WARRENTON — Clatsop County, in partnership with the U.S. Navy, Oregon Military Department and other agencies, is co-sponsoring a unique emergency response demonstration.
The Navy performed related exercises in Pacific County in August 2017 and in Newport in July 2017.
On Monday, June 3, the Navy will stage an amphibious ship loaded with supplies off the Oregon coast. The ship will launch a Landing Craft, air Cushion (LCAC) to Sunset Beach south of Warrenton.
The LCAC will land on the beach and transfer supplies to local agencies, demonstrating how crucial supplies and equipment can be delivered to the North Coast in the wake of a major natural disaster such as a Cascadia earthquake and tsunami.
The LCAC’s first beach landing will be at 9 a.m. The craft will make two runs to the beach with supplies from the ship.
The LCAC, a unique amphibious craft, uses powerful turbines to ride a cushion of air that enables it to travel across water and far up adjoining beaches while carrying payloads of up to 60 tons. Developed for military operations, they have been put to use following natural disasters such as the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami to deliver badly needed equipment and supplies to regions cut off from other transport.
For the Clatsop County exercise, the LCAC will deliver road equipment and other material.
Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) is a core line of effort for the Navy on the West Coast. This includes planning and training Naval units to ensure they are ready to support any DSCA mission when called upon. A Cascadia Zone earthquake and accompanying tsunami could cause widespread damage to highways, bridges and other transportation infrastructure across the Pacific Northwest coast, complicating rescue and recovery efforts. Recognizing this, Clatsop County Emergency Management and the Navy began DSCA training in the North Coast.
The June 3 event will be open to the public, who will be able to view the LCAC hovercraft up close on the beach following the second landing. Parking is allowed on the beach north and south of the landing site; spectators are urged to park there, as parking on Sunset Beach Lane is extremely limited. Access to and from the beach on Sunset Beach Lane will be restricted when the vessel is landing and departing; beach access points at Del Rey Beach or Fort Stevens State Park are alternative routes on and off the beach.
The LCAC vessel, when in operation, generates extreme noise; spectators may wish to have ear protection on hand.
Camp Rilea and the Oregon Military Department, as well as Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, U.S. Coast Guard, Clatsop County Search and Rescue and Auxiliary Communications, Gearhart Fire Department along with Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) volunteers from throughout the county are assisting with the exercise.