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'A whale of a problem': 45th anniversary of a dynamite idea

As the camera rolled, the dynamite went off. Bits of blubber rained down all over the beach and bystanders. A large chunk nearly destroyed a car. Crews then spent days burying all of the blubber on the beach.

FLORENCE, Ore. - Reporter Paul Linnman and a photographer visited the Oregon Coast on November 12, 1970.

"It had to be said the Oregon State Highway Department not only had a whale of a problem on its hands," Linnman reported. "It had a stinking whale of a problem."

The job of removing the whale fell to the highway department.

Officials weren't quite sure what to do with the 45-foot, 8-ton whale.

They finally decided it would be best to deal with the whale in the same way they would a boulder: blow it up.

"So dynamite it was, some 20 cases or a half ton of it," Linnman reported. "The hope was that the long-dead pacific gray whale would be almost disintegrated by the blast."

But that's not exactly what happened.

As the camera rolled, the dynamite went off.

Bits of blubber rained down all over the beach and bystanders.

A large chunk nearly destroyed a car.

Crews then spent days burying all of the blubber on the beach.

"It might be concluded that should a whale ever was ashore in Lane County again, those in charge will not only remember what to do - they'll certainly remember what not to do."


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