The reasons people come to live on the Southern Oregon Coast are many, as are the reasons that keep them here.
Even those who have suffered recent paycuts and layoffs at work do what they can to stay here. They work multiple part-time jobs, cut expenses where they can, move in with the in-laws. (Okay, maybe not that extreme.)
What is it about this place that keep people here, and what attracted them in the first place?
I posed that question on the Pilot’s Facebook page. The responses were intriguing. Here are a few:
“I moved here in 2010 for my job. The opportunity to work in such an outstanding place, with so many great vistas and natural treasures, has made my job all the more enjoyable,” said Jeremy Belleque, who graduated from Powers High School and now works an a forest officer at Coos Forest Protective Association. “Can’t say that I miss anything about the other places I’ve been because of how much I enjoy this area.”
Joyce Tromblee, originally from Berkley, Mich., said, “I moved here to retire in 1993 for the beauty and tranquility of the area and beaches. Every time I leave for a trip I can’t wait to get back.”
Some folks, such as Jewel Lee Rice, regret leaving the area.
“I don’t live in Brookings right now but lived there from 1990-1994. My stepfather got a job at the prison in 1990 and we moved from central California to Brookings. Loved everything about the place! Sure miss it all, especially the community and friends. After I graduated from high school, I moved to Southern California. I have been trying to move back since then. Hopefully, within the next 5 or so years, it will come true.”
Karen Rossman Clark: “We moved here because my husband was born to fish! He loved the working port and lack of strip mall mentality of some coastal communities. We came here in 1999. They will carry us out in a box when we leave because we love the weather, the gardening, the people and the fishing! Some of our family has since purchased property here after they caught the ‘Brookings Bug.’”
Some of those born here and moved away can’t resist the urge to come home.
Jason and Sue posted, “I was born here 46-plus years ago and my dad was born here nearly 70 years ago. (He was born in the building on Chetco Avenue that has the chiropractic practice now. That was their home.) After I went to college, I came back home.”
Gwen Smith said, “We moved here for several reason, the main one was because of friendly, caring people, and I was not proved wrong once. I have met some of the greatest people I have ever known. ... Yes its hard to live here economically but if I left I would lose these wonderfully warm and great friends I have made here. ... Medical services are harder here so we go out of town for medical but otherwise the coast of Oregon is the greatest and most patriotic, Christian caring people in America.”
Danielle Ullom had this to say: “My parents moved to the Oregon Coast shortly after I was born. As a young adult (26) with a family of my own, I decided to stay in Curry County and raise my children here. My daughter is in kindergarten and my son is 9 weeks old. I love this place. I had a great upbringing in this county, and would like the same for my children.”
Longtime resident, businessman and Port Commissioner Jim Relaford had this to say:
“Carol and I moved here 20 years ago. We had lived in Portland for many years where I had a IT consulting practice and Carol was a registered nurse. As we were not retiring and needed to make a living moving here was a great adventure. We had lived in the city all of our lives and were moving to a 10-acre farm on Cape Ferrelo and a city of 5,000 people. We had visited several times and, as an avid flyfisherman, I was most interested in being able to fish my favorite rivers, the Elk, Rogue and Chetco as well as the North Umpqua. We didn’t really have jobs or clients. We just figured that we wanted to live near the ocean and in a rural environment and be near my rivers, and we would figure out something to do for a living.
“So after many scary talks with family and friends we just took the jump. It was 17 degrees and a cold wind blowing the day we left Portland and 65 degrees on our new front porch, confirming our good decision. It is strange how things turn out. A lifelong sailor I was immediately intrigued with the ocean and particularly sailing on the ocean. So much so that I haven’t fished the rivers but once in the 20 years we have lived here. So the reason we thought we moved here for turned out not to be the reason at all. It was the ocean and being able to live and work within a stone’s throw of the ocean. The great people who live here have been a bonus. I still have the flyrods and fully intend to get back to the rivers someday.”
In the next column, I will turn the tables and ask people what they dislike about the Southern Oregon Coast and, if they have moved away, why? Email your comments using the email below.