
Casey: Because in some hotels you can have pets, but you can’t leave them unattended.

TYG-Ed. Asst.: So how long have you had your shop in Newport?
Casey: Three, almost four years? Yes, four years in July.

TYG-Ed. Asst.: How’d you get the idea for that?
Anita: I went to vet school. And when I came back from Spring Break, all funding ceased for me to go back to vet school.
Casey: That was in 2008, when the economy was going …
Anita: No more loans. Went to private banks to try and get a loan, nothing. So then—I knew how to groom, and train, so I just opened [a store] in Newport, and did what I knew how to do.

TYG: That’s too bad!
Anita: Yeah, but I think everything happens for a reason, and I’m actually kind of having fun with this. […] I want to do nose-works […] where you teach your dog certain scents, and they have to find it in cardboard boxes, or wherever you put it. You start off with just treats, and then you can do like birch, and alder; you can do cadaver dogs…

TYG: That’s if you have a hound!
Anita: No… German Shepherds, Dobies… Robert [the Westie] is really good at it too! […]
Casey: Let me just tell you a little more about what we have: We have dog food, treats, rain jackets, harnesses, toys, grooming supplies… we try to carry all good stuff!
Anita: Yes, we mentioned dog sitting, and training, and dog walking. And we have dog massage and acupressure.

Pet Bath & Beyond will be open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 11-5 for the winter, then every day except Wednesday during the rest of the year. 

Interview with 
Jeff Davis, Yachats Post Office

TYG: When did you take over as Postmaster? 
Jeff:  Well, I haven’t actually taken over as Postmaster yet. Right now I’m considered an Officer in Charge, which is kind of the same thing as a Postmaster, just without the official title yet. Right now I am considered to be the Postmaster of Siletz, which I got promoted to from the Postmaster of Westlake. I didn’t get a start date in Siletz, and this office came open when Penny transferred to Wyoming, and they asked if I would come and fill in here for a while. Since it’s closer than Siletz, I said “Absolutely!” [laughter] Because Siletz would be over 3 hours of commute time a day, where this is just 45 minutes here, 45 minutes back, so it’s a lot easier than going to Siletz every day.

TYG: Do you live in Yachats? Do you like your commute?
Jeff: I’m trying to sell my house in Florence so that I can move up here. [My commute] is about 45 minutes a day, and I get to see the ocean every day, so that’s a plus part of my day that I look forward to.

TYG: [...] Where did you serve as Postmaster before this?
Jeff: I was the Postmaster of Westlake, Oregon, which is in the Dunes City area, about 3.5 miles south of Florence, and I’ve been there since the twin towers came down, in 2001. I was there about 12 years, and then before that I worked in Florence for 6 years, and before that, I started my postal career in Gillette, Wyoming—back in 1988!

TYG: Can you tell us about some of the places you worked before here?
Jeff: Well, in Westlake, I can open my back door and see the Siltcoos Lake, and they have the Siltcoos Outlet where the salmon will come up every year. It’s a nice little community; a smaller office than Yachats. Our box section is only about one third the size of the box section that we have here. I’ve had a lot of customers tell me [Yachats] is a small office, but I don’t think it’s near as small as the one I came from—what I came from is more like Mayberry RFD [laughter]. Probably a reference you don’t know about because you’re too young.

TYG: Can you tell us a little about the Siletz post office? 
Jeff: Well actually, no, because I never even set foot in the office. I got promoted there, but I did not get a start date because all of this has been a really recent development. With everything going on with the Post Office these days… my Post Office [in Westlake] is going down to six hours a day! It’s considered a Level 13 office, where Yachats and Siletz are considered Level 18 offices. […] The Post Office is trying to save money right now because the mail volume, first class letter mail, has decreased so much because people are using e-mail and other forms of communication that are electronic. So Westlake doesn’t get near the mail that there used to be, so it doesn’t require the number of hours that it used to in order to have the Post Office run efficiently. They’re trying to save money so they’re taking the office down to six hours a day versus the normal eight hours a day that it was open before. Since I’m a career employee, they gave me a choice: I could stay there, but I would have lost half my pay; or I could try to get promoted. So I put in for a bunch of offices, and I had six interviews in one day, and they gave me Siletz. But before I could set my foot in the door, Penny [the former Postmistress] went to Wyoming and I ended up coming over here instead. Now when they put the office [Yachats] up for bid, because the Post Office has a competitive system for applying for jobs, I can put in for what is called a “lateral.” What that means is that if you have a Level 18 office, and another Level 18 office comes up for bid, you can request a lateral, and if they accept it through the competitive process then I would be the Postmaster here, which is what I’m going to do when they put Yachats up for bid.

TYG: What is your main job as Officer in Charge?
Jeff: Well, I have to make schedules for my employees, oversee all the finances in the office and make sure that every penny is accounted for; I have to greet customers at the window, and answer the telephone; and pretty much just be as helpful as I can be to the community I work in.

TYG-GD: How many employees do you have here? 
Jeff: Well, right now we have one PTF clerk, which is Elizabeth Wood; and I’ve just hired another clerk—they made a new job description called a PSE—and she will be starting next week! Her name is Angela Bagby.

TYG-GD: Angela? Bagby? The one who used to work at Raindogs? 
Jeff: Yep! [much crowing excitement on the part of the Yachats Gazette here.]

TYG-GD: What do “PTF” and “PSE” stand for?
Jeff: Well, “PTF” means “Part-Time Flexible” and “PSE”… you know, I just cannot remember! There are so many acronyms in the Post Office, you could have a book full of them! It just basically means that they’re part-time. Right now they have a certain amount of years that you can work before they are going to have to reclassify that position to something else.

TYG-GD: Because it seems like Elizabeth is here all the time!
Jeff: Right! Well, Elizabeth has 28 years of service at the Post Office! As the years go on, things change, and so do job descriptions and the way we do business. That’s the way of life!

TYG: […] How and why did you come to find yourself in the Postmaster business?
Jeff: Well, I was born in Wyoming, and I was going to college, and I had probably one more semester to go before I got my degree. But, my mother [had] talked me into taking the Civil Service test three years [earlier]. It took them three years to call me on the phone and tell me I had an interview with the Post Office, and that was with a score of 99.6! […] It took three years for them to get through the roster before they got to me—very competitive! So they offered me a job, and I can’t remember what the starting pay was at that time, but it was a nice job and better than minimum wage, and actually it was better than what I could have hoped for if I’d finished my degree and started off in another company somewhere. So I went to an interview, and they hired me—April 23, 1988—and I’ve been with the Postal Service ever since!

TYG: Cool! What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen come through the mail?
Jeff:  Gosh, that’s a good question! [laughter] Uhm, I guess probably turkeys.

TYG: You’ve actually seen live turkeys come through the mail? 
Jeff: I have had live turkeys come through the mail, and bees.

TYG: Hopefully they were in bee-proof cages! 
Jeff: They are. They come in little wire and wooden cages, and you can see the bees moving around on the inside. It’s a really good way, if you want to start a hobby of bee-keeping—you get your own honey, and bees through the Post Office!

TYG-GD: So you’ve never seen a guitar with a label stuck on it, or a mayonnaise jar with a label stuck on it?
Jeff: No… every once in a while there will be a bottle with a message inside it, you know, message in a bottle… Yeah, I haven’t seen too many abnormal packages come through the mail; it doesn’t happen that often.

TYG: Thanks so much!
Jeff:  Well you’re welcome!

Interview with Raymond Hong, New owner of 
China Restaurant, Waldport

TYG: Did you own a restaurant before this one, or were you in a different business?
Raymond:  Oh yes. I’ve owned restaurants all my life. So this time I was looking for a small town to get out of the big city [San Francisco], a small town to take it easy, because I’m almost 50 years old. I could not do it like before, working that hard.

TYG: I see! Where were the restaurants you owned before this one?
Raymond:  I owned one in Washington, in Spokane—it was a partnership. And I owned a restaurant two years ago in Sausalito. And I owned one in San Francisco before, on Irving between 23rd and 24th.

TYG: So, how did you come to Waldport?
Raymond:  I took a drive in the car between the Bay Area and Vancouver, Canada—a couple of times. And every time I used I-5. [...] A lot of people in San Francisco said to check out 101, it’s so beautiful! So once I drove up from the Bay Area on 101, and I was starving, it was lunchtime! And I’d eaten so many hamburgers, and sandwiches—I wanted some rice, you know, something really decent!  [laughter] And then I stopped in Yachats, and a lady told me: “Hey, there’s one little Chinese restaurant, why don’t you go check it out.” [And I said] “Okay!!!” But there was one problem with this restaurant: they don’t know any English. Earlier they had their grandchildren helping them, and somebody else helping them, but they were no longer there. So then it left only the two old folks.
I don’t know if you knew them…
TYG-Ed. Asst.: We met. 
Raymond:  And they didn’t even have the energy to take care of the kitchen, or clean up, or anything. So we went in there for lunch, and the owner saw me and my wife talking Chinese, and he was so excited! He said to come inside to talk to him. Then we got closer and closer, and they told me about all kinds of problems, and how they were trying to sell the restaurant. Then I went to Washington, to check out [another restaurant for sale].

Between Oregon and Washington, there’s a big difference. There were two locations next to Microsoft that I was talking about. 2,500 square feet, and they were asking $5,000 lease per month. I think $5,000 is a very reasonable price in Washington, I mean close to Microsoft, close to the CostCo office—you know, all kinds of rich people in Issaquah and Snoqualmie area. It would be ok to run the restaurant right there. But: the tax. Just killed me. Just killed me.

TYG-Ed Asst.: You mean the business tax?
Raymond:  The business tax wasn’t too much to worry about. Property tax! 2,500 square feet: you need to pay $2,800 per month, just for property tax! And [with fees and services] it could go up to $3,000 or $4,000 per month! I mean, $8,000 or $9,000 per month to run a restaurant! I said “Oh, I don’t want that kind of hassle.” Then we turned back to Waldport and we bought out the restaurant. One of the reasons that I like it is that crabbing is good. I’ve gone a couple of times. And the people are so good in this area. Maybe it’s because I’m coming from California—I don’t know what the reason might be, but something’s going on. I feel like it’s really nice. And the local businesses and people are always helping me a lot. They come to try my food, tell their friends, tell their family members to come in and try it, and they like it, take a lot of “to go” order menus. The last two weeks, each day there were about 40 or 50 to-go menus that went out. That’s really good for me.

TYG: That’s a really good story!
Raymond:  Thanks!

TYG-Ed. Asst.: Do you have specials? What do you like to cook the most?
Raymond:  Basically everything on the menu, I like. I’m very experienced in any kind of Chinese food—I have 30 years experience. South side, north side—but particularly I really do seafood well, but in Waldport I cannot do much, only the shrimp and scallops, not even fish. Later on I might think about it. I have to test the market, because the restaurant is so small, and the population is so small, I cannot do much about it. Because you know, you can keep the fish only two days, and after that you have to toss it.

TYG-Ed. Asst.: What are the hours?
Raymond: The hours are Monday through Thursday, 11am to 9pm; Friday till 10pm; and Saturday and Sunday noon till 10pm.

TYG: Thanks so much for your time!
Raymond:  Thank you so much!