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Quirky, Mysterious Sides of Depoe Bay Emerge with New Little Oregon Coast Parks

Published 06/17/2019 at 5:53 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Quirky, Mysterious Sides of Depoe Bay Emerge with New Little Oregon Coast Parks

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(Depoe Bay) – You may be seeing double as you approach some Depoe Bay parks these days. And in fact, there are a lot of new little parks in the central Oregon coast town. (Above: the tiny secret park on Coast Ave.)

See the Depoe Bay Virtual Tour for complete info on most of these parks

Something quirky this way comes, when it comes to the little hangouts the tiny burgh has installed in recent years. Some parts are somber, however, while much of it will simply come as a surprise.

In doing research on the names of two cliffside viewpoints in town, Oregon Coast Beach Connection ran into a puzzle. It seems two spots have the same name. Both have the handle Depoe Bay Scenic View Area – at least according to the hand-etched rocks laying beside their entrances.

One is the tiny hidden park that was installed about 2016 along Coast Ave., about a block down from the fire station. This is a tiny road that darts off along the oceanview cliffs, then dead-ends rather quickly. Along the bushes, in between a couple of oceanfront homes, you’ll see a stairway and the rock signage. Another 30 feet through a foliage tunnel and you come out into a small clearing with a bench and a lovely view.


The entrance to North Point: a park is a park by any other name....?

The other spot with the same name is at the big hidden area generally known as North Point. It sits behind the neighborhood behind Vista St. at the north end of town. There are actually three different accesses to the wild cliffs, but one has an etched rock with the name Depoe Bay Scenic View Area.

The trick here, according to city superintendent Brady Weidner, is that they don’t officially have names. North Point has been known as that for decades, even if it’s not officially so on any map. And the tiny park on Coast Ave. is simply nicknamed the “Graham St. Park” by city officials, so they know which area everyone is referring to.

Essentially they don’t have official names. It seems, Weidner said, it’s just never happened. It’s a little like the Oregon coast’s version of the first three Peter Gabriel albums after he left Genesis in the ‘70s: all three simply had the title Peter Gabriel (but they were nicknamed according to their album covers, such as the third one is known by fans as “melty face.”)

It’s a bit of a mystery, according to Weidner.

Then, it turns out, the town has been sprouting a host of other little parks, these with some official names – and sometimes an odd story.

The stretch between Depoe Bay’s seawall and the area around the Tidal Raves restaurant has had a few new faces in recent years with three new micro parks. On the somber side is the Katie Roe Memorial Park, in honor of the 22-year-old girl who apparently fell into the sea in 2017. There’s a small rock with her name etched in it and a memorial bench.

Another mini park was installed in a green space that sits just below the highway.

“It’s kind of nice,” Weidner said. “You can’t hear the highway as much from there.”

Like its twin on the other side of the house between the two (there has been another semi-secretive park there for decades), this one has two viewing benches. Called Tsunami Park, there are steps and a railing dipping below the sidewalk to the grass. The steps are made from wood that comes from one of the docks damaged in the tsunami wave that swirled around the bay 2011.

Then there’s Cat Lick Park, originally known as Cat Lick Rock Park. It’s a simple grassy area overlooking the ocean with that goofy sign.

What does that mean?

According to Weidner, it’s a kooky tale that came about because of city discussions on how to enhance the look of the rock signage. They originally wanted a lot of moss to grow on the rocks, and ideas were thrown around on how to achieve this, including encouraging moss to grow. Someone suggested pouring buttermilk on the rock.

“Then, someone said: ‘If you pour buttermilk on it you’ll have every cat in the neighborhood licking it,’ “ Weidner said.

Thus the name simply stuck. It’s become a bit of a fascination on the internet as well, with some actually discovering the correct origin.

It's also noteworthy that the people who carved the rocks go by the company name Old Stoners.

You may notice other tiny, nondescript viewpoints and parks as well. One sits behind the Depoe Bay Chamber building at the beginning of Coast Ave., not far from where that little, aforementioned park sits. There’s simply a memorial bench there and an astonishing view.

This spot has no name, but the bench is part of a program of memorial benches. Weidner said there are other memorial benches available in Depoe Bay. Call Depoe Bay City Hall for the details: 541-765-2361. Hotels in Depoe Bay - Where to eat - Depoe Bay Maps and Virtual Tours

 




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