Here you will find calls to action -- opportunities to write letters, make calls, or send emails about a land use decision or policy matter, attend a hearing or a rally, or help with an ongoing project or campaign.
Comment on Ocean-facing Roads Issue
On Sept. 22, the Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) will take up the “ocean-facing roads” issue. The goal is to fill a gap in the state’s land use regulations, which fail to allow for protection of roads like Highway 101 which border the ocean and can be threatened by erosion. The purpose is legitimate, and Oregon Shores and other conservation groups don’t oppose the basic framework LCDC is considering. However, the proposal needs stronger safeguards, and doesn’t compensate the public for loss of the public beach to shoreline armoring for roads, so voices from the public are needed to gain LCDC’s attention.
The nature of “mitigation” is the key. Simply minimizing harm won’t suffice. When riprap or other barriers is installed along the shore, a portion of the public beach is lost. Mitigation must include reduction of adverse effects of the proposed armoring through compensating for the effect by creating, restoring, enhancing, or preserving beach habitat, beach access to and along the ocean shore, or both, and within the same general vicinity of the proposed riprap. This is the key provision that members of the public should demand be included in the new regulations.
What is under consideration is an amendment to statewide planning Goal 2 “reasons exception” rule, OAR 660-004-0022, to justify a narrow exception under Goal 18 (which protects beaches ad dunes) to allow for the protection of ocean-fronting, public roads through the use of shoreline armoring. The proposed amendment was developed by Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) staff in collaboration with a Rules Advisory Committee (RAC), which met between October, 2021 and August, 2022.
Oregon’s Goal 18, Implementation Requirement 5 typically prohibits the use of hardened armoring (such as seawalls and riprap) for properties developed after January 1, 1977 because of the harm it causes to beach ecosystems and public access to the shore. Current regulations don’t have a provision that would make public roads and other public transportation assets eligible for hardened armoring to address coastal erosion hazards. This was simply an oversight when the regulations were originally created.
As proposed, a specific “reason” will be added to OAR 660-004-0022 for Goal 18 to include “public highways and roads” that were developed as of January 1, 1977 as eligible for shoreline armoring. A public body seeking to use this exception must demonstrate a “significant public benefit”; show there are no reasonable alternatives to the proposed armoring that would better protect public rights; reduce or eliminate the detrimental effects on the ocean shore, or avoid long-term costs to the public; and avoid or mitigate long-term and recurring costs to the public.
While Oregon Shores is not opposed to protection for Highway 101 and other existing public roads at risk, we must ensure that any proposed exception to Goal 18’s prohibition on the use of hardened armoring does not open the door to more development in areas prone to coastal erosion, and mandates a robust consideration and analysis of alternatives. Oregon Shores is encouraged to see that the draft rule language developed by DLCD Staff and the RAC appears to require a strong alternatives analysis, and sets forth clear mitigation requirements for harmful impacts to beach habitats and beach access. Oregon Shores’ testimony will strongly urge LCDC to make clear that this language is mandatory, and not discretionary. Oregon Shores will also encourage LCDC to make clear avoidance is preferable to mitigation of impacts. To be effective, mitigation should include “like for like” habitat standards and recreational requirements, and fully compensate the public for loss of habitat and access.
More information about the RAC process and a draft of the proposed rules, and how to comment is available on DLCD’s website at: https://www.oregon.gov/lcd/LAR/Pages/OFPRP.aspx.
Written comments will be accepted until September 22, and may be submitted via email to Casaria Taylor, Rules, Records, & Policy Coordinator, at [email protected]
It is anticipated that LCDC will hear and adopt the rule at their September 22, 2022 meeting. Find additional details about this meeting here: https://www.oregon.gov/lcd/Commission/Pages/Meetings.aspx.
Sign a Petition to Protect Watersheds
North Coast Communities for Watershed Protection is seeking support for their petition “Stop Clearcutting, Slash Burns, and Pesticide Sprays Near Drinking Water Sources on the Oregon Coast.”
“The aim of this petition is to garner support and spread awareness because many people throughout Oregon and around the nation are unaware of the impacts of current industrial forestry practices in Oregon. Oregon has a reputation for being green and having healthy, pristine forests and watersheds. Sadly, this is no longer the truth, by a long shot. We want the eyes of our local communities, as well as the eyes of the world, to turn towards our forests and their watersheds. We aim to gather 10,000 signatures or more, and we will present the petition to local and state elected officials, timber corporations, and relevant agencies.
“We see this petition as a stepping stone toward a potential future ballot measure effort. This time around, anyone from anywhere can sign the petition, as this one will not be used toward a ballot measure, but rather as an awareness campaign to turn on the pressure and begin to create the needed sea change.”
Sign and share this petition to spread awareness of the need to protect Oregon forests and drinking watersheds.
Help Preserve Access at Lighthouse Beach
Public access has been threatened to Lighthouse Beach, a popular and well-loved stretch of shoreline near Charleston in Coos County. We stand with our colleagues in the Surfrider Foundation in working to restore the public’s long-standing access, which has now been blocked. We ask all those concerned with public access to help by contributing to the legal effort that Surfrider is heading up.
Members of the public have used a footpath off Lighthouse Way to reach this special beach for generations, but current landowners have now fenced it off. Surfrider members, Oregon Shores members (including two of our board members!) and members of the public need this pathway (the only viable means of getting to the beach here) to reach the shore not only for surfing and other recreation, but also as stewards of the beach and community.
We’re working with Surfrider’s legal team, which is currently investigating the historical public use and access at Lighthouse Beach and exploring all appropriate solutions. They need our support to continue this work. Donations to this campaign will support the effort to restore access to Lighthouse Beach, including helping to fund attorneys' fees incurred by retaining outside expert counsel. Any excess funds will be used for stewardship at Lighthouse Beach.
To contribute or to learn more, go to https://oregonshores.org/lighthouse-beach-legal-fund.
Join a Citizen Scientist Project
Oregon coast citizen science projects are both seasonal and year-round. Some take place in the dunes and others in the rocky habitats or on the sandy beach. All projects consist of monitoring and surveying, and contribute information that teaches us about the health of our sea, beaches, waters and shores. Through CoastWatch, volunteers are encouraged to work with our conservation partners including local non-profits and researchers at colleges such as the University of Washington, University of Oregon, University of California and Oregon State University to monitor and survey plants and wildlife on the Oregon coast. To learn more about these opportunities, visit our Citizen Science Projects page.
Adopt a Mile of the Coast
One way to take action now, for those who are not already CoastWatchers, is to adopt a CoastWatch mile. It is our goal to attain coverage of every mile of the Oregon coast through CoastWatch on a regular basis. You can help us reach this goal by adopting a mile that is not receiving regular coverage.
Ditch Single-Use Plastic Straws
Plastic straws are among the most common items found at Portland Chapter Surfrider cleanups – both on the Oregon coast and in Portland! They are also one of the most common items found elsewhere in the country. They not biodegradable, which means that every plastic straw created is still around in some form. Plastic has a huge impact on our ecosystems, wildlife and people, and it is the chapter’s goal to reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in the environment.
In August 2017, the Portland Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation launched the DitchTheStrawPDX program in the Portland-Metro area. The mission of the program is to assist businesses in reducing the number of plastic straws used by their customers. The chapter provides support to these businesses who agree to go straw free for an entire month as a pilot program demonstrating that paper straws are a sustainable, cost-effective alternative.
Are You a Business Interested in Participating? Join their movement to reduce plastic straw pollution by piloting a straw-on-request program for one month. Eliminate plastic straws by only providing paper straws upon request. Click Here & Help Be Part of the Solution.
Are you an individual who wants to participate? Next time you’re out, simply ask for no straw, post a photo and tag (@SurfriderPortland) and #DitchTheStrawPDX on social media! They need your help to spread the word and the message. Interested in supporting this program as a volunteer? Contact [email protected].