Oregon’s exploding whale, 50 years later: 10 ways to celebrate the big blast of blubber Updated Nov 12, 2020; Posted Nov 12, 2020 A sperm whale carcass is blown up on the Oregon … The most absurd and gory piece of Oregon history has been commemorated by the residence of Florence, Ore.: An outdoor recreation site along the Siuslaw river is now named Exploding Whale … Bud Pierce Declares His Candidacy, Some Oregon Republicans Are Reluctant to Reveal Their Thanksgiving Dinner Plans. The journalist who covered the story is still talking about it 50 years later. The explosion threw whale flesh over 800 feet (240 metres) away. It’s a whale of a tale. A park in the coastal town of Oregon has been named after the exploding whale incident that took place around 50 years ago. On the 50th anniversary of the “Florence whale explosion” Thursday, a former Oregon TV newsman recalled what it was like to cover the infamous event —… See Wacky Oregon Coast History: Nov. 12 is Happy Exploding Whale Day, New Facts The decade anniversaries have been fervently noted and celebrated, starting with the twentieth back in 1990. On Nov. 9, 1970, a 45-foot sperm whale had washed up on the beach near Florence, but as KATU reporter Paul Linnman noted at the time, it later became "a stinking whale of a problem. " The name w Exploding Whale Memorial Park is now open to the public. Park amenities include a shelter with picnic tables and a nice grassy area to enjoy a picnic on a sunny day. “The humor of the situation suddenly gave way to a run for survival.”, According to the Oregon Historical Society, Paul Linnman said in an on-the-scene news broadcast, Portland TikTok Star Alyssa McKay Is Staying Home and Getting Famous, A Chinese Restaurateur’s Quest to Install a Drive-Thru Window During COVID Crashes Into the City’s Climate Goals, Workers Risking the COVID-19 Outbreak at Amazon’s Troutdale Warehouse Signed a Strict Confidentiality Agreement, Portland Motels Are Surviving With Contracts to Shelter the Houseless Each Night, A Golden Retriever Breeder in Oregon Discovers Everyone Wants a Pandemic Pup, Oregon Governor Imposes Statewide “Freeze” to Curb COVID-19 Spread, Restricting Bars and Restaurants to Takeout Service, Newcomer Mingus Mapps Sweeps Commissioner Chloe Eudaly From Office, Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty Ceded Some Leverage at City Hall With Tactical Electoral Missteps, The 2022 Governor’s Race is Officially Underway: Dr. It’s one of those real-life stories that just sounds too strange to be real. That is the name of the new park that opened in Florence, Oregon, this week, the city’s website says. Yes, There Is Now an Exploding Whale Park in Florence, Oregon Coast. Today, when whale carcasses wash up on Oregon coast beaches, they’re immediately buried. Nov. 12, 1970 is an auspicious day in Oregon history. For the uninitiated: Nearly 50 years ago, a gigantic, dead whale washed up onto a Pacific Northwest shore and really stunk up the joint. Note to readers: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links we may earn a commission. Florence has a new park and it’s named after one of Oregon’s greatest triumphs -- welcome to Exploding Whale Memorial Park. In July 2020 — half a century after the explosion — Florence residents voted to dedicate a park to the incident. Alternately, someone had a dynamite idea. What do you do with the carcass of a 45-foot, 8-ton whale on the beach? Oregon Park Named After Legendary 'Exploding Whale' Incident. Subscribe to OregonLive. According to the Oregon Historical Society, "In addition to the stench and the possibility that the body would burst, local officials were concerned that people curious about the carcass might climb on it and fall in.". So to prevent carcass climbers, and thinking it would be easier to dispose of the sea mammal if it was in smaller pieces, state officials decided to blow it up using dynamite. "The humor of the situation suddenly gave way to a run for survival," KATU reporter Paul Linnman said in an on-the-scene news broadcast. Last year, Florence residents voted from among nine options to name a new park on the Siuslaw River as Exploding Whale Memorial Park. By Tim Binnall. FLORENCE, Ore. – Welcome to the newest park on the Oregon coast – Exploding Whale Memorial Park! In a poll to determine the new park’s name, “Exploding Whale Memorial Park” garnered 439 out of 856 votes. WW NEEDS YOU. What was this incident? In fact, the event became the city’s claim to fame, and Florence in June christened a riverfront park “Exploding Whale Memorial Park” to mark the 50th anniversary. Please support high-quality local journalism. Published 06/15/2020 at 6:24 PM PDT By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff Shannon Gormley is originally from Baltimore, Maryland. It was the people of Florence who picked the name Exploding Whale Memorial Park. The exploding whale is a piece of Oregon lore that just won’t go away. We'll send you a newsletter with what you need to know every week. Exploding Whale Memorial Park. Oregon State, meanwhile, has since implemented a policy to bury carcasses that can’t be easily removed. Exploding Whale Memorial Park is nestled on the banks of the Siuslaw River, and has a nice walking path and put-in access for canoes and kayaks. Whales that wash ashore on Oregon beaches are now buried, but the 1970 event has become a feature of the state's history. A new park in Oregon has been given a rather odd moniker in honor of its home city's rather bizarre claim to fame. More information on the park can be found here. “We asked the community for name suggestions, narrowed those 120-plus names down to nine, and had the community vote on them,” said Florence city project manager Megan Messmer. The Register-Guard wrote of "a 100-foot-high column of sand and whale," and that "chunks of the animal flew in every direction, and spectators began to scream and run for cover when they glimpsed large pieces soaring directly overhead. The most absurd and gory piece of Oregon history has been commemorated by the residents of Florence, Ore.: An outdoor recreation site along the Siuslaw River is now named Exploding Whale Memorial Park. She covers local and non-local music in Portland, and writes for Baltimore City Paper whenever she's visiting her hometown. Thar She Blows (Again)! Clearly, the residents of Florence have a sense of humor and pride about what's been dubbed a "fateful day in 1970 that changed the world forever" by TheExplodingWhale.com, an entire website dedicated to the event. Oregon, of course, would never be the same. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Advance Local. The Oregon Department of Transportation used 20 cases of dynamite to blow it up. This riverfront park provides access to the Siuslaw River in Historic Old Town Florence. Back in November of 1970, officials in the community of Florence were uncertain about how to dispose of the body of a massive sperm whale that had washed ashore and ultimately decided to blow up the creature using dynamite. Though mostly the issue was that due to Oregon beaches being public right of ways, jurisdiction for removing it fell to the Oregon Department of Transportation. Harding would go on to be one of the greatest ice skaters in history, and the pieces of blubber that fell from the sky that day -- not neatly disintegrating but instead raining down in massive chunks on bystanders and vehicles -- would live on in generations of Oregonians’ minds, a memory of the best botched whale removal Oregon had ever seen. Community Rules apply to all content you upload or otherwise submit to this site. The park offers views of the Siuslaw River and Bridge and the sand dunes on the south side of the river, according to the City of Florence’s website. PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — If you’re in Florence, Oregon anytime soon, you might want to stop to visit the Exploding Whale Memorial Park. […] Tue, Dec 01, 2020 LOGIN Subscription Offers ", The blubber bits were so big, one managed to smash a car, and the scattered remains still had to be buried. Nov. 12, 1970 is an auspicious day in Oregon … Registration on or use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement, and Your California Privacy Rights (each updated 1/1/20). (Facebook) A town in Oregon renamed one of its parks after a rotting beached whale carcass town officials exploded 50 years prior. Residents of Florence voted on the name last year, and anointed the park with a new sign yesterday, the Siuslaw News first reported. It is the day Tonya Harding was born in Portland and the day, on the Oregon coast, engineers decided to use dynamite to remove a massive sperm whale carcass from the beach. Tonya Harding and the legend of the exploding whale were both born on this day in Oregon. © 2020 Advance Local Media LLC. The mascot for Exploding Whale Memorial Park is shown in Florence, Ore., in June 2020. according to the City of Florence’s website. "Huge chunks of whale blubber fell everywhere." Recently named the "Exploding Whale Memorial Park," the new park provides views of the Siuslaw River and Bridge as well as the iconic sand dunes on the South side of the river. Two of Oregon's most infamous characters were born on the same day, Nov. 12, 1970. The community also created a mascot for the exploding whale's 50th anniversary: an adorable, totally intact whale named Flo. Or in the words of Linnman: "The remaining chunks were of a size that no respectable seagull would attempt to tackle.". Well, a Florence brewery just debuted their latest brew: Exploding Whale Ale. There, Oregon State Highway Department crews hauled boxes of explosives to the remains of a beached sperm whale with the hope that the ocean and scavengers would clean up the pieces. Subscribe to Oregonian/OregonLive newsletters and podcasts for the latest news and top stories. Portland, OR – On November 12, 1970, KATU reporter Paul Linnman described “a stinking whale of a problem” on the coast near Florence, Oregon. You’ll be pleased as punch to know you can now visit Florence, Oregon’s Exploding Whale Memorial Park. ‘Exploding Whale’ Park Memorializes Blubber Blast 50 Years Later Residents of a coastal Oregon city voted to name a park for a 1970 explosion that rained chunks of rotting whale … It was too big to simply bury and posed a public health risk. Florence, near where the whale -- or as a KATU reporter referred to it at the time “a stinking whale of a problem” -- washed up, is finally honoring this beautiful moment in history with a new park. A beauty spot in Oregon has been named 'Exploding Whale Memorial Park' after the infamous exploding whale incident of 1970, nearly 50 years ago. In a public poll, "Exploding Whale Memorial Park" won a landslide victory over more picturesque names like "Dune View Park" and "Little Tree Park." This Thursday (Nov. 12) marks the golden anniversary of one of the oddest incidents in Oregon history: the explosion of a dead whale in Florence. "Exploding Whale Memorial Park" in Florence, Oregon, is named for the explosive event of Nov. 12, 1970, when local officials blew up a beached and decomposing sperm whale measuring 45 … Exploding Whale Memorial Park in Oregon commemorates a gory 1970 attempt to remove a whale carcass and is now open to the public. Officials were flummoxed — how do you bury an 8-ton titan? The need for strong, independent local journalism is more urgent than ever. A small coastal town in Oregon has named a park after a massive rotting sperm whale that officials were forced to blow up in 1970 — one of the state’s goriest and most peculiar pieces of … The infamous exploding whale story from KATU News, circa 1970. All rights reserved (About Us). PORTLAND NEEDS WILLAMETTE WEEK. (Florence, Oregon) – What is likely Oregon’s most notoriously amusing moment in history turns 50 years old next week: the incident known as “the Exploding Whale.” The central Oregon coast town of Florence has increasingly played along with the joke over the decades, then playing it up, and now it’s a firm part of its tourism appeal. It has bike racks, picnic tables, kayak access and views of the Siuslaw Dunes. Named by residents to memorialize the notorious "exploding whale" incident that took place on the Oregon Coast in the 70s, this beautiful wayside park offers sandy beach and views of the Siuslaw River Bridge. A new park in Oregon has been given a rather odd moniker in honor of its home city's rather bizarre claim to fame. Please support the city we loveby joining Friends of Willamette Week. City of Florence/Facebook The infamous sperm whale was already dead when it … Exploding Whale Memorial Park, in Florence, Oregon. The residents of the town have voted for the park to be renamed after the incident in order to honour the whale that was washed ashore in 1970. Jun 17, 2020. According to KATU, the city sought input from community members through a “Name the Park” contest and “Exploding Whale Memorial Park” was the winner. A widely reported case of an exploding whale occurred in Florence, Oregon, in November 1970, when the Oregon Highway Division (now the Oregon Department of Transportation) blew up a decaying sperm whale with dynamite in an attempt to dispose of its rotting carcass. Florence has a new park and it’s named after one of Oregon’s greatest triumphs -- welcome to Exploding Whale Memorial Park. Florence, Oregon is remembering what happened in 1970. In November 1970, an 8-ton, dead and decaying sperm whale washed up on a Florence beach. 503-221-8052, lacker@oregonian.com, @lizzzyacker. However, the economic downturn caused by COVID-19 continues to makethis a very challenging time. 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