There is a lovely and flattering article in the September, 2012 issue of Sunset Magazine about Bandon cleverly entitled “The Coast is Clear.” In this article, Mr. Donahue reminds us of Bandon’s being rated the number one surf-and-sand getaway. He describes the South Coast of Oregon as the “real old school Oregon coast,” and Bandon as the “quintessential Oregon beach town,” quiet in its distance from the metropolis of Portland and in contrast to the bustle of towns on the north coast like Seaside with its abundance of games and gift shops.
Bandon, as Donahue writes, is a place where the world slows down, and beauty and wonder are there for the noticing. Beautiful beaches, sea birds, sand stirred by wind, agates and fossils inspire a sense of awe for visitors, and it’s easy to let go of the noise of the rest of life. He writes about Bandon’s rich history and current industry, experiencing first hand what it is like to throw a crab ring into the Coquille River and bring it back out with several crabs clinging to it.
One who has spent much time in Bandon, however, may take issue with a couple of Mr. Donahue’s descriptions.
For example, toward the beginning of the article, he writes, “nothing is happening in Bandon” (italics his). Mr. Donahue has clearly not visited during the 4th of July festivities or during the Cranberry Festival when the streets are flooded with visitors and residents alike. It’s not just the festival times when things are indeed happening. Perhaps Mr. Donahue needed to look a little closer and dig a little deeper into the life of the town before making such a statement. Step into Foley’s Irish Pub during the World Cup soccer tournament, and it’s standing room only. Head to the library on Author Night, and find the Sprague Room packed with people eager to hear a local author speak. Bandon Coffee Café is busy and alive on a daily basis, supplying people on their way to work with coffee for the road and friends looking for a place to socialize. Be treated to Celtic and folk music at the Arcade Tavern or McFarlin’s Bar & Grill a couple nights a month. You may not find the streets crawling with people daily, noisily playing arcade games and eating waffle cones, but that certainly doesn’t mean that nothing is happening.
Mr. Donahue also makes the sweeping statement, “Yes, it is cold in Bandon.” Without question, it does get cold in Bandon. It is Oregon, and every region gets its cold times. However, it does get warm too, and sunny. Bandon is at the north end of the coast’s “banana belt” and can see temperatures in the 60s in mid-winter. Although it can be cold, foggy and rainy at times, our mild climate is often a welcome change from the summer and winter extremes of the Willamette Valley and California.
That being said, it is hard to take issue with the Sunset Magazine article. Who can argue with the author’s statements about the beach feeling alive with its shifting sand, wading sea stacks and looming Face Rock? Who can say they haven’t felt spiritual renewal walking the beaches? Bandon residents and its regular visitors take pride in our little quintessential beach town and hope that others dig a little past the surface to see its vibrancy.