I live in Florence. Driving home through Reedsport Sunday, I recalled it was the 320th anniversary of the estimated 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami that inundated Native American villages from Vancouver, B.C. to California. Such cataclysms, generated by Juan de Fuca plate stresses, occur twice per millennium.

There's a 10% chance Coos Bay will suffer another within 50 years, with the coast dropping perhaps seven feet.

We are products of our experiences. I stopped in Alaska en route to Vietnam, three years after the Prince William Sound earthquake devastated entire coastal towns like Valdez, and Native American villages. That 1964 quake, its epicenter 1,500 miles away, produced tsunamis reaching south to Crescent City where twelve people died of four surges within 140 minutes. Four children drowned camping at Cannon Beach.

A deep ocean tsunami travels about 500 mph.

I lived alongside Cook Inlet, then for my final Alaskan seven years, in Barrow/Utqiagvik. Climate heating was palpable by 1992; I watched thawing bluffs cascading into the iceless Arctic Ocean.

Sea levels are expected to rise by about 10 feet by 2050.

I was one of 600 attendees the Coastal Summit held in Florence in August, organized mainly by Senator Roblan, hoping it would deal with themes of climate disruption and tsunami unpreparedness. The conference was splendid, despite largely avoiding those issues, though a Tillamook oyster farmer described losing his entire annual crop via ocean acidification, he anticipating near-term catastrophe. I believe efforts at bipartisanship, outreaching the soon-to-flee, denialist Republican legislators, enforced near-silence regarding anthropogenic global warming.

I've experienced ocean calamities, serving aboard the Coast Guard's Coos Bay in 1957-1958, a weather station/rescue cutter, doing nerve-wracking duty amidst a major hurricane off North Carolina. The ship, used for Navy target practice, sank to the bottom 58 years ago, this month.

In 1963-1967, I fought terrifying sequoia and coastal redwood fires. Last March I visited Paradise where 86 people died in the 11/18 Camp Fire, some in traffic jams. A friend's Ventura home narrowly missed Thomas Fire incineration, panicked homeowners blocking escape routes. The Lake Fire consumed another buddy's outbuildings.

In Kansas, after enduring endless injection well-induced earthquakes, destroyed roads, bridges, drinking water contamination, and killing of our dogs, I took reckless frackers to court, winning my 2014/15 case.

We are not all boiling frogs. Jordan Cove is Republican death-cult ecocide. We can't let this Coos Bay sink beneath the waves.

Frank Smith


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