*This is part nine in a ten-part series about the central Oregon coast and how people here are fighting the recession blues.
By Dave Masko
YACHATS, Oregon — Earth moving equipment has begun the arduous process to turn this icon of the central Oregon coast into pricey townhomes for the upwardly mobile class of home buyers who find this region “quaint” and “still beautiful.”
Two potential buyers are Ernest and Kay Hazeltine of Salem who’ve long wanted a “coastal base” to entertain family and friends. “Yea, we used to stay here in the cabins and really liked the scenery. Well, you can’t beat it,” said Ernest Hazeltine during a recent interview outside the Shamrock Lodgettes in Yachats.
The lodgettes – located off of Highway 101 at the mouth of the Yachats River, and a two-hour drive from Eugene — shut its doors Nov. 3 after more than 70 years of drawing visitors to Yachats for a bit of rest and relaxation.
The property’s building and nine 1950’s era rustic cabins are currently in the process of either being moved or demolished.
“It’s a real shame that the cabins are gone, but thankfully we can afford this view when the new townhomes become available,” said Kay Hazeltine as she and her husband Ernest took photos of the property.
The Shamrock property was purchased three years ago for $3.8 million.
The property owners would not disclose how much the townhomes will sell for, but prices ranging between $600,000 and $800,000 have been bounced around in the media.
“We first heard about the Shamrock closing and townhome project on our local TV with cost mentioned in the high six figures. It’s not bad at all for coastal property with such a view,” added Ernest Hazeltine who’s a retired real estate developer.
The new townhome development is estimated to begin shortly after this current phase of demolishing the cabins and other older structures on the Shamrock property.
“We plan to begin construction in spring 2010,” said an owner in a recent statement. “Full construction will take at least two years. KOHO is the name of the townhome project.”
While bulldozers are operating at full steam to demolish the current Shamrock site, Yachats resident Bill Harney said “it’s a shame that couldn’t preserve it like our Little Log Church.”
Harney noted that the log-cabin church – that’s up the road from the Shamrock in Yachats – was built about 79 years ago, or “close to the time when they built the Shamrock cabins.”
“We’ve longed had this collection of classic log cabins here in Yachats and be the Shamrock or the Little Log Church, they’ve been a good tourist draw and something we’re proud of,” Harney said.
“Now, we’ve lost all but our log cabin church, and it’s a real shame,” he added.
In fact, the Shamrock Lodgettes has long been recognized by local historians as an important cultural element of the central Oregon coast. “The log cabins in Yachats are a throwback to the ‘50’s era when visitors would enjoy these knotty-pine log cabins and their spectacular ocean-view rooms that featured wood-burning fireplaces,” stated a report about Yachats at the Oregon Coast History Center.
Historical records also note that the Shamrock was nearly destroyed by a fire in the late 1950’s leaving only six log cabins on site. It was later restored to the current configuration of 21 rooms and cabins that have recently been razed to make room for the new townhomes.
If You Go:
? The Shamrock is located right next to the Yachats River Bridge with striking views of the forested mountains of the Coast Range and the Pacific Ocean along Highway 101. “Yachats” is pronounced YAH-hosts and is derived from the Chinook Indian words, Yahuts, meaning “dark waters at the foot of the mountain.