Attention on Deck! (j/k)

Apr 17, 2008
Hiya Tentacular Folks!

My real name is Aric (yah, don't mind sharing that bit).

I grew up on the southern Oregon coast. My first years of life were in Port Orford, OR, followed by moving to Reedsport, OR, around the age 7 and finishing my school years there.

For the first 3 years of life my family lived on Coast Guard Hill, the site of a former US Coast Guard Station - Ship Service – Port Orford Life Boat Station .

In the late 1960s the lifeboat house (lost to a fire in the late 1970s) was a marine research facility for Oregon State University. Up until the fire it looked like this:



My father used to take me down to the boathouse (long, steep stairs into the cove...) and the marine biologist had a local octopus there as a pet.

This place has always been one of my favorite haunts when in Port Orford. In 2005 I contacted the marine biologist, Bob Courtright as I had and still have a bit of a project related to the station. He wrote back as follows:

I was Director of Marine Research at the Port Orford Lifeboat Station for OSU and did my doctorate work there. A happy and also very sad time. "My" lab and my research was burned to the ground by some commercial fishermen, that did not appreciate or understand what Marine Research is all about. We were doing it for them!

Earlier, than the fire, (which happened about 3 years after I left), they broke into the lab, turned all the tanks upside down, killing thousands of salmonids and also murdered our pet octopus, we named Luella. The octopus was almost human, she would respond to verbal commands, loved to have her head scratched and would follow us around with her eyes out of the water. The perpetrators of the crime, chopped her to pieces and left her body on an over turned tank. They also turned off the water
needed to keep all of the lab fish and invertebrates alive. Of course there was an intensive investigation, and everything pointed to a handful of individuals, but no arrest were ever made. Several of the suspects have long since died.

The sheriff at the time had his own problems and the University was phasing out the research lab. It is a long story to say the least. I moved on with my life and now retired, live in Lakeside, Oregon, but still have my art studio (not the gallery) in Port Orford.

The world lost a super Marine lab and learning center, because of a few idiots, some of which were on the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife staff at OSU, believe it or not. A real shame!

Quite of few times, I have received letter's, similar to yours which I greatly appreciate.

I left OSU in the early 70's and have lived a very interesting and mostly enjoyable life.

Thank you for taking the time to write. If you are ever down in the Lakeside area, give me a call and I would be happy to discuss the "Good ol'days"

Bob Courtright has two business interests:

A little later I'll share my own first-hand encounter with an octopus when paying one of my many visits to the closed down lifeboat station (before the fire).

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