Oregon Coast

After years on the road with my husband, Chan, a power lineman, I thought I’d seen it all: tornadoes, floods, freak fall blizzards. After a few winters on the Oregon Coast, torrential rain and 65 mph winds scarcely merited note.

Then came the storm season of 2006.

The first storm blew ashore in early November. It wasn’t predicted to be remarkable so much as wet with gusts up to 65 mph on the headlands and seas up to 20 feet. I holed up in my home office and kept an eye out for anything newsworthy to send to my editor at The Oregonian in Portland, but hours into the day, it was just another winter storm. Then came word that twelve miles north, an oceanfront house was poised to pitch itself onto the rocks fifty feet below. I raced up Highway 101, turned west on a side street and, at land’s end, found a parade of people shuttling furniture and boxes from an open garage into a U-Haul truck. I tucked my notebook down the front of my jeans and stepped into the onslaught. A man, his face cinched tight inside a yellow hood, yelled at me to go inside, and there I found the homeowner, Lynn, directing the last of the packing, apparently unfazed by the wet stranger in her living room. We introduced ourselves, and she led me upstairs where I could more fully appreciate the nightmare that had become her life.

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