Coast Guard: Umpqua lighthouse not needed

Coast Guard: Umpqua lighthouse not needed
In this undated photo released by the Douglas County Museum, the Umpqua River Lighthouse in Winchester Bay, Ore. is shown. Since 1894, two white beams of light followed by a red one have pierced the darkness from the Umpqua River Lighthouse at Winchester Bay. The U.S. Coast Guard, the owner of the lighthouse, is evaluating whether the light is still needed for navigation. If not, the two-ton first-order lens and its 616 colored and clear glass panels that were cut by hand in Paris could be removed and placed in a museum. (AP Photo/Douglas County Museum)

From the U.S. Coast Guard

The U. S. Coast Guard is releasing a Waterways Analysis and Management System report on the Umpqua River in Oregon which states that the Umpqua River Lighthouse is not required for safe navigation.

This determination opens the door for the U.S. Coast Guard to begin the process to discontinue the Umpqua River Lighthouse as a federal aid to navigation.

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The review included multiple surveys from local waterway users, as well as consultation with commercial towing companies, the Port of Umpqua, and other local entities.  The majority of respondents indicated the Umpqua River Light is a secondary, or backup aid to navigation.

Specific plans for the disposition of the lighthouse will be made at a later time.  There are currently no plans to remove the historic Fresnel lens from the lighthouse.

One possible future action is the transfer of ownership of a lighthouse via the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act (NHLPA) of 2000. 

This process was set up to transfer lighthouses to preservation groups who can preserve historic property. 

During the process, a determination is made as to which interested groups can best manage and preserve the property.  Under NHLPA, the classical lens may be transferred with the lighthouse and used as a private aid to navigation or as a static display.

“The determination of navigational necessity of Umpqua River Light was made only after careful review and consideration," said Rear Admiral Gary T Blore, Commander of the Thirteenth Coast Guard District. "While this lighthouse may no longer be necessary as a primary, federally-maintained aid to navigation, I recognize and am sensitive to the significant community and economic importance of this historical structure to the local community. We are committed to the continued operation of this lighthouse until a transfer strategy is developed, and will ensure public comment is encouraged."