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Oregon Coast Beach Bill Parties Kick Off in Cannon Beach, May 13

Published 04/26/2017 at 6:03 PM PDT - Updated 04/26/2017 at 6:05 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Oregon Coast Bill Anniversary Kicks Off in Cannon Beach, May 13

(Cannon Beach, Oregon) – Cannon Beach will be the first town to kick off this year's celebration of the Oregon Beach Bill 50th anniversary – back where the fight began to make all Oregon coast beaches open to the public. May 13, 1967 was when a dramatic media event happened in town that laid the foundation for the bill signed later that year, and this May 13 is when the north Oregon coast burgh hosts a series of events and activities.

Oregon Governor Tom McCall staged quite the media moment that day, flying onto the beach on the central Oregon coast earlier with two helicopters and a team of surveyors and scientists in tow. Then, later in the day drawing his foot in the sand - quite literally - in Cannon Beach. The ensuing coverage by print, TV and radio resulted in overwhelming public demand for the bill.

A full day’s slate of activities are planned on Saturday, May 13 in Cannon Beach, including a variety of beach activities and recreation ranging from construction of a more than six-foot sandcastle by the master sand sculpting team Form Finders to beach bicycling and stand-up paddleboarding demonstrations. Cannon Beach’s Haystack Rock Awareness Program will be there to bring you up close and personal to the tide pools, with interpretive information that includes spotting scopes to view nesting Tufted Puffins and other seabirds on Haystack Rock. The North Coast Land Conservancy will offer a guided hiking tour on the beach from Haystack Rock to Silver Point with professional geologist Tom Horning.

The Gower Street beach access – the largest main access to Haystack Rock – will be the epicenter of numerous events, including a wide array of commemorative presentations by local and state dignitaries. The access will also soon be the site for a public art project related to the Beach Bill. The Gower entrance will soon be getting improvements that will include a kiosk where beach accessible wheelchairs will be available for mobility-impaired visitors.

On Saturday, events include a presentation and music by Slater Smith of Portland band The Weather Machine. The presentation will showcase the band’s collaboration with Oregon State Parks, a music video shot on location at nearly 200 Oregon State Parks.

The Cannon Beach / Beach Bill anniversary extravaganza wraps up the beachy fun with a public bonfire and free s’mores near the Gower Street entrance – approximately where the now-iconic photo of Governor McCall was snapped by the Associated Press on that historic day in 1967.

Before the Beach Bill, use of Oregon coast beaches was more of an unwritten understanding: that it was for public use all around. A legal battle that began in Cannon Beach, around the Gower Street access, really inspired the bill. In 1966, a motel owner attempted fencing off a portion of the dry sand in front of his property, which angered Oregon residents.

They quickly went to Oregon legislators where the bill was drafted, but it was met with indifference and soon even opposition, doomed to a quick death in the legislative system. However, Governor McCall's arrival by helicopter at Gleneden Beach and subsequent drive to Cannon Beach on that fateful day created such an enormous passion in the public for the concept that it was signed into law in July of '67.

These days, the Beach Bill is regarded as not only a noteworthy example to other states in the U.S. but it's well known to be one of the primary forces behind the state's thriving tourism industry.

This historic date in Oregon history coincides with this year’s Mother’s Day, making this a double-whammy of coastal fun.

For more information or a schedule of activities call the Cannon Beach Information Center at 503.436.2623 or visit www.cannonbeach.org/explore/beach-bill-celebration-in-cannon-beach-on-the-north-oregon-coast - Where to stay for this event - Where to eat - Map and Virtual Tour









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