NATE STETHEM brought in a stick, pictured, that his nephew, BLAKE LINEHAN, found on the beach near Parking Lot A in Fort Stevens State Park. Originally covered in barnacles, the stick is 12 inches long, and 11/2 inches square, and has Japanese writing on the top (pictured, inset). Nate thought maybe it was a survey benchmark, and asked the Ear to find out.

NAOKO NAKADATE, senior instructor of Japanese at the University of Oregon (pictured, inset), kindly provided an explanation. “It looks to me that the piece is the top of a stick that indicates a property line,” she replied, confirming Nate’s theory. “The color of the top part usually tells what kind of property line it is showing (public land, private land, etc.). All four letters combined, it means ‘national land survey.’”

Unfortunately, the writing had worn off the stick, so she couldn’t tell what ward or city it was from. Nonetheless, it’s an interesting little bit of tsunami debris.

— Elleda Wilson

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