The Port of Brookings - One Year After the Tsunami

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Sun, March 11 2012 at 7:11 PM, Updated: Sun, March 11 2012 at 7:41 PM

It was an event that forced entire communities to band together, clean up, and face an uncertain future.

One Year After a Disaster

Exactly one year ago, a devastating tsunami hit the west coast following a 9.0 earthquake in Japan. It caused millions of dollars in damage to both the Crescent City harbor in California as well as the Port of Brookings in Oregon.

"It was a terrible thing that happened," said Brookings fisherman, Jeff Cox.

Brookings: Bouncing Back

While Brookings' harbor had extensive damage, it looked a lot different than it did one year ago.

"It's nice to see a working boat basin again," Cox said.

Thinking back, Cox said he remembered the day it happened.

"Once the debris got moving around in here, it got heavier, breaking things."

Even now, debris still sits in the harbor, reminders of an entire port in panic.

Bounder's Crab Shack owner and fisherman, Bill Wood brought his boat out to sea before the waves came in. He said that move saved his boat, but others who stayed in the harbor, weren't so lucky.

"The amount of boats in this harbor was pretty impressive," began Wood. "It sunk boats. (There was) a lot of damage," he said.

Re-building and Looking Ahead

But time passed, and one year later boats are parked in the harbor and new docks have already been built.

"The power is the next step in our process and we're probably going to put that to bed in two weeks," said Dan Hoover, Outside Operations Manager for the Port of Brookings.

Harbor officials said about half of the docks in the harbor still don't have electricity.

Fisherman: "We're an industrious bunch."

Despite the hurdles, for locals, it's business as usual this crab season.

"We're an industrious bunch," said Wood. "That's what we do here," he added.

NBC 5 spoke to fishermen who told us they're feeling fortunate. One year after the tsunami, and they're back on their boats.

"I think everyone that was crabbing (during the tsunami) is still crabbing today," Wood said.

In Brookings, many fishermen and their families are bouncing back, looking forward, and sincerely hoping they never have to see the destruction of another tsunami in their harbor. 

About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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