Astoria, Ore. Coast Guard station saves bipartisanship

By Charles Pope, The Oregonian, Portland, Ore.

Apr. 15–WASHINGTON — Just when partisanship reaches its nasty apex in Congress, the U.S. Coast Guard comes to the rescue.

More precisely, the Coast Guard’s Astoria, Ore., station.

The House voted 401-0 Thursday to recognize the Astoria station’s more than 60 years of service to the Pacific Northwest.

“Group Astoria continues to embody the Coast Guard’s motto, Semper Paratus, always ready, each and every day,” resolution sponsor Rep. David Wu, D-Ore., said on the floor Thursday.

“These men and women risk their lives to ensure that those who venture to sea return home safely. Each year, Coast Guard Group Astoria responds to roughly 800 search-and-rescue calls for help, assists more than 1,700 mariners, and saves nearly 100 lives. They do so in all types of weather and amid the many challenges of our harsh and beautiful coastline,” Wu said.

“One effort in particular stands out in my mind not only for its heroism, but for the way it lifted the spirits of those affected. In December of 2007, Oregon was hit by a winter storm with hurricane force winds in excess of 130 miles per hour. The storm knocked out power in thousands of homes in northwest Oregon and southwest Washington, and communication in many areas was cut off completely. Of the many heroes who distinguished themselves that week, the Coast Guard ranks among the most courageous,” Wu said just before the unanimous vote.

All five House members from Oregon — Wu, Earl Blumenauer, Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrader, and Greg Walden — as well as Rep. Brian Baird from Washington voted for the three-page resolution.

DeFazio and Schrader signed on as co-sponsors as did Washington lawmakers Baird, Rick Larsen and Norm Dicks.

— Charles Pope

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