The Port Of Port Orford
The first dock was built in 1854 to help supply the fort, the people and the lumber mills. The dock was large enough to allow ships and barges to come alongside. Constructed in a deep-water cove, it was protected by the headlands (commonly called "the Heads") from north winds. By 1856, steamers regularly touch in every fortnight. In 1890, the people of Port Orford were hopeful the government would build a breakwater to protect the dock from strong Winter storms. On November 28 of that year, the Gold Beach Gazette reported: "Port Orford harbor is now one of the best on the Pacific Coast for about nine months of the year, and that with the proposed improvement, or even a part of it, it will be one of the finest deep water harbors in the world. The largest ship that floats can lay and load at Port Orford as it is, at all times except during a southerly gale, and at such times, all the bar harbors on the coast are shut off with heavy seas."
This was not to be, and much damage to both the dock and vessels continued to occur during strong southerly storms. "When the southerly winds blow up a gale - there's the devil to pay and the bail boys bail" - (Commander Odel Flake Sr.- Port Orford Lifeboat Station)
A remedy to this problem was ushered in when in 1935, instead of pulling the boats up on the beach, boats were hoisted by a crane to and from the water. In 1997 a bond was passed - the old wooden dock was replaced with a filled-paved dock and two new cranes were put into operation. The small crane lifts up to 30,000 pounds - the larger crane is capable of lifting 50,000 pounds. These tall cranes lift and lower fishing boats twnety-five to thity feet depending on the tide. Watching this procedure is a unique and fasinating was to pass time while waiting to purchase fresh fish or crab from the dock. Like many port towns, Port Orford has lost loved ones to the sea. In 1968, the Fishermen's Wives Association established a memorial on the hillside overlooking the dock. It is a wonderful place to sit - peacefully relax - and connect with the sea." (text courtesy of Footnotes and Footprints Calendar)
I've recently created and then uploaded two Port Orford-related videos to YouTube to help raise the visibility of our sleepy Community. They are my first efforts and brief with lots of action shots! I hope you'll like them: (3min 11sec) Port of Port Orford Oregon - Recreational and Commercial Fishing for over a Century and made on the beach below us, (1min 25sec) Port Orford Oregon Battle Rock Beach Surfers
by Evan Kramer - Port Orford Today
In 2006 the Port of Port Orford reported that 27 boats went crabbing out of our port. With a captain and almost 1.6 deckhands for each boat, 70 fishermen were kept busy. The 2003-04 Oregon Dungeness Crab season was the best one on record with 23,756,075 pounds of crab landed. Port Orford's total crab landings were the fifth highest for an Oregon port at 1,465,630 pounds. The highest total in the state was the Port of Charleston at 6,264,463 pounds followed by the Port of Astoria with 5,525,276 pounds, Newport at 4,953,939 pounds and the Port of Brookings with 3,827,190 pounds. Nick Furman, Director of the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission, said he couldn't guess on whether this year would be as good as last year's record harvest but he said the ocean conditions were good including the ocean upwelling. He also noted the good weather that fishermen had to "pre-soak" their crab pots. The opening price fish buyers will pay for crab is $1.50 a pound. This avoids a strike, which has happened in past years...
According to the ODF&W, "The Dungeness crab fishery is the most valuable single-species fishery in Oregon. Annual landings in Oregon are in the neighborhood of 10 million to 23 million pounds - about one fourth of the total catch from northern California to Alaska." Port of Port Orford manager Gary Anderson said the Dungeness crab fishery brought in $2,943,438 for the 2003-04 season. The Port collects a 1% poundage fee from the fish buyers and last year collected nearly $30,000 in fees for the crab season. This money helps keep the Port operating... (complete article: 12.02.04 Port Orford Today)
"Fishermen have been selling their ocean harvests to commercial buyers at the Port Orford dock for over a century. The business goes on as usual today. The dock is home to about four dozen vessels. Most belong to working fishermen who provide a livelihood for themselves and their families. It's estimated that there are somewhere around 40 'fishing families' in the community." (Port of Port Orford website)
"In the old days, when a storm would wash out the dock in this little vest-pocket harbor on the southern Oregon Coast, the fishermen would just rebuild it and keep fishing, said 70-year-old fisherman Bill Cobb.
So when the Pacific Fishery Management Council adopted tough new regulations putting most of the Continental Shelf off limits to bottom fishing, Cobb was not surprised to hear the reaction of his son, Darrell. "Some of us are going to make it, and some of us are going to stand down," said Darrell Cobb. "I'm going to keep fishing."
Just like buffalo hunting, logging and salmon fishing before it, the seemingly limitless harvests of groundfish have hit the wall on the West Coast, said Hans Radke, a fisheries economist and chairman of the Pacific Fishery Management Council.
Pacific Coast Scenic Byway
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Updated: October 15, 2011