Interview with Jim Adler
The Yachats Gazette spoke with Jim Adler, the creator of the whale sculpture at Whale Park in Yachats. This is the first part of a two-part interview.
TYG: First, some clarification. What exactly IS the whale sculpture? Is it just the tail, or is there more of it under there? Like, is there a big brass lump under there where the whale’s body would be?
Jim: The entire sculpture is the park. I made the park to look like a partially submerged whale.
TYG: I see.
Jim: And that was the exciting thing to me—that you could actually stand, on dry land, and imagine that there was a whale directly beneath you.
TYG: That’s cool. [laughs] I once had a bad encounter with it—it sprayed right up, well…
TYG (Editorial Assistant): …We won’t print that part.
Jim: It also got the guy who was cutting the grass once. [all laugh] He drove right over it. He waited and waited, thinking it wasn’t gonna go, and then—zoom—he goes over it, and just as he got over it, it nailed him. […] You never know really when it’s going to go off.
TYG: Is there some kind of timing mechanism?
Jim: Yeah, there is.
TYG: How long do you have to wait?
Jim: Fifty-five seconds.
TYG: Oh, that’s not long at all!
Jim: Unless you’re mowing the grass.
TYG: Do we have this correct—is the city taking over control of it?
Jim: [pause] Y-yes.
TYG: Will it ever spout again? Because it hasn’t spouted for, like, a year.
Jim: It could spout… today.
Jim: All of that parts that needed to be replaced, have been replaced. I have the pump ready to go. It could go in today and be spouting… in an hour.
TYG: That’s so nice, because it hasn’t been going in so long.
Jim: I think it’s been… well, there was a hole in the line from the pump to the spout. And it happened, I think, a year and a half ago.
TYG (Ed. Ass’t.): So why is it not spouting?
Jim: It traditionally has spouted from Memorial Day to Labor Day. And when I was talking with the mayor the other day, I told him that, and he asked why, and I said that’s because that’s what the city wanted. And he said, “Oh no no no, it should now go from at least May until the end of October.” And I said, “Fine with me.” As to why I won’t put it in today—it’s a mucky, muddy mess over there. And I would like to clean it up before getting it started. And also, there was a suggestion that there be some kind of… ceremony? … to indicate that the city has taken it over, and it would be the start of the spouting season. So we haven’t talked about exactly when that is going to be yet.
TYG: How come it doesn’t just spout all the time?
Jim: It actually did, for the first couple of years that it was in. I had the spout going year ‘round. And sometimes, when you’d pass by in the middle of March, and it would be storming and blowing… the spout looked a little dismal. [chuckles]
TYG: What do you mean?
Jim: Well, it was kind of sad, because there was nobody out there...
TYG: Well, it would certainly keep the inside of the spout, at least, clean.
Jim: Oh, it doesn’t need to. It can get sealed up. When I started running it for only a few months of the year, I would take all of the pump apparatus out, and rebuild it, and seal the line so that nothing happened to it. It’s a good time to rebuild the pump, and to do all the maintenance that needs to be done.
TYG: Why would you need to rebuild the pump?
Jim: The seals and the valves wear.
TYG: That fast? Really?
Jim: Oh, yeah. This thing, I mean it’s running at […] 1300 PSI, and it starts every 55 seconds and runs for five seconds, which is a very… difficult thing to do to an electric motor, and to a pump. I mean, it goes from nothing to 1300 PSI and then off again. So it wears the parts inside of the pump pretty radically.
[…] And actually, at one time, when the city was short of water. There were people being asked in town to conserve water. Restaurants wouldn’t serve you water unless you asked for it, and people were asked to put in low-flow… People were saying that having the whale spout water into the air was giving the wrong signal. That’s when it started to go only from Memorial Day to Labor Day….
TYG: I’m surprised that the city would be short on water. I mean, we’re directly next to a river. So you’d think they could just take water from the river.
Jim: Well, that’s what they want to do.
TYG (Ed. Ass’t.): What is the water source now?
Jim: There are two sources. One is Reedy Creek, which is about two and a half miles up the river, and the second one is Salmon Creek, which runs right behind the water treatment plant, right outside of town. At the moment they are only using Reedy Creek as the primary source, and Salmon Creek is remaining on line.
TYG (Ed. Ass’t.): Oh, you’re referring to city now.
Jim: Yes. And the city is also attempting to withdraw more water from the Yachats River itself, in order to supplement those two sources….
TYG: … Because, I mean, it’s big! The Yachats River is big! There’s a lot of water flowing through it.
Jim: No, there isn’t. And actually, I have been very involved in trying to keep the city from doing that for probably the last 20 years…. [Lengthy discussion of water issues followed.] What else would you like to know about the whale?
TYG: Where did you get the idea for it?
Jim: Oh, that’s a good question. The property that became the park had been owned privately… and the man who owned it donated it to the city. He was a Yachats Lion, and the Lions Club took it upon themselves, as volunteers, to develop that property into a city park. So they’re the ones who put the railroad ties down around the outside…. They put water into it, they put a water meter into it, and they had a provision for a standpipe to water the place… and they had a place for a drinking fountain, which they never developed…. And I had heard that somebody in the Lions Club wanted to put a sculpture in the park. And they wanted to put in a flagpole and a couple of cannons, and they wanted it to be a memorial to the veterans of foreign wars….
TYG: And of course that’s not what happened.
Jim: I thought that we could do better than that. So I went down and looked at the park.… And when I looked at the park, and I looked at that wall, what I saw was like a Norwegian fjord… or an inlet in Alaska. I saw this kind of… rocky wall that looked like it could be part of the ocean. And the next thing I saw, in that fjord, was a whale.
TYG: I see.
Jim: And I thought, it would be kinda cool, considering that we actually are in a place where there are whales, to put a whale into the park. And to make it look like the whale was right under the park, and either coming up or going back down… and that the park would be made to look like water.… And after I made that design, I was talking to my wife and a friend, and I was joking, and said, “How about if I put a pump into the park and make it spout?” And they said, “That’s terrific!” And I said, “FORGET IT! That’s stupid!” [all laugh] “That’s a really dumb idea! I am TRYING to show something that is majestic, and something that is beautiful, and this is going to make it look STUPID.”
Jim: Because it’s… Mickey Mouse.
TYG: What do you mean, “It’s Mickey Mouse”— ?
Jim: It’s… It makes it into a joke! I thought. Because it’s… [ponders]
TYG (Ed. Ass’t.): … Undignified?
Jim: Well, for one thing…. Yes, it’s undignified…. It turns it from a static sculpture, which has a certain amount of mass and dignity, into a dynamic sculpture, which is… [I thought] slightly frivolous. But, because my wife liked it, and my wife has very good taste, I actually started thinking about whether or not this could be done… and retain the sense of… AWE that you have when you see a whale spouting.
TYG: Got it.
Jim: And the only way that I could think of doing that was to have that spout … explosive. Like, when I first talked about it, it was like… a garden sprinkler. Which would make it look—stupid. It would just look like, like this stupid little spout. But when I started thinking of turning it into a high-pressure spout, which would make this… explosive mist—that actually sounded more like what I was trying to depict. Which was this HUGE creature. This incredibly POWERFUL thing. With lungs the size of Volkswagens. That could propel this mist into the air. And I thought, okay, I can do that. So I changed the sculpture.
Part Two of the Jim Adler interview will appear in The Yachats Gazette, Issue 21.
Interview with Yvonne Erickson of Just Local
TYG: Why and when did you choose to open this store?
Yvonne: Well, it was actually about 12 days ago that we decided to open the store. We found out that it was available for rent, and I think the biggest reason why is because I know so many people with talent and so much artistry. We all do open air markets and craft shows, but some of us are getting a little older, and sitting out in the wind isn’t always that much fun. Neither is loading and unloading the car twice a week! So we thought this would be the perfect time to open a shop and provide a place for our friends to sell their products!
TYG: What are some of the things that you sell ?
Yvonne: Oh gosh, we have such a wide variety! We have Ric Gosswiller, who makes these amazing bird-houses and suet feeders. Up in the front window, the bird-house with the motorcycle parked in the front yard?
TYG: Oh ! I didn’t realize that was one bird-house!
Yvonne: That is one bird-house, with a front yard, and a little bit of garden, and he’s got a motorcycle parked in his driveway!
TYG: I thought the motorcycle was something totally different!
Yvonne: No, no, the birds get to sit on the handlebars!
TYG: That is cool! I also saw you have a 1945 Ford Truck.
Yvonne: Yep! I think it’s a Ford… and that’s parked at the other bird-house. We’ve got different types of suet feeders. And let’s see: we’ve got Jan Hoffman at Coastal Treasures that does these beautiful agate lamps, and the candles. And that’s [by] James King—you met James yesterday, he’s my cohort to help me get things going—he does the beautiful driftwood candles and also all those adorable little shell figures. We have a lady named Rebecca Reisner, and she makes the concrete walking blocks—stepping stones.
TYG: Those are cool!
Yvonne: And they’re incredibly heavy. She puts rebar in them so they’re good and solid, and then she double-seals them so that the paint doesn’t fade on them.
TYG: So how heavy would you say these are?
Yvonne: Oh, 45 to 50 pounds. They’re meant to sit in your garden.
TYG: Are these actually meant for stepping on?
Yvonne: Oh, absolutely! […] Oh, and then we have Carol Jackson and her husband Jack, and he does the woodworking—makes the beautiful little fish trivets and the turtle cutting-board. […] Carol does the rag rugs, and she’s the Queen of Recycle, because she uses old flannel sheets, and strips them, and sews the strips together, and then she crochets the rug. And we have Ric’s wife, Paulette Gosswiller, and she’s a wonderful photographer. She has made cards with her beautiful pictures—they’re here on this wall.
TYG: Why are these so hard to keep in stock?
Yvonne: Because they’re cute, and kind of coastal-oriented, kind of beachy, and they’re so decorative as well as being practical—they go kind of quick.
TYG: Over here? Oh, these are some good pictures.
Yvonne: Yes, she’s got a great eye. […] Linda Davlin does the knit caps that are in the front window there. She’s quite an inventive woman, because she designed the pattern that she uses to knit her caps.
TYG: Who makes these little cars?
Yvonne: Carol Jackson and her husband. Pretty much all the wood stuff in here is Carol’s and Jack’s. Michael Miller is our jeweler. […] She has everything from mille-feuille beads to semi-precious stones—silver, jade, moss agates… there are just so many of them. […] Everybody that has product in here has been marketing for years, and the driftwood candles are a huge seller, along the top shelf there. And the agate candle holders are a really huge seller. The cutting boards and cribbage boards—hard to keep those in stock. And of course, bird-houses. Everybody loves bird-houses.
TYG: […] Do you live in Yachats? Where are you from originally?
Yvonne: Actually, I live in Tidewater, and my partner Jim lives in Yachats. And originally, I’m from Canada! I sort of kept moving south until nobody knew what a snow shovel was for, and I thought: “Perfect! This is the place to be.” [laughter]
Yvonne: Not that fond of snow. Too cold.
TYG: What’s your general business background?
Yvonne: I worked primarily in accounting most of my life—book-keeping and accounting. So I understand the ins and outs of working a business. But since I retired—almost for the last 20 years—I have been doing marketing, like Yachats Farmer’s Market, Waldport Wednesday Market, all the craft shows. That’s what kind of kept me from being totally retired—call it semi-retired.
TYG: And now you’re actually running a business, so you’re fully un-retired.
Yvonne: Fully un-retired, officially yesterday. And this is a dream come true for me. I’ve always wanted to just have a shop where I could sit and visit with people, meet all sorts—and you do! I couldn’t have asked for a better location.
TYG: Really? Why? It’s just that it’s so small!
Yvonne: Well, small is good when you’re starting out. And as far as location goes, everybody knows Yachats is the gem of the Oregon Coast, and it’s a destination! People come to visit. And this is a really hopping little area here: close to the Commons, close to all the excitement… […]
TYG: What are these?
Yvonne: Paulette [Gosswiller] grows lavender, and then she dries it and weaves it in with the ribbon…
TYG: Smells good! That smells really good!
Yvonne: …and you just kind of wave your lavender wand about, and it freshens your air.
TYG (Graphic Design): So, do you make any of the stuff in here?
Yvonne: I do the afghans, and quilted stuff.
TYG: What are these?
Yvonne: Those are actual lamps, hanging lanterns, and all of the agates are off our local beaches. Coastal Treasures, that’s how they got into business! They love to go to the beaches and collect agates, and then what do you do when you have fifteen 5-gallon buckets of agates? [Yvonne shows us an agate candle holder.] The nice thing about this is that you can put in either a votive candle or a stand-up candle—they just glow so beautifully. They’re so warm.
TYG: Thank you so much!
Yvonne: Thank you so much for coming in!
Interview with Barbara Adkinson-Shepherd
The Yachats Gazette spoke with Barbara Adkinson-Shepherd, Resort Manager, of the Sea Perch RV Resort at 10 Mile, south of Yachats.
TYG: What is “glamping” and why do people like it?
Barbara: “Glamping” is “glamorous camping.” There are a lot of people that like tent camping, or camp out under the stars, in the mountains, and in the woods, and dirt camping, and campfires, and all that kind of fun stuff. And then there are people—a lot of older people of course—there are people who just don’t want to get so dirty, and they’ve got these big beautiful 45-foot Coach motor-homes, and they travel in them, and they come to resorts such as ours for that experience. So ours is a resort setting, as opposed to camping. The beach is the number one thing they come here for, and we’re so close to the beach, you can’t get any closer to the beach than here. But they have all their comforts, they have the ability to cook on a stove, they have heat, they have water, they have power, and it’s glamorous, comfortable, up-scale camping. And people love it, because there are just some people that don’t like to get dirty anymore, and they’re older, and they just love all that luxury—you know, being able to GO, and have all those nice things, and still be outdoors, and still be at the beach, without having to be on the ground in a tent.
TYG: Is there like a fire pit available in front of the parking lot for them?
Barbara: We don’t have site pits; we have a big huge community fire pit that is for all guests. So like last Saturday night, Tony [Barbara’s husband and co-manager of the resort] and I went down and they had this huge bonfire already in the pit—weather and wind permitting of course. Then everybody can wander over, and they can bring a glass of wine, or cocoa…
TYG: … and marshmallows…
Barbara: …and marshmallows, or hotdogs… and they can do all that right there and it’s just this big community fire pit.
TYG: That’s nice!
Barbara: It is nice! And they love to visit and get together at night. And there was a full moon that night—almost a full moon—it was beautiful. I got a great picture of it.
TYG: I see. Where did the art of glamping come from?
Barbara: [pause] You know, I couldn’t tell you! I believe it was just born because of trailers, because of RV’s and their comforts. It’s just human nature to want comfort! […]
TYG: Do you have ocean views?
Barbara: Every site has an ocean view and we have six ocean-front RV sites, and we have villas that are brand new to us. They only sleep two people. Of course they’re beautiful, and they are ocean-front as well. We cater to honeymooners, older people who want to come camping or glamping with their kids, but they can’t utilize their motor-homes because they’re too old.
TYG: How big is the biggest villa in square feet, approximately?
Barbara: They’re very small—I’m not good at descriptions—maybe 800 square feet? […] You’ll have to walk it off when I go show you. […] There are four villas—two are smaller than the big ones.
TYG: What would guests find in the villas?
Barbara: Everything! I mean, we include all the amenities. We have king beds, all the linens, beautiful luxury linens, comforters, gorgeous towels… we have everything. Dishes, everything they’d need. Internet TV’s, they can log on to Netflix if they want—if they have an account—they can log onto the internet right on their TV…
TYG: Nice! So you can actually plug in your mouse to the TV, and you can actually use it on the monitor?
Barbara: Yes, they’re big, huge internet TVs. You can do everything on them.
TYG: That is awesome.
Barbara: They love that. All the amenities, clear to the coffee. And we serve them Village Bean coffee in the villas!
TYG: How big is your RV area—how many trailers approximately does it fit?
Barbara: We’re a very small resort. So we have 24 RV sites, and we have actually five villas—one is pre-owned.
TYG: What does that mean?
Barbara: Meaning that somebody bought one, and they are here part-time. They’re residents of Oregon, but they’re only here part-time. It’s a little more than a vacation home; they actually live here, but they come and go. They travel, they go back and forth to Seattle because that’s where their kids are, but they’re here mostly. […] And they were able to customize it themselves because they pre-ordered. So they did custom floors, and countertops, and had extra little fancy things put in there.
TYG: Can you tell us some more about RV’s and trailers?
Barbara: Well you know, they’re getting pretty snazzy these days, I’ll tell you what! Some of the big coaches are absolutely gorgeous. They’re up to like 45 feet, and we accommodate the biggest of the big coaches in here. Some of them are millions of dollars, and they’re absolutely beautiful. You’d think there were movie stars living in them or something!
TYG: I’m guessing you don’t get the really big ones that often.
Barbara: Oh yes we do, absolutely! Wait ‘till I take you down and show you. Yes, lots of the big ones come here! We’re a little on the spendy side.
TYG: How much do you think those smaller ones, not a true motor-home, like easily pulled by a truck, that kind of thing. How much do you think that would cost?
Barbara: You have your RV’s, which are your coach and motor-homes—they’re all RV’s. You have motor-homes, which are all in one—they’re from 45 feet clear down to very small ones. You know, you have some nice ones now that are no bigger than a small van. They make them very small and compact for people who travel. A lot of people live in them permanently! […] The big motor-homes start probably somewhere around $50,000, to a million plus.
Your next option is a fifth-wheel. And that is where you have the big [trailer], over the back of your truck. They’re a fifth wheel, meaning they have five axles, and they have a big, huge, almost like a cab, over the top of your truck. And they bolt on to the inside of a bed of a huge pick-up truck—you have to have a big truck to pull those. They’re easier to pull, because you don’t have a full trailer hook-up. […]
Then, you have your trailers: your travel trailers, they call them. That’s what we have. And those range anywhere from eighteen feet, cute little eighteen footers, clear up to thirty-eight footers. Ours is twenty-seven [feet long]. And they’re very, very nice. […] Ours is new, we just got it last April, so it’s almost a year old. But we’ve only used it a couple of times because we’ve been so busy here! […] So you could buy a nice trailer anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000. […] And then fifth-wheels are a little more expensive. You can probably get a fifth-wheel from $30,000 to over $100, 000.
TYG: If I could choose I’d probably get a trailer. Because you can get a big trailer for not that much.
Barbara: Yes! And they make them very light-weight now. Mine is light enough that I can pull it with my Ford Explorer. I couldn’t pull it with a car […] but we pull ours all the time.
TYG: And do you often go out in that one?
Barbara: As often as we can. We’ve made reservations for five nights down south at [William M.] Tugman State Park because it’s right on a lake. We’re going this summer—sneak away and claim five days to ourselves. You know, when you do this all year, you’ve got to have a vacation yourself! So we do. We can’t go far, but it’s 50 miles down to Tugman State Park, and that’s where all the kids are. And that’s where we actually do the camping: the dirty feet, the campfires, we roast the hotdogs and cook them in the campfire. It’s all about being outdoors at your picnic table—we do all that there, because we love it.
TYG-Ed. Asst.: How did you get into this?
Barbara: We’ve lived out in this neighborhood for 21 years, we own the Village Bean, Tony’s a contractor, and between the two of us we just have a lot of personal assets that we’ve gathered through the years, so we became perfect candidates, especially since we know the area. We’ve known all the people who’ve owned this prior to the people who bought this and put all the money into it and made it all swanky. I’ve known this place since it was a trailer park back in the day when it was gravel. The old place was all gravel, and you could have a fireplace at your site, there was a little bit of grass and there were picnic tables, and it was really all about that: no-fuss camping. Now it’s a resort because there are new owners. They’ve been here for five years, they’re four guys and they’re very very savvy in business. They own Aaron’s Sales and Leasing—I don’t know if you know those Aaron’s stores all over—and they’re really big in real estate back East, and they’re very very nice guys. They’re business guys, but they aren’t very critical, they have a good heart. They’re family men: one guy has six kids! And they’re all young—they’re all forty-ish--
TYG: That’s young? [laughter]
Barbara: That’s young to me, honey! They all have really good taste for the finer things in life and for business. They do a very good job, and we’re happy to work for them. We knew the person who came and helped start this—we came to be friends—and he offered it to us because we were such perfect candidates to run it. It’s been a lot of work. It’s been a good stepping stone for us as well, because we get to live here for free! We get all of our utilities and everything for free, so it’s a way for us to pack away some money so our dream can come true in ten years.
TYG: What’s your dream?
Barbara: It’s our property [the lot north of the Village Bean, where they want to build a house]. But if we end up staying here forever… you know? None of us own tomorrow, so we’re just present today.