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Cape Arago

Cape Arago

In mid-October of 2005, a notice was sent out to mariners by the Coast Guard stating that the Cape Arago Lighthouse would be deactivated. Chief Dale Dempsy, who is in charge of the aids to navigation team in Charleston, OR, said "no comments to speak of" were received, so he turned off the light on January 1, 2006. Of course, others besides mariners are interested in keeping the light active, and the deactivation has sparked a debate that hopefully will lead not only to reactivating the light but also to making the lighthouse accessible to the public. In 2007, Senator Gordon Smith submitted a provision as part of the Coast Guard Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 that would transfer the Cape Arago Lighthouse to the Confederated tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians. This bill was not approved, but in 2008 Representative Peter DeFazio sponsored a bill covering just the transfer of Cape Arago, and this was passed by the House and Senate in September, and signed by President Bush on October 8, 2008. According to the legislation, the tribes must make the Light Station available to the general public for educational, park, recreational, cultural, or historic preservation purposes at times and under conditions determined to be reasonable by the Secretary of the Interior.

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