Winter Wonderland

Snow in Port Orford

As we sit by the fire during these wet and cold days, one thing we muse on is why anyone would want to build a golf course on the southern Oregon coast. November through March we can count on rain, hail, snow, and sleet. Often all in splendid rotation on the same day!

One Friend of Port Orford is fond of greeting us on stormy days with a smile and the comment “It’s another wonderful day for golfing at Pacific Gales!”

The rest of the year we could call our hometown the “Windy City.” Prevailing north winds keep us cool when others swelter (80 degrees is a heat wave in P.O.), and we do love it. Even though the 4th of July parade was rerouted a couple of years ago to proceed north to south. The headwinds were just too punishing for marching northbound!

One story we’re considering here by the fireside is an article about the proposed Pacific Gales golf course that appeared in Crain’s Chicago Business this past August. We almost missed the piece, because it’s written for Midwestern investors, not our local community. It features an interview with golf course architect Dave Esler, who is a partner in the Pacific Gales enterprise and has designed the layout. One thing especially caught our attention: The claim that the developers are planning a 200-bed lodge to go along with their 10,000-square-foot clubhouse.

Now, we already knew about the clubhouse, and we knew that a condo project was being cobbled together on a small property next to an old landfill leased from Curry County. But we’ve never heard anything about a 200-room lodge! This is important, because the developer has no approval for any such thing, and local zoning (based on Oregon land use laws) does not allow for a 200-bed lodge on farmland so near to the town of Port Orford.

So, what’s going on? Prompted by local citizens’ concerns, the mayor of Port Orford, Tim Pogwizd, asked Pacific Gales managing partner Jim Haley that question. Haley responded that, yes, the interview was indeed done with his partner Dave Esler, but the information about a 200-bed lodge was “complete hogwash,” “fake news,” and “spin.” Hmm.

It is hard for us to believe that the writer made up such a specific claim. How could that happen? Okay, maybe Esler got carried away. Dreamed a little, out loud. So maybe the news outlet should be asked to print a correction. For us fussbudgets who actually live on the Curry Coast and don’t want to see our local planning laws disregarded — and for prospective golf course investors who might get the wrong idea about the scope of things to come. Otherwise, it looks like the developer is saying one thing to investors but something entirely different to our community.

We are left to wonder, what’s the truth? The version touted in the Chicago publication, or the “just trust me” contradiction served up to the mayor?

You can decide for yourself. Read the Crain’s Chicago Business piece here:

For $199 You Can Buy a Tee Time at a Golf Course That Doesn’t Exist

And compare with Haley’s e-mail (complete and unedited) here:

Response to Port Orford Mayor Tim Pogwizd