Ear: Tilly

Fans of Terrible Tilly (aka the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse off Cannon Beach), take heed. Owner Mimi Morissette has posted the Tillamook Lighthouse Cleanup and Construction Assessment fundraiser on her Facebook page (bit.ly/FixTTilly):

“Need volunteers and donations for Tilly’s Cleanup Fall of 2019,” the post says. “This is a coordination effort between Tillamook Rock Lighthouse and Islands on the Air (IOTA, iota-world.org). The plan is to put six people on the rock for three to five nights to conduct a cleanup and assess what construction will be necessary the following season.”

She’s looking for cash donations and supplies, “plus a few local people that will help prior to the workers going out to the rock. We also need a local headquarters for storing the supplies as they are purchased.

“Anyone raising $1,000 will not have to work, and will be able to go out on the helicopter for a cargo drop or pickup. Islands on the Air group will help with cleanup, and will be able to broadcast across the world from Tillamook Rock.

“We are planning to replace all the corroding metal with Titanium, and this is the first step to give Tilly a facelift for her 140th birthday before January 2021 …”

A little background: After Terrible Tilly (pictured in 1901) was declared surplus by the federal government, it was sold several times, the last buyers being Mimi Morissette and her partner, Cathy Riley, who had some investment backers.

They bought it “sight unseen,” and it was a sorry mess. Tilly was gutted, spruced up and painted, and the windows were cemented over to create the columbarium (cemetery for crematory urns) Eternity at Sea.

But several things went awry. There was a lack of maintenance — it’s not the easiest spot to get to — and there were paperwork issues. Plus, some vandals broke in and a few urns went missing.

Now the lighthouse has not been a licensed operating columbarium since Dec. 31, 1998, and has fallen into a sad state of disrepair, as you can see from Geist View’s December 2016/January 2017 drone footage (bit.ly/TTilly).

Do we dare to be hopeful? Stay tuned.

Elleda Wilson is an editorial assistant for The Astorian and author of the award-winning In One Ear community column. Contact her at 971-704-1718 or ewilson@dailyastorian.com.

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