Waldport, Oregon

Sunday August 14, 2022

We left Bullard’s Beach this morning around 1000 hours, in no hurry to travel the 100 miles to our next destination, Waldport-Newport KOA located in Waldport, Oregon.

The first significant city we come to is Coos Bay. Coos Bay is a city located in Coos County Oregon where the Coos River enters Coos Bay. The city borders the city of North Bend, and together they are often referred to as one entity called either Coos Bay-North Bend or Oregon’s Bay Area. Coos Bay’s population as of is 15,985 souls, making it the most populous city on the Oregon Coast. Oregon’s Bay Area is estimated to be home to 32,308.

Downtown Coos Bay in the evening

Prior to around 1915, the Coos region was largely isolated from the rest of Oregon due to difficulties in crossing the Coastal Range and fording rivers, so the Pacific Ocean was used to link people to other areas, including San Francisco, which was an easier two-day trip compared to traveling inland over rugged terrain. In 1916 a rail line was completed that linked the region to other interior settlements and towns, which increased commercial trade and tourism. Significant urban growth occurred in the 1920s, and during the 1930s to 1950s large-scale growth occurred. 

Today a full 22% of the population is employed in health care and social assistance followed by accommodation and food services at 8%. The list dwindles down in percentage from there.

Located in the general area of Coos Bay is beautiful Sunset Bay State Park. Nearby are Shore Acres State Park and Cape Arago State Park. All three are within miles of one another and all are worth visiting.

Heading towards Reedsport

Reedsport (4300 souls) was established in 1912 as a camp for railroad construction workers who were building the Southern Pacific rail line from Coos Bay. The town thrived on the timber industry until its collapse in the late 20th century. Tourism has helped revive its economy due to fishing in the Umpqua River and the nearby Oregon Dunes.

Reedsport Oregon

Florence is a coastal city in Lane County. It lies at the mouth of the Suislaw River and about midway between Newport and Coos Bay along US 101. The city has a population of 8,921 souls.

Florence Oregon

Florence’s location on the Siuslaw (Sigh-Yew-slae) River is  immediately north of Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.

Oregon Dunes

The former mainstays of Florence’s economy were logging, commercial fishing, and agriculture, but today tourism is increasingly significant. In addition to downtown businesses, the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians operate the Three Rivers Casino Resort. The Port of Siuslaw promotes commercial fishing, shipping and tourism.  About one-third of Florence’s population consists of retirees.

Haceta Head Lighthouse

Not far past Florence is the incredibly beautiful Haceta Head Lighthouse. We’ve been to the lighthouse several times so this time Jil wings a photo on the fly, we head through the rather narrow tunnel, across a beautiful bridge and down to the RV parking lot to walk the dogs. The light keepers house has been converted into a bed and breakfast and the light is still open for tours. It’s a truly beautiful setting. If you ever come this way be sure to stop in.

We bypass the Sealion Cave, a tourist trap, as we’ve seen hundreds of the critters.

Cape Perpetua is located about 2 miles (3.2 km) south of Yachats (YAH-hots), Oregon, along US Route 101. It is a typical Pacific Northwest headland, forming a high steep bluff above the ocean. At its highest point, Cape Perpetua rises to over 800 feet (244 m) above sea level. From its crest, an observer can see 70 miles of Oregon coastline and as far as 37 miles out to sea on a clear day. The cape was named by Captain James Cook on March 7, 1778, as he searched for the Pacific entrance to a Northwest Passage. Cook named the cape Perpetua because it was discovered on St. Perpetua‘s Day.

Yachats Oregon

A few miles south of Waldport is the quaint town of Yachats (YAH-hots), 694 souls. According to Oregon Geographic Names, the name comes from the Siletz language and means “dark water at the foot of the mountain”. Yachats is a very popular tourist destination. Even Art Frommer, founder of Frommer’s Travel Guides, listed the town as Number 8 among his ten favorite vacation destinations in the world.

Alsea River Bridge, Waldport Oregon

Waldport is a city in Lincoln County. The population was 2,033 souls at the 20120 census. The city is located on the Alsea River and Alsea Bay, 15 miles south of Newport and 8 miles (13 km) north of Yachats. Settlement of Waldport began in 1879 when David Ruble bought squatter’s rights from Lint Starr for $300 for property including the area now known as “Old Town”. Many early settlers were of German descent, and one of the names proposed for this town was Waldport, “wald” meaning forest or trees, and “port” referring to its proximity to the ocean. The plat for the town was recorded on September 9, 1885 and by 1911, when Waldport was incorporated, it boasted a dozen businesses and 150 inhabitants.

The earliest inhabitants of the area were known as the “Alsi” or “Alsea”, a name given to them by the Coos tribe. (Their name for themselves in their own language was “Wusi” or “Wusitslum”.) In 1780 the total number of “Yakonan”, which included tribes from Yaquina Bay to the Siuslaw, was estimated to have numbered upwards of 6000 and the Alsea river and bay was home to numerous small villages. At the time of Lewis and Clark, the numbers had dwindled to about 1000, and by 1910 only 29 remained at the Siletz reservation.

In September 1975, Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles gave a lecture in Waldport on UFOs which was attended by roughly 150 people. In the following days, an estimated 20 residents, nearly one out of 30 people who lived in the town, abandoned their homes and possessions and joined their group, Heaven’s Gate. An Oregon Police investigation concluded that no laws had been broken.

Seashore Joy Garden

Just off the main drag lies a community garden, the Seashore Joy Garden. All produce grown there is donated to needy families. Next door is a large building that was previously used to store and sort donated clothing and other goods. Help dwindled due to the pandemic and has yet to restart.

Life is good at the Waldport Newport KOA!

Waldport’s economy is driven by tourism today with almost 19% of the population employed in the accommodation and food services industries, followed by retail trade, health care and public administration.

Incredible view out our front window!

We enjoyed our stay in Waldport. We took advantage of a large grassy field in which to walk our mutzos, did some exploring around the area and just kicked back in the very nice Waldport Newport KOA. The facility is very well maintained. In fact each site is raked every time it is vacated to level out the gravel parking area. The park offers killer views of the Alsea Bridge and bay. Life is good here in Waldport.

Tomorrow we pick up, load up, jacks up and head north to Tillamook. You probably recognize the name as it is a very popular brand of cheese in grocery stores. See you there!

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