- Associated Press - Sunday, May 10, 2015

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Neon-green signs numbered from 1 to 197 have popped up on the Oregon coast as part of an effort to help visitors identify their location in an emergency.

The signs stretch for more than 360 miles, from the tip of Fort Stevens State Park in the north to Crissey Field State Park at the California state line. Their numbers can be relayed to 911 dispatchers, who can tie the number to a GPS location as well as the closest beach access point.

Many tourists don’t know a specific beach’s name or other reference points, North Lincoln Fire & Rescue Captain Jim Kusz said. The numbers eliminate the confusion.

“A caller to 911 can say, ‘Hey, I see a big number,’ and we can get there to help,” he told The Oregonian (https://is.gd/UrcvpK).

The signs vary in distance from one another and can be miles apart in areas where beach access is limited.

The first signs went up in 2008 near Lincoln City and at Devil’s Lake, said Calum Stevenson, an Oregon State Parks ocean shore specialist. They were part of a $78,000 program paid for by visitor fees, the Oregon Lottery and coastal communities.

Other safety signs warn visitors of the dangers of rip currents, sneaker waves and rolling logs, Stevenson said. So far, the reaction has been mostly positive, but some homeowners were not thrilled with having to look at the back of a large sign, he said.

“Unfortunately, accidents happen on the beach,” Stevenson said. “Rolling logs, rip tides and unstable cliffs are all potentially dangerous. If people need help, they won’t need the name of the beach. They just need the number.”

Roughly 45 miles of U.S. Forest Service land between Florence and Coos Bay remains unsigned, but parks officials are working with the agency to “resolve archaeological and other issues on federal land before proceeding with the project,” Stevenson said.

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Information from: The Oregonian, https://www.oregonlive.com


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