By BRIAN BULLOCK
The U.S. Coast Guard took another step toward relighting the Port of Brookings Harbor Thursday when it erected a new tower on the north jetty.
A Coast Guard helicopter from Astoria flew in to lift the heavy tower and equipment. It was the second time the aircraft was employed in the construction process.
Last month, the helicopter was used to pour concrete for the foundation on which the tower was placed.
The Coast Guard construction crew will return next week to attach the light atop the tower, said Milton Waite, engineering petty officer.
"Every Thursday we're planting them. Every Tuesday, we're lighting them," Waite said.
Planting the tower on its north jetty didn't go as easily as expected. At first, the Coast Guard was worried about poor visibility because of a thick fog.
Once it decided to proceed, the Coast Guard pilot decided landing at the Port of Brookings Harbor wasn't wise.
Instead of landing in the grassy field adjacent to the Beachfront RV Park and the Chetco River Station, as it did last month, the helicopter diverted to Crescent City for staging.
Concern over tent campers and traffic along Boat Basin Road were reasons the pilot diverted to Crescent City.
The decision slowed but didn't stop the project.
The tower, which Waite, seaman Evan Meyers and Rick Petterson, of the Coast Guard Auxiliary from Astoria, prepared for deployment in the parking lot at the Port of Brookings Harbor, had to be moved south to the Crescent City airport. Once there, the helicopter made a series of trips to the north jetty.
Two trips were to drop off and pick up equipment used to prepare and mount the tower. The third trip deposited the bright green 4,500-pound tower.
The design of the tower is different than the old rigid tower that sits along the lower edge of the north jetty, Waite said.
"This thing is spring loaded," Waite said. "It's designed to pop back up if something hits it and knocks it over."
Waite said if heavy surf pounds the tower, it has the ability to absorb the blows and rebound into a vertical position.
The construction crew is also currently working on a light at Coos Bay.