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Remembering Germany And Newport’s Jürgen Eckstein, Artist, Traveler, Father-in-law

Jürgen Eckstein was an interesting, quirky man to have had as a father-in-law, and it made him all the more special as I look back on the relatively brief time I was lucky to know him.

He passed away in late October near Corvallis, following a stroke the week before. He did not want to go on as anything less than the vibrant, creative, always-active soul that he was, and I don’t blame him one bit, though we miss him immensely.

Born in Germany and a resident of Hamburg, Cologne, Japan, Singapore, Southern California and, for nearly the past two decades, Newport on the Oregon Coast, Jürgen was going on 78 years old.

JUERGEN ECKSTEIN SURROUNDED BY HIS ARTWORK, NEWPORT, OREGON, BAYFRONT, LABOR DAY WEEKEND 2019. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

IT DOESN’T SEEM possible that he’s gone. For someone in their late 70s, he was in good shape.

When my wife Amy, our two sons and I came down from Seattle to visit he and wife Dianne this past Labor Day weekend, Jürgen and I built enormous drip castles on the beach, in the bed of a creek that we first dammed with logs and shovelfuls upon shovelfuls of sand.

Long after the rest of the family went back up to the house those warm, sunny afternoons, he and I were still on the beach, dribbling sand and water through cupped hands to form dozens of crazy towers on the structures, and then unleashing the stream to wash it all into the sea as we watched.

“There go the north towers!” “The eastern ramparts have taken a blow!” “The Kleckerburg has fallen!”

(ANDY WALGAMOTT)

We’re all impermanent, and that’s sinking in as we come to grips with never being able to hug Jürgen or shake his hand again.

We’re left with rich memories of a loving father, father-in-law and grandfather, a smart, insightful, patient man, a sharp dresser, a world traveler, a connoisseur of good cooking, good food and good German beer – “Bitte, ein Bit” – a fan of golf and soccer, and an extremely generous person.

Above all, he was an unpretentious self-taught artist whose works, unlike our temporal sand castles those golden afternoons, will be here for a long time to come. Paintings, monumental wooden sculptures on display in his yard and in Newport’s Nye Beach, ceramic yard lamps …

(ANDY WALGAMOTT, ALL)

Abstracts … layer upon careful layer … slathered in reds and golds … inspired by German poetry, the human condition … stippled with the impressions of intricate forms and cogged wheels … carven figures in flights of fancy and doom … works resembling utterly nothing at all … random driftwood reimagined – he was perpetually on the hunt for unusually shaped sticks, logs and stumps – extravagant Japanese shrines (one of which is regularly visited by a parade of pond frogs) and Turkish mosques in miniature … playful … thoughtful …

(ANDY WALGAMOTT, ALL)

Half-put-together items lay on his benches and shelves and outside on the ground, and will never take their full form now that he’s gone.

Jürgen was an artist of some renown and over the years he had shows in Newport, Corvallis, Eugene, Portland, Tokyo, Korea and Germany.

(ANDY WALGAMOTT, ALL)

I talked with him about his work multiple times as I sought its meaning and now wish I’d taken notes.

Essentially, from what I remember of our conversations in his outdoor workshop, studio, garage, on the deck overlooking the ocean, at local bars and restaurants, and during drives around town, it is up to you to attach your own meaning to his pieces.

“If you show everything, there is nothing left to see,” he told the Newport News-Times in 2009 before some of his work was put on display at the Visual Arts Center in Nye Beach.

He wanted you to think about what you were seeing, to “not take it at face value.”

(ANDY WALGAMOTT)

With Newport friends he went to Burning Man for the first time ever in his late 60s, the second time installing one of his artworks, Wolhkenkuckucsheim, for immolation at the Nevada desert festival.

Art poured out of Jürgen – he couldn’t help himself. He built us a long, L-shaped bench around the fire pit in our patio, and rather than neatly trim off the tops of all the head boards so they were parallel and perpendicular to the other 1x6s and 2x4s, he used his reciprocating saw to create a series of waves, or eroded mountains like Oregon’s Coast Range, or billows of fog, or …

“The straight line is godless,” he told me then (and many times afterwards), a quote by one of his idols, Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

(ANDY WALGAMOTT, ALL)

JÜRGEN ECKSTEIN’S JOURNEY through life was anything but a straight line. Building that bench, he regaled me with stories from his younger days about surviving for a month in Morocco on octopus and shellfish he caught with his own hands, decoding Warsaw Pact signals for the West German army, sleeping in ditches and fields in Italy and Greece.

Indeed, he lived in, worked in and visited dozens of countries around the world. Dianne is from Oregon and so when Jürgen retired, they bought a parcel in Newport above the ocean. After leveling its mice-ridden “beach hut,” they built an amazing, multilevel home that is one with the surrounding shore pines and spruces and salal.

I couldn’t tell you how many times Amy, the boys and I have come down from Seattle to visit – at least once a summer and winter, with the boys spending some of their school breaks there – but in hindsight it wasn’t enough.

Along with getting to know he and Dianne better, staying with them enriched our lives, allowing us to experience the Oregon Coast.

We’ve hiked, kayaked, bicycled, played tourist, attended the wooden boat show in Toledo, searched for and found so many agates, flown kites, spotted whales, watched pounding winter storms while sitting in front of the warm Kachelofen, snapped hundreds of colorful sunset photos, played games, made art, shared so many wonderful meals …

(ANDY WALGAMOTT)

As an angler, their home has been a great base for me to fish local rivers and lakes, and crab off the public piers. Jürgen always suggested I go fish a spot on the Alsea owned by a friend of his.

He had many, many friends in the area – fellow artists, musicians, gallery owners, builders, retirees, neighbors and happy hour patrons. You couldn’t go anywhere with him without shaking a hand or two, or returning a wave.

On the eve before Amy and I got married, Jürgen had a buddy bring his goats over to their house. I’d been joking that I was going to buy a flock and rent them out to chow down on blackberries and other invasive weeds. So to test whether he should give his daughter away to an uproven shepherd, Jürgen handed me a staff, a felt hat from the Alps and told me to herd goats in front of the crowd of 30 or 40 in his living room.

I successfully got the billies and nannies to poop on one of Dianne’s carpets instead – and decided it would be wise to keep my day job.

ANOTHER MEMORABLE MOMENT from that evening was that as guests arrived at the house, they were handed old plates to smash on the walkway. Polterabend – night of noise – is a German wedding tradition to bring luck to the bride and groom, one of so many customs that Jürgen shared.

I think that that might be one of the biggest losses in his passing – the rich storehouse of all things Deutsch that went with him.

The poems, the Ostfriesland lore, the silly songs …

We will miss his voice at Christmas when we sing from Amy’s Weihnachtslieder Buch.

(ANDY WALGAMOTT, ALL)

Amy has done her best to remember as much as she can and incorporate so much into our lives.

Teaching the boys and I German, lighting candles on the Christmas tree and the Adventkrantz on the four Sundays before Heiligabend, how to cook Bratkartoffeln, delicious desserts, making Schultüte for the boys …

Roughly speaking, our sons are about as old as I was when I lost one of my grandfathers, and I wish I could remember more of Baba. I’m encouraging the boys to fire their memories of the man they knew as Väterchen so that they will last forever.

(ANDY WALGAMOTT, ALL)

I didn’t know I was actually German until recently, and that made having Jürgen as a father-in-law all the more serendipitous. Even though Walgamott (and its 20-odd spellings) is German, it’s not my family’s original last name, the spelling of which has origins in the British Isles.

But doing some genealogy research earlier this year I was surprised to discover that in the mid-1700s my father’s side had actually come from southern Baden-Wurtemburg and that our last name had been Anglicized in America.

In 2008, we spent two holiday weeks in Austria and Germany with Jürgen and Dianne, and I peppered him with so many questions about his home country, information which I drew upon to write and illustrate a 70-plus-page “book” about our trip.

He was like having my own personal Rick Steves as we visited Miltenberg, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Dinkelsbuhl, Straubing, Goslar and their bustling Weihnachtsmarkts, walked their walls and Marktplatze, enjoyed German food and drink – a priceless gift from my inlaws.

Traveling was important to Jürgen, both with his family and then in later years with Dianne and friends from Germany. They saw places as divergent as Turkey, Romania, the Galapagos Islands and the Phillipines.

In the Northwest, he eagerly joined many of our camping trips across Oregon and Washington, and last year joined us on a family road trip through the redwoods and down California’s oceanside Highway 1.

He just made things more enjoyable when he was around.

JÜRGEN LIVED A happy, full life, one of exploration and immersion in cultures around the world, success with family and work, and in which he was able to express himself in profoundly unique ways.

I don’t know how our dog will react the next time we come to Newport and her “Favorite Person on Earth” is no longer there to throw sticks for her on the beach, but I think she will be sad.

Like I am as I look back over 14 years and smile with tears in my eyes as I remember Jürgen Eckstein.

(ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Meetings Coming Up On Future Oregon Halibut, Bottomfish Seasons

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

ODFW will host a series of public meetings the week of Aug. 5 to gather input on the 2020 recreational halibut season and start discussing the 2021-2022 recreational bottomfish seasons. People who can’t attend meetings can also listen in via Webcast (details below).

NEWPORT WILL HOST ONE OF SEVERAL MEETINGS NEXT WEEK ON COMING YEARS’ HALIBUT AND BOTTOMFISH SEASONS. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

At the 2019 annual meeting, the International Pacific Halibut Commission approved a 1.5 million pound catch limit for Area 2A for 2019-2022. This is the first time fishery managers know the quota going into this series of public meetings, which should help guide the discussions for the 2020 halibut season.

Additionally, the Pacific Fishery Management Council is starting the process to set quotas and seasons for the 2021-2022 bottomfish seasons. No major changes to the fishery are being proposed, but ODFW is looking for input from anglers on adjustments to sport bottomfish regulations.

“It’s important that we hear from a wide range of anglers before making decisions on the upcoming seasons,” said ODFW Recreational Halibut and Bottomfish Project Leader Lynn Mattes.

The meetings will be held:

  • Salem, Monday, Aug. 5, 6-8 p.m. at ODFW Headquarters (4034 Fairview Industrial Drive SE) in the Commission Room.
  • Newport, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 6-8 p.m. at the Marine Resources Program office, 2040 SE Marine Science Drive (ODFW’s parking lot is closed due to construction. ODFW visitors should park at the HMSC Visitor Center and follow the signs on foot to ODFW) This meeting will also be webcast, details below.
  • Brookings, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 6-8 p.m. at the Chetco Public Library, 405 Alder St.
  • North Bend, Thursday, Aug. 8, 6-8 p.m. in North Bend at the Public Library, 1800 Sherman Street.

Anglers who wishes to provide input but cannot attend a meeting in person or via the webcast can contact Lynn Mattes at 541-867-4741 ext. 237 or lynn.mattes@state.or.us or Christian Heath at 541-867-4741 ext. 266 or ;Christian.t.heath@state.or.us. Background information will be posted on the ODFW sport bottomfish and sport halibut webpages by the end of the day on Friday, Aug. 2.

To join the webcast of the meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone:
https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/545952877
You can also dial in using your phone.
(For supported devices, tap a one-touch number below to join instantly.)
United States: +1 (646) 749-3122
– One-touch: tel:+16467493122, 545952877#
Access Code: 545-952-877
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ODFW Looking For Input On Central Coast All-depth Halibut Season

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

ODFW will be asking for public input on the upcoming Central Oregon Coast spring all-depth halibut season at a meeting on Monday, Feb, 4 from 6- 7:30 p.m. at the ODFW Marine Resources Program Conference Room, 2040 SE Marine Science Dr., Newport.

NEWPORT, DEPOE BAY, FLORENCE, COOS BAY AND OTHER HALIBUT ANGLERS ARE BEING ASKED FOR INPUT ON 2019’S SPRING ALL-DEPTH SEASON. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

ODFW staff will give an overview of the results of the International Pacific Halibut Commission Annual meeting and the resulting quotas. Then meeting participants will be able to provide input on the number and timing of “fixed” and “backup” dates for the Central Oregon Coast Subarea (Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain) spring all-depth halibut season.

People who cannot attend the meeting in person can still participate in several ways:

ODFW Dropping General Marine Bag Limit From 5 To 4 After Strong Spring Catches

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

The daily bag limit for general marine fish (rockfish, greenlings, skates, etc.) will be reduced from 5 to 4 beginning July 1.

THE BAG LIMIT ON BLACK AS WELL AS BLUE ROCKFISH LIKE THESE SWIMMING AROUND A PINNACLE IS BEING REDUCED FROM FIVE TO FOUR TO KEEP FISHERIES INSIDE QUOTAS. (ODFW, FLICKR, CC 2.0)

“Participation in this fishery has been really good so far this year with effort higher than even record years seen in two of the past three years,” said Lynn Mattes, Project Leader, ODFW. “Reducing the bag limit to 4 fish on July 1 is necessary to keep black rockfish, other nearshore rockfish and yelloweye rockfish catches within annual limits.”

Cabezon retention also opens on July 1 with a 1-fish sub-bag limit (meaning that of the 4-fish marine bag, no more than 1 can be a cabezon). Bag limits for lingcod, flatfish and the longleader fishery remain the same.

Anglers this year made 40,619 bottomfish trips through May (17,750 in May alone), compared to 24,080 for January-May last year, which until 2018 was the highest effort year on record. Angler effort is only expected to increase as summer fishing peaks.

Last year, recreational bottomfish closed on Sept. 18 after the annual quotas for several species were met early, the first in-season closure since 2004. The closure disrupted coastal charter businesses and anglers. (Typically, recreational bottomfish fishing is open all year, though effort significantly drops off after early fall.)

ODFW has been working to avoid another early closure this year by providing effort and catch rates at more frequent intervals and modeling impacts of various bag limit scenarios.

The Fish and Wildlife Commission heard testimony from coastal sportfishing businesses before deciding on the 5-fish bag limit when it set regulations back in December, with the understanding that in-season adjustments could be necessary to keep the season open through the end of the year.

Get the latest on marine fishing regulations and opportunities at https://myodfw.com/recreation-report/fishing-report/marine-zone

5,000 Pounds Of Trash Hauled Off Lower Yaquina River During Clean-up

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE U DA MAN FISHING TOURNAMENT

On Saturday, 04-21-2018, the U DA MAN (UDM) Fishing Tournament, in conjunction with Oregon SOLVE, performed a second clean up of the Yaquina River from the Port of Newport to the Port of Toledo.

(U DA MAN)

A total of 35 volunteers worked from six boats and on foot to reach areas along an approximate 12 mile stretch of the river.

(U DA MAN)

Five volunteer boats shuffled volunteers to areas not accessible from the roadways, while other volunteers on foot worked to clean up the banks adjacent to the roads.

(U DA MAN)

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office provided two marine deputies with a boat to act as our safety boat this year and the deputies also shuttled volunteers to locations where more help was needed.

(U DA MAN)

An estimated 5000 lbs of trash was collected in about a six hour period.

(U DA MAN)

The UDM group was assisted by volunteers from the Longview Hills Fishing Club, Newport High School Leadership Class, Angell Job Corp, Central Oregon Fly Fishers Club and the Oregon Hunters Association with additional generous support from the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and Newport’s Thriftway JC Market.  This is a recognized STEP project by ODFW.

(U DA MAN)

UDM would like to thank our sponsors, Dahl Disposal of Toledo, the Ports of Newport and Toledo and Englund Marine and Industrial Supply in Newport.

ODFW Sets Jan. 30 Meeting In Newport To Talk 2018 Halibut Seasons With Anglers

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

ODFW will be asking for public input on the upcoming spring halibut season for the central Oregon coast at a meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 30 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the ODFW Marine Resources Program conference room, 2040 SE Marine Science Dr., Newport.

OREGON HALIBUT ANGLERS ARE BEING ASKED FOR INPUT ON THE 2018 FISHERIES OFF NEWPORT — WHERE JESSICA HERBORN CAUGHT THIS NICE ONE IN 2016 — AND ELSEWHERE ON THE CENTRAL COAST. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

ODFW staff will give an overview of the results of the International Pacific Halibut Commission Annual meeting and the resulting quotas.  Then meeting participants will be able to provide input on the number and timing of “fixed” and “backup” dates for the Central Oregon Coast Subarea (Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain) spring all-depth halibut season.

People who cannot attend the meeting in person can still participate in one of two ways:

·        Join the meeting via GoToMeeting (see details below).

·        Complete an online survey, which will be posted on the ODFW halibut webpage. (Both the online survey and background materials for the meeting will be posted by mid-afternoon on Monday, Jan. 29 on the ODFW halibut webpage http://www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/finfish/halibut/index.asp.

·        Anglers may also provide input by contacting Lynn Mattes (lynn.mattes@state.or.us) or Christian Heath (Christian.t.heath@state.or.us) at the ODFW Marine Resources Program, (541) 867-4741.

GoToMeeting DETAILS 

Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.

https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/554636005

You can also dial in using your phone.

United States: +1 (872) 240-3412

Access Code: 554-636-005

Boaters Needed To Assist With Port To Port Clean-up On Yaquina

Organizers of a Yaquina Bay fishing derby will collect litter along the bay’s banks between Newport and Toledo next month, and are looking for boats and drivers to help access the shores.

The first-ever Port to Port River Clean-up is coming April 22, part of the U Da Man Fishing Tournament group’s efforts to improve habitat along the Yaquina River.

Tom Simpson, its secretary, says it’s the first organized clean-up of the river in years.

ORGANIZERS OF A CLEAN-UP OF THE BANKS OF THE LOWER YAQUINA RIVER IN LATE APRIL ARE LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEERS WITH BOATS TO FERRY LITTER PICKERS TO SPOTS INACCESSIBLE FROM ROADWAYS. THIS PICTURE SHOWS U DA MAN FISHING TOURNAMENT CREWS PLACING CHRISTMAS TREES FURTHER UPSTREAM, PART OF THE GROUP’S EFFORTS TO ENHANCE AND CLEAN SALMON HABITAT ON THE CENTRAL COAST SYSTEM. (U DA MAN FISHING TOURNAMENT)

It will be held in conjunction with other such events held around Oregon on Earth Day, with assistance from SOLVE, both port districts, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Longview Hills Fishing Club, Dahl’s Disposal and Englund Marine.

Earlier this month, U Da Man volunteers placed used Christmas trees in the Yaquina further upstream to provide habitat for Chinook and coho smolts.

According to a press from release Simpson, those who have a boat and would like to help out are being asked to contact Steve Barham (541-563-3686; steve.w.barham@gmail.com) for more info.

For more on meeting points, hours and other details, see the SOLVE webpage for the event.