You are the owner of this page.
A1 A1
Ed Glazar, The World 

The Pacific boys basketball team celebrates Saturday after winning their Class 1A state playoff game against Lowell at Pacific High School. The team is headed to Baker City for the state tournament Thursday.

Eastside bridge construction enters its final month

COOS BAY — Construction of the new bridge along Sixth Avenue in Eastside  is expected to finish by the end of March.

“We’re installing the sidewalk and the rails right now. All the infrastructure, the sewer lines and water lines that are ran underneath the bridge, have all been installed. We’re done with all the in water work,” Coos Bay supervisor of engineering Jennifer Wirsing said.

Work crews did meet the in-water work window which only lasts from October to February in Coos Bay, so that in-water work doesn’t disrupt certain habitats.

“We had no choice, we had to construct this project this time of year. Lots of people have wondered what we’re doing out there right now, with bad weather, and school in session. We really had no choice, we had to be out there because our environment permits required us to be at that time of year,” Wirsing said.

Underneath the new bridge, all the utilities the project meant to replace have been installed including an eight-inch force main, an eight-inch gravity sewer, and an eight-inch water main.

Pipe supporters were installed under the bridge to transfer the load of the pipes to the supporting structure. The load includes the weight of the pipe, the content that the pipe carries, all the pipe fittings attached to pipe, and the pipe covering.

The service life of the new infrastructure under the bridge is 80 years, and depending on how it ages possibly more.

One of the reasons construction has taken as long as it has is tidal influence.

“Working in water ways is sometimes tidally influenced, so we can’t work your normal hours. When you’re working in water you kind of have to work around the tides. That was a challenge but our contractor worked right through it,” Wirsing said.

The project began as a scheduled preventative replacement of an old 1920s era wooden box culvert that was well past its service life. During the project’s design it was determined that the culvert couldn’t simply be replaced and a bridge needed to be built.

“Because of this project we have a water quality measure that has been designed to capture the runoff from the bridge and naturally treat it before it’s discharged into the bay,” Wirsing said.

The runoff treatment design is what’s known as a bio-swale, which is an area on the south end of the bridge on the bay side where runoff is captured and treated. Water runs through vegetation and soil that filters out contaminants from the road before releasing the water into the bay.

“It removes the brake dust and the sediment and metals that are associated with roads,” Wirsing said.

The last step of the project is to install the water quality bio-swale and pave the project area.

During bridge construction traffic has been detoured through an adjacent neighborhood. The detour leads up H Street to Ninth Avenue, then from Ninth Aveneue to F Street, and from F Street back down to Sixth Avenue.

“Those are residential roads that were never meant for this heavy traffic, and as a result they’ve taken a beating,” Wirsing said.

Last week the city had to go in and fix some potholes that had formed as a result of the project on the corner of H Street and Ninth Avenue.

“We went in there and fixed it. It is the plan to go in there and once the bridge is done do some more repairs. It’s an inconvenience, but the residents and the businesses have been great,” Wirsing said.

If the weather permits the new Eastside bridge will be complete by the end of March.

Vintage theater copes with ropes

The terrace fell on a Wednesday in August.

Paul Quarino knows it was a Wednesday, because the Egyptian Theatre had been open for Farmers Market. A visiting couple asked to see the Wurlitzer organ, and Quarino, the theater’s organist, took the pair backstage for a personal tour.

Eager to display the Egyptian’s historic charms, he began lowering part of a hand-painted backdrop – one depicting a Mediterranean terrace and forest scene. That was when a decades-old hemp rope snapped.

Quarino remembers thinking, “That thing is coming down, and I don’t have control of it.”

Quarino insists the next few moments were not dramatic, though they sound dramatic enough. When the rope gave way, so did a wooden support known as a batten. The heavy canvas mural, now hanging by a single rope, “slithered” to the floor.

No one was hurt, but the ancient hemp could be trusted no longer. The Egyptian’s famed backdrops would be out of commission until further notice.

A year and a half later, Quarino and other members of the Egyptian’s board are looking forward to putting those historic scenes in the public eye once again. A $5,000 grant from the Coquille Tribal Community Fund provides key funding for a project to rejuvenate the theater’s overhead rigging.

“The Egyptian Theatre Preservation Association is keeping a piece of history alive, and we are thrilled to help with that,” said Tribal member Jackie Chambers, who coordinates the Tribal Fund. “I remember going to the theater as a little kid. I was always in awe. When I take my children there, they have that same look on their faces that I did when I was their age.”

Most of the Egyptian’s backdrops date to 1925, when they were painted in Portland and shipped to what was then Marshfield. Along with the terrace scene, they show a Nile River scene, a temple and a forest. A fifth backdrop, depicting Mount Hood, is newer.

Kara Long, the theater’s executive director, calls the canvases iconic.

“Nobody in the world has these backdrops,” she said. “Nobody. They’re in original shape, too. They’re gorgeous.”

Restoring the backdrops to working order means replacing the old hemp ropes with durable nylon. Safety-rated materials will replace some dubious hardware. Steel cables of unknown vintage will make their exit as well.

The labor will be donated. An Egyptian board member, formally trained in technical theater, will lead a gang of volunteers. Long estimates the job will take three months.

The Egyptian grant is one of the Coquille Tribal Community Fund’s three historic preservation grants this year, totaling $10,250. The Tribe announced the three grants today, along with 16 education grants totaling $85,828.

The Tribe is announcing a total of 57 grants this week in six categories: arts and culture, education, environment, historic preservation, health, and public safety. This year’s $291,000 in grants raises the fund’s total to more than $6.1 million since 2001, all supported by revenue from The Mill Casino.

Once the backdrops are in place, Long and her board have a busy agenda of additional improvements. They plan to level the sagging stage and rewire the sound system. They also want to relocate the mechanical controls to an overhead platform, freeing the stage’s “wings” for performers to come and go safely.

Fundraising for restoration is ongoing.


Coos Bay’s Egyptian Theater Preservation Association is always looking for grants, private donations and volunteers. Contact Executive Director Kara Long at


Supported by proceeds from The Mill Casino in North Bend, the Coquille Tribal Community Fund distributes grants each year to nonprofit organizations and public agencies. The Egyptian Theatre is receiving one of this year’s three historic preservation grants, totaling $10,250. Also announced today were 16 education grants, totaling $85,828.

In all, 57 organizations are receiving $291,164. Watch for additional grant announcements throughout this week. Learn more at

Njohnson / NICHOLAS A. JOHNSON The World 

Construction crews replace a decades-old wooden culvert in the storm drain system along Sixth Avenue on Jan. 9 in Eastside.

Oregon appeals court overturns drunken driving conviction

PORTLAND (AP) — The Oregon Court of Appeals has overturned the conviction in Coos County of a man whose blood alcohol content tested just above the legal limit.

The court said last week that it was possible John Charles Hedgpeth was still legally sober when he was stopped on his motorcycle nearly four years ago by a state trooper, The Oregonian /OregonLive reported.

The judges said an hour and 45 minutes passed from when he was detained to when he was tested, and it was possible his blood alcohol level had risen during that time. It also was possible his blood alcohol level was higher when he was detained, but there wasn't enough evidence to prove which theory was true, they said.

A breath test administered at a police station in 2014 registered a blood alcohol level of 0.09 percent, just over the legal limit of 0.08 percent. Hedgpeth was convicted of driving under the influence of intoxicants.

Handheld devices that measure alcohol content by the side of the road are an option in some states, but Oregon's Legislature hasn't approved those devices for police use.

Hedgpeth's attorney, Paul Burgett, said the nearest breath-test device in some rural parts of the state could be a considerable drive away.

Oregon prosecutors can also try to prove someone was driving under the influence of intoxicants without a positive blood alcohol test by showing that a police officer observed the defendant swerving or had failed sobriety tests. In Hedgpeth's case, the trooper pulled him over because he wasn't wearing a helmet, not for bad driving.

Two of the 13 appeals court judges, Steven Powers and Joel DeVore, dissented with the majority opinion.

Supreme Court rejects administration appeal over immigration

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court is rejecting the Trump administration's highly unusual bid to get the justices to intervene in the controversy over protections for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants.

The justices on Monday refused to take up the administration's appeal of a lower court order that requires the administration to continue accepting renewal applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. What made the appeal unusual is that the administration sought to bypass the federal appeals court in San Francisco and go directly to the Supreme Court.

In a brief unsigned comment, the justices they assume "the court of appeals will proceed expeditiously to decide this case."

A judge in New York also has ruled in favor of immigrants challenging the end of DACA, and that case is expected to proceed to the federal appeals court in New York.

President Donald Trump had set March 5 as the end date for the DACA program. The court order says applications must be accepted indefinitely. DACA has provided protection from deportation and work permits for about 800,000 young people, many who were brought to the U.S. illegally.

It's unclear how the court's action Monday will affect efforts in Congress to come up with a legislative fix. The Senate recently failed to pass an immigration bill.

The Supreme Court rarely hears a case before a lower appeals court has considered it. The fight over whether President Richard Nixon had to turn over the Watergate tapes is one such example.