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    USCG to Close Newport Helicopter Base

    The US Coast Guard is preparing to close a facility in Newport where a search and rescue helicopter is stationed.

    Lt. Dana Warr said Friday that the 3.5-acre site has a hangar and barracks used on a rotation basis by four-person crews stationed permanently at the Coast Guard air station in North Bend. The closure is scheduled for November 30th.

    "For the time being", Warr says, "the North Bend station will have four helicopters, but one will eventually be sent elsewhere".

    The Coast Guard said budget cuts were responsible for the closure. Warr said improvements in direction-finding technology have greatly improved the Coast Guard's ability to locate mariners in distress.

    Warr said a 1992 deed stipulates that the site reverts to the city of Newport if the Coast Guard no longer has need of it.​

  • #2

    Thousands Petition Newport Closure

    Thousands of people have logged on to to sign a petition to save the Newport rescue helicopter.

    The U.S. Coast Guard announced on Oct. 2 the decision to close its helicopter rescue air facility at the Newport Municipal Airport, effective Nov. 30.

    Rear Admiral R.T. Gromlich, commander of the Thirteenth Coast Guard District, notified Capt. Todd Trimpert, commander of USCG Sector North Bend of the decision that afternoon.

    Members of the fishing community as well as the general public have been paying close attention to the decision to close the helicopter rescue facility.

    The petition, which was started by Toledo resident Carol DeMuth, hit over 4,000 signatures around 6:25 p.m. Sunday evening.

    She said she was motivated to start the online petition to save the rescue helicopter after she read about the Coast Guard’s decision to close the facility on Facebook.

    “I saw on Facebook that the helicopter was going away,” DeMuth said Sunday evening. She was surprised to hear that the petition had gained more than 4,000 signatures.

    “I went onto to start a petition because I’ve signed a lot of petitions that people have started (for causes) that they believe in,” DeMuth said. “I believe that moving the helicopter even a half hour away is bad. I’m sorry, an hour if you’re a fisherman fishing out of Newport, that’s probably dead. So, I went online and started the petition.”

    While DeMuth isn’t in the fishing profession herself, she said she has lots of friends who either currently are fishermen or who have been fishermen in the past.

    “I just feel strongly that being one of the largest fishing ports on the West Coast we need the helicopter,” she said.​