50 years ago, Oregon state officials blew up a whale — and led a news reporter to infamy

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When Oregon state highway officials decided to blow up a beached whale with a half tonne of dynamite, it went about as well as one might imagine. More than a dozen spectators gathered around the beach that day in November 1970 to watch the explosion unfold, including Paul Linnman, then a reporter for KATU News in Oregon. Fifty years on, it’s an experience he’s never forgotten. “As soon as we got out of the car and were still a good distance from the whale, and behind sand dunes, the smell hit us. I mean, this thing had been rotting for a few days and the smell is beyond description,”