TILLAMOOK, Ore. -- A multi-million dollar project is under way on the Oregon Coast as engineers began using massive boulders to help protect fisherman, commerce and the shoreline.
The boulders are being trucked from Washington to the Tillamook Jetty near Garibaldi to help rebuild the failing structure.
On Tuesday, Senator Ron Wyden and members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers toured the project site. Crews are using a massive crane to meticulously place each 35 to 50 ton boulder at the end of the North jetty.
About 350 feet of the jetty had deteriorated making the channel in and out of Garibaldi Harbor treacherous at times.
Since 1992, 20 people have died near the Tillamook bar. Thirteen perished in 2003 when the Taki-Too charter boat capsized about a 100 feet off the jetty.
Fishermen said the repairs are crucial.
"The more boats that can come in and feel safe crossing our bar ... the more commerce we have... the more people buying bait and taking fishing trips and using our restaurants and motels ... it’s exponential," said Linda Buell with Garibaldi Charters.
Much of the funding for the $16 million project is coming from federal stimulus money. Work on the north jetty should be wrapped up by the end of next month.
Sen. Wyden said the next step is to find money to repair the south jetty which is also deteriorating.