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Home > Facts > Web Exhibits > Oregon Beaches

Protecting Oregon Beaches Web Exhibit

Horseback riders on the beach at Nehalem Bay State Park. (Oregon State Archives)

Horseback riders on the beach at Nehalem Bay State Park. (Oregon State Archives)


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A century ago, two events helped to shape our extraordinary public access to Oregon beaches: The legislature made all Oregon tidelands a public highway and future governor Tom McCall, a key figure in a later effort to protect public access, was born. Now, explore some of the many public uses of the state’s beaches over the decades and efforts to protect them from privatization.


Exhibit Introduction—learn more about the history of Oregon's beaches.


Native Americans

Siletz Indians on Nye Beach

Indians at Yaquina Bay in 1878

"Rock Oyster Queen" at Newport


1800s-1920s public uses

Hotel Gearhart

Gearhart Park by the Sea

Coos County stage coaches

Bayocean railroad

Nye Beach airplane

Bayocean Natatorium

Wagon at Hug Point

Military review of troops

Model T Fords on beach

Seaside Turnaround postcard

Old log truck

Seaside Promenade postcard


1930s-1960s public uses

Car stuck in sand

Seaside beach fire

Hug Point postcard

Cannon Beach recreation

Chevrolet at Haystack Rock

Children at Bandon beach

Blue Book cover of Heceta Head

Sports car on the beach

Jeep Willys and fishermen

"Peter Iredale" wreck

Bob Straub family on beach


The Beach Bill

Tom McCall and Bob Straub

Tom McCall at Rockaway Beach

Tom McCall with survey equipment

Tom McCall at Surfsand Motel


Measure 6

Robert Kennedy and Bob Straub

Nestucca Spit

Beach Book cover

Beach Book drawing by Cinda

Beach Book drawing by Louis

"Mini-Marchers" on the beach

Private beach cartoon

Bob Straub exhorts supporters

Children carry Measure 6 signs

Bob Straub on top of van


Public access legacy

Bob Straub State Park

Tom McCall Capitol portrait


Scenic images of Oregon beaches

Rockaway Beach sunset

Ecola State Park beach

Bandon beach

Oceanside sunset

Haystack Rock

Cannon Beach sunset

Oceanside fog

"Peter Iredale" wreck