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Fake orca from Bellingham runs into trouble before it can scare sea lions

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — An effort to use a fake orca to scare off hundreds of sea lions crowding docks off the Oregon coast has ended, at least temporarily, with the fiberglass creature belly-up after it was swamped by a passing ship.

Still, Port of Astoria Executive Director Jim Knight says the sea lions briefly “got deathly silent” Thursday evening when the orca sailed into view. That was just before it started listing and tipped over.

He says there’s “a chance” they’ll try the orca again Friday.

Earlier Thursday, officials had to find a replacement motor for the 32-foot killer whale replica that belongs to a whale watching business. It was brought overland from Bellingham, Washington.

Sea lions have become a nuisance to Astoria and commercial fishermen because they damage docks, prevent boaters from using the docks and eat lots of salmon.

In recent weeks, the Port of Astoria tried creative ways to keep the animals away, including beach balls, colorful tape, chicken wire and electrified mats — but they were not successful.

The fake whale was originally built in the 1980s.

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