Oh, those small communities

The Oregon Coast is a special place. Last week I made my annual trip over that way with a group of friends. As always, I came back with a few new good memories and perspectives.

One thing that always fascinates me over there are the local people, the year-'rounders. You talk about a small-town feel – it's that, in spades. For some reason, I always sense a little bit of danger, that city folk from Portland had better watch their step. Spend your money, and mind your own business. You could make a good scary movie about turistas who didn't heed that advice.

My perception is reinforced by two news stories this week about the law enforcement boys over that way. You've got the police chief in Tillamook on mystery leave while a scandal surfaces regarding missing and tampered-with evidence in drug cases. 

In May, OSP conducted an audit of the Tillamook Police Department evidence storage and found missing or apparently tampered evidence in 83 cases going back to 2006.

District Attorney Aubrey Olson told KOIN 6 she is in the process of analyzing each case and determining the appropriate course of action. She has already dismissed two cases and even vacated four convictions of people in jail or prison....

The missing evidence relates to illegal drugs in 64 cases. Olson said has yet to find who is responsible, but she is “a little terrified to find out.”

Then there's the Central Oregon Coast fire chief who allegedly showed up at the scene of a wreck in which his wife was involved and "took command of the scene," nearly getting into a brawl with the injured motorcyclist whom she allegedly cut off. "Respect mah authoritah!" A fire captain from nearby Seal Rock, who responded only to have the chief tell him to leave the scene, called the whole episode "crazy."

“[Chief] Mason got close enough to Derby that their chests were touching,” Munger’s report reads. “It appeared to me as though a physical altercation between the men was imminent. Derby yelled that Mason should not be involved in the incident and that Mason was attempting to cover up the fact that it was Mason’s wife who had caused the collision. He hurled insults at Mason and used expletives. Mason responded in kind, also cursing. Mason yelled to Derby to calm down. Mason said: ‘You were going too fast. If you had slowed down, this wouldn’t have happened!’ Derby replied: ‘How … would you know? You weren’t even here! You’re taking her side because she’s your wife!’”

Like I say, there's a movie waiting to be made out there. But do me a favor, film makers, don't tell the locals I sent you.


  1. I like the COCFR board president comment “…we don’t need ANOTHER lawsuit against us.”

  2. Ya, try poking around within the ranks of the Lincoln County Sheriff Office. Follow the money, and follow the family tree.

  3. Every official stacks in relatives and friends. Tha official hiring process is just for show.

  4. I find it interesting that big city folks, who can’t resolve their own local issues, have taken an interest in small town problems. Someone should write a song.


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