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December 7 2021
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LOCAL NEWS

Death

Man Falls Into Oregon's Devil’s Churn, Presumed Dead


Story by Donna Millsap - The Oregon Herald
Published on September 12, 2021 10:32 AM
 
 
YACHATS, Oregon — A man visiting Oregon from California attempted to jump across a wide cove of frothing water at Cape Perpetua Scenic Area has died.

67-year-old Steve Allen of Walnut Creek, California, attempted to jump a narrow wall of water at Devil's Churn, a boiling inlet just off Highway 101 south of Yachats on the central Oregon coast, the Statesman Journal reported. Devils Churn is a narrow inlet of the Pacific Ocean in Lincoln County, Oregon, United States, south of Yachats. It is located in the Siuslaw National Forest and is accessible via the Restless Waters trail from the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area visitor's center or the U.S. Route 101 overlook. Access to the trail requires a United States Forest Service pass.

The inlet developed over many thousands of years as wave action carved into the basalt shoreline, first forming a deep sea cave whose roof eventually collapsed. As the tide comes in it can throw spray several hundred feet into the air when the waves reach the end of the churn. Visitors are urged to be cautious when visiting the churn, as it can be dangerous. In 2021, a man visiting the churn died from drowning after attempting to jump across the water.

"Troopers and emergency personnel responded for a subject who had fallen into the ocean at Devils Churn," Oregon State Police said in a news release. "Fellow visitors attempted to rescue Allen but were unable to retrieve him from the water." Allen was last observed by rescue agencies unresponsive prior to losing sight of him, officials said. The U. S. Coast Guard and other responding agencies suspended their search at approximately 6:40 p.m. Allen is presumed to be dead, officials said.

OSP was assisted by Lincoln county Sheriff's Office, Newport Fire Department, Yachats Fire and Rescue and the Coast Guard.

The Restless Waters Trail takes you right down the side of the cliff. The first portion of the trail is handicapped accessible. You'll soon come to the first of two overlooks, where you'll get a peek at the broiling waters below. When you stand above Devil's Churn on Oregon's coast, you can't help but be mesmerized by its terrifying, majestic beauty.

As you continue along the switchbacks, you'll soon see (and hear) Devil's Churn below. Stop to gaze at this massive rock chasm, with the ocean waves crashing and churning inside.

he churn was created by a fissure in the volcanic rock here that was worn away over thousands of years. Waves crash into the 80-foot-wide chasm, then rebound back toward the ocean, colliding with incoming waves to create a stunning display that will take your breath away. Some waves crash into the sides of the churn, spraying sea water and foam hundreds of feet in the air. During winter months when the ocean is more volatile, it can even bring huge tree trunks into the churn on its crests, and toss them about like Lincoln Logs.