Better coastal air quality brings visitors from the valley

The smoky air quality in Portland brought a number of people to Cannon Beach the past few weekends as they sought an escape to cleaner air.

Hannah Buschert, co-manager of the Sea Breeze Court, told The Gazette they have been pretty full.

“A lot of the (guests) have come from Portland to Cannon Beach because the smoke is worse in Portland,” Buschert said. “The air in Cannon Beach has been nice and we’ve had pretty good weather.”

She said Cannon Beach does not have its own air quality meters, so when people check the air quality in Cannon Beach before deciding to visit, they are actually seeing the air quality at the meter in Warrenton, which causes confusion. “People are thinking it’s a lot smokier here than it really is,” she said.

Holly Lorincz-MacGregor, co-owner of MacGregor’s Restaurant & Bar, when asked about last weekend said: “Maybe half of our customers were trying to escape smoky conditions. We were kind of surprised there weren’t more people out and about, especially since the hotels were full.

“We were very busy Saturday but Sunday was slower than usual. I’m not sure if it was because it was the weekend after a big holiday and parents were getting their kids set up for at-home schooling, or if it was due to the smoggy conditions and people choosing to stay indoors. Honestly, this summer has been so bizarre, it’s been difficult to gauge what’s going to happen from day-to-day. We did have a number of day-trippers in the bar on Sunday, though, grabbing a quick drink before heading back to the hell that is the Portland area.”

Greg Swedenborg, owner of The Waves Cannon Beach, said in an email last week: “It has been a revolving door but we have been busy either way.  On Labor Day around 9PM the big winds hit and we lost power until around 1:30PM on Tuesday.  We were full at the time (60 units) and had about 20 cancel arrivals or leave early due to the power outage and smoke. Within 5 hours all 20 were filled and rebooked from folks fleeing areas with worse smoke or evacuation orders.  We have three families staying with us that had to evacuate from their homes in Clackamas County and many just getting out of the metro areas where it is worse than here.   Since then we have averaged about the same amount of cancellations and rebooking per day.  It will settle down once the fires are out but until then I think there is a large enough population worse off where they are than in Cannon Beach so we will have guests who would rather be here than where they call home for the time.”


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