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Viewing category: Oregon Islands NWR
August 8, 2014
Coquille Point South Stair to Temporarily Re-open August 8
Coquille Point South Stairway to Re-open Temporarily Following Structural Engineering Report

Bandon, Ore. – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service re-opened the south staircase at Coquille Point today following the advice of a structural engineering firm. The stairway was closed July 23 after an inspection revealed that the stairs had suffered further structural problems as a result of geologic shifting on the point. During the two week closure, the path and second set of stairs on the north end of Coquille Point at the end of 8th street remained open, allowing Coquille Point visitors to access the beach. A thorough inspection on July 31 by a structural engineering firm hired by the USFWS has determined that the staircase can be re-opened for the remainder of the summer unless significant movement is detected.

Visible, weatherproof movement indicators will be installed across all joints on the stairs and monitored for movement on a weekly basis and after any measurable rain event. Movement of any joints more than 1/4" will require permanent closure of the stairs. The stairs must also be closed prior to any "significant" forecasted rain event. On November 1st, the stairs will be closed indefinitely until a more detailed structural and geotechnical investigation is conducted and a long term maintenance or replacement plan is developed.

“The safety of refuge visitors and employees continues to be our top priority,” said Roy Lowe, Project Leader for the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex which manages Coquille Point. “We are very sorry for the inconvenience this closure has created for visitors to Coquille Point. I can assure visitors that we will seek expertise and funding to either repair or replace the stairs so we can continue to give visitors easy access to the beach.”

Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 11:28 AM
July 23, 2014
Coquille Point stairway requires immediate closure
Bandon, Ore. – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has closed the south staircase at Coquille Point due to public safety concerns, effective immediately. After inspection and consultation with engineers, the Service has concluded the stairs have suffered structural problems as a result of geologic shifting on the point. A path and second set of stairs on the north end of Coquille Point at the end of 8th street will remain open, allowing Coquille Point visitors to access the beach.

“The safety of refuge visitors and employees is our top priority. Consequently, a determination from engineers that the stairs have additional structural concerns requires us to close them to ensure the continued safety of everyone visiting Coquille Point” said Roy Lowe, Project Leader for the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex which manages Coquille Point.

The USFWS is obtaining the services of a structural engineering firm to inspect the staircase within the next week and provide the USFWS with an evaluation on whether a temporary fix is possible in order to retain safe use of the stairs through the end of October. The USFWS will also begin evaluating options for a long term fix through repairs or replacement.

“We are very sorry for the inconvenience this will create for visitors to Coquille Point,” said Roy Lowe. “I can assure visitors that we will seek expertise and funding to either repair or replace the stairs and once again give visitors an easy way to access the beach.”

These stairs have provided visitors with access to Bandon Beach and rocky intertidal areas at the base of Elephant Rock since their construction in 1998. Coquille Point is managed as part of Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. It is a spectacular place to observe seabirds and harbor seals. The point overlooks a series of coastal rocks of every shape and size that provide habitat for Common Murre, Tufted Puffin, Western Gull and Brandt's Cormorant as well as Harbor seal and rocky intertidal invertebrates. A paved trail winds over the headland and features new interpretive panels that share stories about the area's wildlife.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 5:38 PM
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