Fate of Historic Umpqua River Lens Uncertain

     In March 2009, the U.S. Coast Guard conducted a Waterways Analysis Management System Review (WAMS) to ask mariners if the Umpqua River Lighthouse was used as a primary Aid To Navigation (ATON).. 
     Results of that report indicated that 68 surveys were returned.  Of those, 57% said turning off the lighthouse would significantly impact safe navigation.  27% said it would cause no significant impact, and 13% of responses were inconclusive.
     Of the 57% who did indicate a significant impact, 20% said they use the light as a primary aid to navigation, while 79% said the light backs up electronic navigation.
    The U.S. Coast Guard established that 80% of respondents do not use the Umpqua River Lighthouse as a primary Aid To Navigtion.

    In April 2010, the U.S. Coast Guard again conducted a WAMS survey, this time to ask mariners about all aids to navigation on the Umpqua River, including the lighthouse.
    We are awaiting the results of that survey when a final report from 13th District U.S. Coast Guard is issued in July, however the Friends of Umpqua River Lighthouse fear that the historic First Order Fresnel Lens of our beloved Umpqua River Light may be dismantled and a more modern optic put in its place. 
    Such action of course would have a devastating impact to the cultural heritage of the community, as well as a severe impact on tourism.  
    To raise consciousness about the sentinel that has protected our shores for years, the Friends group intends to continue to try to forge partnerships with the Coast Guard for the continued maintenance and preservation of the Umpqua River Lighthouse.

Future of Umpqua River Lighthouse lens unclear

The future of the Umpqua River Lighthouse at Winchester Bay is being debated as the U.S. Coast Guard decides whether the light should continue to shine.
JOHN SOWELL/The News-Review -- Sunday, June 13, 2010  

You can read the full story at:  http://www.nrtoday.com/article/2010100619913

John Sowell's article was picked up by the Associated Press Wire Services and ran with many newspapers statewide, USA Today, and feature stories were run on regional television affiliates.

TELEVISON STORY .... Wednesday, June 16 - KCBY TV, Coos Bay, Oregon

WINCHESTER BAY, ORE - Should it stay or should it go? The once bright future of the historic lens in the Umpqua River Lighthouse is a little murkier these days, as the Coast Guard weighs its options.

By Tim Novotny  

In this Douglas County Museum photo, 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.

TELEVISON STORY Thursday, June 24, 2010 -- KEZI TV, Eugene, Oregon

WINCHESTER BAY, Ore. -- Since 1894, the Umpqua River Lighthouse has been a steady and welcome beacon for anyone navigating the Oregon Coast, but now the Coast Guard is debating whether to keep the light shining.

by Sharon Ko

** For those with astute viewing, you will note in this picture that the curtain is closed around the lens, as the Coast Guard was conducting routine maintenance when a mishap occured with the carriage rollers.  Two adripene rollers were replaced on Friday, June 25th and by approximately 3:30pm, the Light was restored and shining again.  We certainly appreciate the immediate response from the US Coast Guard to get the light repaired so promptly!  Now, the Friends of Umpqua River Light are hoping that it will continue to light the way to Winchester Bay.

Wanted:  Lighthouse Memorabilia ~ The Umpqua Post

The Umpqua Post, our local newspaper, ran a story about the uncertainity of our historic lens, and also about our 116th Birthday Celebration & Symposium coming up Sept. 24 & 25, 2010, with announcments about our Photography Contest and Call for Memorabilia.

This lovely old postcard was from the late 1930's, and we are hoping for other artifacts, memorabilia, news clippings, etc.,  to be donated to our Musuem acquistions, or even on temporary loan that weekend in a secure setting in our Museum.   If you have something you would consider donating or loaning to us, please use the "contact us" link on this site. 

Editorial: Light Should Continue to Shine Through Historic Lens
To view Roseburg, Oregon 'News Review' Editorial (July 8, 2010), go to:

Can the Umpqua River Light lens be allowed to stay?

Coast Guard weighs costs; fans await decision.
Alex Powers - The Umpqua Post, July 14, 2010


A Light Burns for Beacon

Lighthouse Buffs will press for lens to stay
Winston Ross - the Eugene Register Guard - Sept, 8, 2010

Rich Past - Dark Future?

Historic Beacon marks 116th year amid worry about its fate
Alice Campbell - The World Newspaper, Sept. 27, 2010

Coast Guard: Umpqua Lighthouse Not Required

Coast Guard determines Umpqua River Lightouse no longer serves as primary navigational tool.
Alice Campbell - The World Newspaper, Sept. 29, 2010