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Ways & Means Oyster House has invited Tigard and Tualatin police and TVF&R for an eating contest.

COURTESY OF WAYS & MEANS OYSTER HOUSE - Oysters on the half-shell are a delicacy you will find in plenty at the new Ways & Means Oyster House in Tigard.Oysters: You either love 'em or you hate 'em. And for a special event coming up at a new oyster restaurant in Tigard, you're going to have to love 'em.

The delicacies of the sea — sometimes sweet, sometimes briny, oftentimes a little (or a lot) of both — are the specialty of Ways & Means Oyster House, which opened a location at Bridgeport Village earlier this month. The Tigard location is the Huntington Beach, Calif.-based restaurant's first in a planned series of expansions, with a third location expected to open in La Jolla, Calif., next spring.

This coming Saturday, Aug. 26, the new Ways & Means in Tigard will hold a grand opening event — including an oyster-eating contest that will pit police departments from Tigard and neighboring Tualatin, as well as Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, against one another.

Ali Sommer, a public relations representative for Ways & Means, explained the format: One person from each team eats as many oysters as they can in 60 seconds, and once everyone has had a turn at the table, the total number of oysters consumed per team is tallied up to determine the winner.

Each oyster eaten means $3 to the agency's charity of choice. The winning team's total will be supplemented by a match from Ways & Means Oyster House as well as a share of proceeds from items ordered by guests at the restaurant in between 10 and 11 a.m., according to Sommer.

The Tigard Police Department has chosen to support the Chelsea Hicks Foundation, which provides dress-up costumes and accessories for children at Doernbecher and Randall children's hospitals in Portland.

The Tualatin Police Department had initially selected the same charity, according to Sommer, but will instead be competing for the Tualatin Community Police Foundation. The foundation provides additional funding for the police department to augment the municipal police budget.

Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue will be supporting its own Jeffrey D. Johnson Community Assistance Program, which allows firefighters to provide financial support for fire victims in need.

The Chelsea Hicks Foundation was also the beneficiary of another competition for charity between police and firefighters at Bridgeport Village this year. The Tigard Police Department emerged victorious in a pizza-making competition done in the style of the long-running cooking show "Iron Chef" at Tigard's California Pizza Kitchen in April.

Past oyster-eating contests at Ways & Means' original location have been a big hit, Summer noted.

"We've done the event twice before in Huntington Beach," she said, adding, "It should be a lot of fun."

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 9:30 a.m., followed by the oyster-eating contest at 10 a.m. The contest is expected to run about an hour in total, according to Sommer.

While the terroir — roughly, the soil, water and weather conditions that influence growth and cultivation — of Oregon is best known for the wine it produces, oyster aficionados attribute the flavor profile and characteristics of shellfish to a kind of terroir as well, sometimes called "merroir." The cold waters of the North Pacific and the coastal conditions make for prime oyster regions in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.

Other popular North American oyster hotspots include New England and the Canadian Maritimes to its north, as well as the Gulf Coast. Oysters are harvested in other coastal states and provinces as well, including California and Virginia, from which Ways & Means' signature oysters come.

Ways & Means Oyster House is located at 7331 S.W. Bridgeport Road in Tigard. It is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays.

COURTESY OF WAYS & MEANS OYSTER HOUSE - Contestants eat oysters during a 'Shuck-It' challenge at Ways & Means Oyster House in Huntington Beach, Calif., last year.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with the finalized charity selections for each participating agency.

By Mark Miller
Assistant Editor, The Times
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