By Taxpayer Foundation of Oregon,
Like David and Goliath, residents of a tiny town on the Oregon Coast are battling Facebook, one of the world’s largest tech companies, over the social media company’s plans to build a landing spot for undersea cables.
Residents in quiet Tierra Del Mar, about 65 miles southwest of Portland, worry that vibrations from drilling near the landing spot could damage some of the community’s 200 house foundations and septic systems, according to the Associated Press. They also contend that letting a commercial venture into a residentially zoned community will set a dangerous precedent, opening the door for cell towers, power junctions, and more drilling projects for cables.
Facebook officials say worldwide demand for internet service has created the need for more undersea high-speed fiber optic cables to handle the increased traffic, which is why they looked for West Coast property where they could build a landing spot to link the United States with Japan and the Philippines. Facebook already operates a data center at Prineville in central Oregon. They say the Tierra Del Mar beachfront property purchased for $495,000 is an ideal location, avoiding buried cables, fishing nets, undersea canyons, and protected fish habitats.
This would be one of 800 landing points worldwide and would link Facebook’s cable to one of four in the landing spot in Pacific City four miles to the south. That landing spot can’t handle a fifth cable, according to Facebook officials. They say locating landing spots has seldom generated complaints from local residents.
After hearing testimony, the Tillamook County Board of Commissioners voted 2-1 to allow the project, although residents say they plan to appeal.
Most of Tierra del Mar’s residents are professionals and retirees who enjoy the pristine beaches, coastal pines, and the area’s seabirds, deer, and bald eagles. They fought a plan a few years ago to build a golf course north of the community, which instead became a state natural area.