The Tillamook County Board of Commissioners voted during their June 10 meeting to open the Cape Kiwanda parking lot and Hungry Harbor Drive boat launch.
Commission Chair David Yamamoto said closing Tillamook County was the easy part; reopening in Phase 1 and 2 is the hard part. As time goes on, the county is opening more and more.
“We knew we needed to get the recreational dory fleet back on the ocean and so a couple of weeks ago, I think it was, we allowed recreational dory fleet to launch five days a week Monday through Friday,” Yamamoto said. “But under OPRD’s direction, they did not want them parking on the beach; they were instead required to park in the Cape Kiwanda parking lot which created its own set of life health safety issues.”
Effective immediately, Hungry Harbor boat launch is open seven days a week. All dory launching is open seven days a week. The Cape Kiwanda parking lot will also be open to the public seven days a week.
“We’re not closing anything with this order,” Yamamoto said. “We’re opening the beach to the dory fleets seven days a week and we’re opening the Cape Kiwanda parking lot seven days a week, which I think is a great thing.”
All other vehicles other than dories are prohibited from parking on the beach. Commissioner Mary Faith Bell said she received several emails about people who thought the county was closing parking on the beach permanently. The county is simply affirming that Oregon Parks and Recreation Department has closed parking on the beach in their emergency order.
“Even moving forward for the rest of this year, if we open up parking on the beach, we don’t have any way of enforcing it,” said Commissioner Bill Baertlein. “Parks had three staff people; they’re not there anymore.”
Baertlein said the sheriff’s department is also spread thin. The county cannot afford to spend the time it has in Pacific City and has to take into consideration the entire county. He said its time Pacific City becomes an incorporated city.