"Gulls to dine on whale" (11/11/70)

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This is the first mention of Oregon’s Exploding Whale to appear in the Eugene Register-Guard newspaper. It details the careful decision-making process that led to the decision to blow it up. Let me summarize: “Anyone wanna use it to fertilizer their tomatoes? No? Ok, then let’s blow it up!”

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Wednesday, November 11, 1970

Gulls to dine on whale

FLORENCE — Seagulls here will have themselves an eight-ton feast Thursday morning.

That’s when State Highway division crews plan to blow up the remains of a 45-foot Pacific gray whale1 which washed up on the beach about a mile south of the Siuslaw River Monday. The big whale has been dead some time and smells very bad.

The State Highway Division, which has responsibility for care of the ocean beaches, became aware of the problem Tuesday when Port of Siuslaw manager Bill O’Conner called the distriact maintenance office in Eugene.

It took officials all day to figure out what to do with the whale. It’s been so many years since one has washed up in Lane County that nobody remembers what has been done in the past.

“You can’t bury it because these things have a tendency to just get uncovered again,” said George Thornton, assistant district engineer. “We were trying to find if a rendering plant would want the thing to make fertilizer. But we didn’t find any takers.”

So the highway officials decided to blow up the whale. Charges will be placed under the body and detonated. Thornton said when the body is blasted into small pieces, the seagulls and other scavengers will clean up the beach in a matter of days. Then state crews can go in and haul away what bones are left.


© 1970 Eugene Register-Guard

Note:
1 The whale was later identified as a sperm whale.