Oregonians flock to cooler, clear coast amid heat wave, fires

CANNON BEACH, Ore. -- Normally on Labor Day weekend, folks travel all over Oregon to relax and enjoy the outdoors.

This time around, a lot of places are covered in smoke thanks to wildfires burning across our state.

But there is at least one destination that's looking like the place to be this holiday weekend: the coast.

“We are really hoping for a lot of people to come through,” said Kristi Gwinner-Germond. She owns Chillin’ at the Beach, a shop in Cannon Beach.

This is a big weekend for towns on the Oregon Coast, many of which depend on tourism. Labor Day weekend is the last hurrah for many businesses this summer.

“We need to end the summer well,” said Gwinner-Germond.

She said she started this summer down about $50,000 because of the bad winter.

“It was the length of the rain, the amount of rain, the trees down, the flooding. Highways closed so it prevented a lot of people from getting over here to visit,” Gwinner-Germond said.

Add to that, less-than-spectacular crowds for the eclipse, and the school year starting before Labor Day.

“It just makes it a little more difficult on us because the crowds deplete,” she said.

Around the corner at Imprint Gallery, which just opened this year, Jane Brumfield said more people in town  would also mean more visibility and exposure for her business.

“Just because of the sheer numbers of people, it's can’t be bad for business,” said Brumfield.

So far, it seems the sheer numbers are looking pretty good.

“We've got 1,100 different spaces for people to rent and we're down to a handful. Literally [there are] six or seven rooms left available. You know it's getting very, very busy,” said Court Carrier, the Executive Director of the Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce.

On Friday, people were already showing up for the extended weekend. Judy Graves, who lives in Portland but also owns a home in Cannon Beach, made it out of Portland just in time.

“It's 100 degrees in Portland and it's the 70s here. So it's the best time to be here and to be enjoying the last fling of summer,” Graves said.

The last fling of summer is something Gwinner-Germond hopes will mean she ends her summer on a high note.

“We hope everyone comes and has a lot of fun,” she said.

It's expected to be nice in Cannon Beach all weekend.

Carrier said a vacation rental company recently ranked Cannon Beach number one in Oregon for Labor Day weekend destinations, and number six in the country.

That means it’s expected to be pretty busy. For folks who are interested in spending the weekend in Cannon Beach, Carrier said call ahead to see if you can catch a cancellation. He said rooms will probably sell out by Friday night.

Then again, there are cities up and down the coastline, where business owners would welcome extra visitors with open arms.

 

© 2017 KGW-TV


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