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location:gleneden beach

Not far from the quaint Salishak Tavern in Gleneden Beach a great, great desecration commenced some 35 years ago. To view it, just take Highway 101 south of Lincoln City over the filled section of Siletz Bay. Look west out to a finger of sand called Salishan Spit. See the Victory Mansions and Gingerbread Cottages built on an armored dune. Let it Bleed. Then Let it Pour. And make it a Rainier from the tap if you stop in the Salishak, which I do every now and then. Actually make it two. I need at least that many to compose myself after seeing, then seething over what happened to a once glorious, shifting, unoccupied stretch of sand. Of all the candidates for the Super Supreme, one-shot ecological desecration on the Oregon Coast, and there are many, the packed, riprapped, gilded development on Salishan Spit is the winner--no doubt about it. And to think it was considered "good" back in the 60s because at least it had some sense of aesthetics, unlike the rest of the 20 "miserable miles" of Lincoln County. But then again, many people like the look of dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers, marvel at dead Mt. Rushmore presidents carved into the sacred Black Hills, and think nuclear power plant cooling towers match up nicely with landscapes. But Salishan Spit development is a done deal now unless a tsunami or massive storm surge lays waste. If that happens, luckily, the Salishak is safe on high ground--in this case meaning a few dozen feet above sea level. So, there's not much for a poor Oregon boy to do, cept' curse the "planners" who green-lighted this catastrophe...and toast the fact this shit didn't unfold on Nestucca or Nehalem or Bayocean Spits. But it did happen on Bayocean!--70 years ago. The sand demanded revenge, grains went back to the sea, and rolled buildings along with it. Drink another toast to precedent. It will happen again. Pulling into the Salishak, one is immediately struck by the dark green shingled facade and distinct white wooden sign. In tandem they surely create one of the most impressive initial appearances of any drinking hole on the Oregon Coast. Inside it's more of the same. Light brown carpet, a lacquered wood bar, light brown paneling, red vinyl upholstered stools, a metallic money register with moving parts, a very cool shuffleboard table, and dim light create a retro tavern feel that is cozy, clean, quiet and thirst-inducing. There's even a tiny deck out the back to be alone and brood or practice the fine art of seduction on a date. As for the clientele, they seem mostly local, down-to-earth and offer commentary on a nearby restaurant that caters to the sand-dwelling crowd: "I'm just a working man, I can't afford a ten-dollar hamburger or seventeen-dollar chicken." But he can afford the Salishak's hearty food, and critically more importantly, he can afford the beer, especially during "Shack Attack" when management reduces draft prices Monday through Friday between 3:30-5:30. That's the perfect time to be in the tavern, drinking, thinking about the houses built on the sand, something Jesus warned against 2000 years ago. "Build on a rock," he taught.
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