Stay Eat Events Weather Beaches

The Cause of Explosive Growth, Widening of N. Oregon Coast Beaches Last Century

Published 08/22/21 at 6:42 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Curious Growth of N. Oregon Coast Beaches Last Century

Latest Coastal Lodging News Alerts
In Seaside:
Includes exclusive listings; some specials in winter
In Cannon Beach:
Includes rentals not listed anywhere else
In Manzanita, Wheeler, Rockaway Beach:
Some specials for winter
In Pacific City, Oceanside:
Some specials for winter
In Lincoln City:
Some specials for winter
In Depoe Bay, Gleneden Beach:
Some specials for winter
In Newport:
Look for some specials
In Waldport
Some specials for winter
In Yachats, Florence
Some specials for winter
Southern Oregon Coast Hotels / Lodgings
Reedsport to Brookings, places to stay; winter deals

(Seaside, Oregon) – Most people don't know this about the north Oregon coast: Seaside was once a much different landscape. Instead of all sandy and soft, it was rather rubbly and rocky, and had a fairly steep slope down to the water.

Yet out of the people that do know that, even fewer know that miles and miles of the north Oregon coast did not exist before about 100 years ago. Seaside's beach was around 700 feet shorter, and parts of Fort Stevens had nearly a mile added onto it around the beginning of the 20th.

The curious culprit of all this is the building of the jetties on the Columbia, along with the introduction of invasive dune grass species to stabilize the sands. Construction started in the 1890s and finished up about the early ‘20s, causing a massive shift in the beachscape in far less than 30 years.


Seaside then

Building the jetties greatly increased the rate that sand flowed and then was deposited in the area, and it also can – ironically – cause erosion in other places.



Seaside and Gearhart were affected immensely as well. All those fat, puffy dunes and that long walk to Gearhart's sands were not there back around 1900. Local geologist Tom Horning told Oregon Coast Beach Connection back in 2010 that as much as 2000 feet worth of dunes from east to west was created by those moving sands, and they've gotten as high as 45 feet.

Dune growth rates more than doubled after the turn of the century. Soon, according to Horning, dunes each year grew by around 35 feet and up to three feet vertically.

Scotch Broom was introduced to the area in the early century to stabilize dunes, and that helped dunes grow eastward as well, actually destroying grazing land on the north Oregon coast.

In Seaside, the difference in how the beach looked between 1900 and about 20 years later is remarkable. There was about 100 to 200 feet of it back then, and it had a lot of rounded stones. Now, it's sometimes over 1,000 feet from the Prom to the ocean and it's all soft sands.

Interestingly enough, Seaside would have that wild and untamed dune look of Gearhart if it didn't shave off a few layers of sand every year.

According to Horning, the tides are likely turning on all that collecting of sand, however. Erosion is happening more and more in these areas and it's possible the dune-building may stop and go the other direction.

Hotels in Astoria/Seaside - Where to eat - Astoria Maps and Virtual Tours


MORE PHOTOS BELOW






Gearhart

Curious Explosive Growth of N. Oregon Coast Beaches Last Century
Seaside from the air


More About Oregon Coast hotels, lodging.....

More About Oregon Coast Restaurants, Dining.....


Coastal Spotlight


LATEST Related Oregon Coast Articles

Unknown 'Oily Sheen' Off Oregon Coast May Be Behind Tar-like Mystery, Finds F...
Oil patches now as far down as south of Newport. Marine sciences
U.S. Travel Tips: More Reasons to Meander Around Manzanita, on Oregon North C...
A quiet but quirky sense of the laidback. Neahkahnie Mt., Nehalem, Wheeler
Mystery Oil Grows Along Oregon / Washington Coast as More Birds, Tar Found
Tar balls now found from Long Beach through Lincoln City. Marine sciences
Mussel Harvesting Closed on Part of Oregon Coast Due to Biotoxin: Cape Lookou...
Unsafe levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP)
Chasing Moon Halos Around the Central Oregon Coast and Their Connection to We...
Moon halos can be the harbinger of cold weather
More Mobi-Mats for Oregon Coast Sands at Lincoln City, Seaside
Lincoln City and Seaside have both added more Mobi-Mats. Travel tips, weather
Gold Beach: Two Cougar Sightings Concern for S. Oregon Coast Wildlife Officials
ODFW sent notice to residents to be on the lookout. Sciences
Devil's Churn on the Oregon Coast: Dangers and the Astounding Sights
In many ways, the name rings very true. Yachats, travel tips

Back to Oregon Coast

Contact Advertise on BeachConnection.net
All Content, unless otherwise attributed, copyright BeachConnection.net Unauthorized use or publication is not permitted