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May-29-2010 14:34printcommentsVideo

Salem-News Mourns Loss of Cloverdale Businesses in Friday Fire

Tragic as it is, there were no reported injuries, something to be very thankful for.

Fire in Cloverdale
Photo from YouTube video

(SALEM, Ore.) - It was painful to see images last night of the historic town of Cloverdale, Oregon burning. It was like a scene from another time; fire moved quickly from one building to the next.

It didn't even spare the fire station itself.

I know one thing, the fire had to be bad, really bad... because the Nestucca Rural Fire District is the best in the west; a band of volunteers as good as any, maybe better.

But Mother Nature can be a formidable force and when the wind is just right, and wooden buildings are in the way...

We watched our old friend on the news, Joe Sigmund, talking about this tragic blaze.

We remembered people like Willard Anderson, another Nestucca Firefighter, who thought so much of Cloverdale, as we also did, and the great surfers who fill the ranks of this honorable agency, situated on a rugged section of the Oregon coast.

The Napa Auto parts store, the Fire Department, the Dental office, just to name some of the structures; all destroyed.

In the first video clip, you hear local residents talk about the acetylene tanks in Napa Auto, and other serious hazards that the flames were consuming.

For those who don't know, Cloverdale was made famous for a sign at each end of town, showing Clover the cow, sort of a mascot for this offbeat coastal farm town.

The Oregon Highway Department informed the town's residents in the 1980's that the signs violated Oregon law, so the townspeople held a funeral for Clover, highly attended, and the fallout led to a softening in the highway dept. and the signs went back up at each end of town.

When Bonnie and I were in our first TV jobs, at the Oregon coast cable station TV10, we worked with Cloverdale, in the production of a video telling the story of Cloverdale, sung to a tune by Dick and June Marie Bell.

We have it somewhere and are looking for it, and we will add it to this article if we find it.

The song is literally a celebration of the businesses here, many of which are now only a memory.

Here is the little bit that we remember:

Down on the Trail down in Cloverdale,
My name is Clover and I've got a tale,
To tell about, I hope to shout,
The greatest little town, you've gotta come on out.

Granny's in Stitches, The Natural Shop,
A bank with five tellers and there's even a cop,
A veterinary clinic puts my mind at ease,
There's even a market, I think they sell fleas.

If all that fails to make you stop,
You won't want to miss the Unusual Shop.

That is our tale if you're writing a book,
We're 22 miles south of Till-a-mook.

Cloverdale, Oregon is located on Highway 101, just in a few miles from Pacific City. The people are warm and kind and many are long term families. This is a place where schools are top notch, the dairy community makes sure of that.

Special thanks to the residents who posted video that we could in turn add this, and we are happy to credit with names if the parties who shot that contact us.

There is good news; nobody was hurt.


Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.

Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Serving the community in very real terms, is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. You can send Tim an email at this address:

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Stanley Young May 30, 2010 9:20 am (Pacific time)

Here is another video I just uploaded to youtube as well, this is a cell phone video that has been circulating.

Editor: Thanks so much!

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