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Newport's Jump-Off Joe Gets Dangerous, Oregon Coast Landmark Closed Off

Published 01/26/21 at 11:46 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Newport's Jump-Off Joe Gets Dangerous, Oregon Coast Landmark Closed Off

(Newport, Oregon) – Another famed Oregon coast landmark has been closed off to access after crumbling and becoming quite dangerous, the second in two months after the tunnel at Oceanside was shut down because of a landslide. This time, Jump-Off Joe at Newport’s Nye Beach abruptly reached a critical state, with chunks of the rock formation falling away and leaving the concrete remnants of an old condo project broken and unsafe to walk on. (Above: Jump-Off Joe today, City of Newport).

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According the City of Newport’s Casey Miller, it’s been two days of rather heavy landslide activity at Jump-Off Joe, the worst of which was today. Signs are now up on the beach as well as the area leading to the parking lot of the attraction.

“The public will be prohibited from accessing the area. This is a very dangerous situation with potential for additional landslides,” Miller said. “Public safety is the paramount concern at this time. Additional review by professional geotechnical consultants will be undertaken to both ensure all safety measures are in place and to examine possible next steps.”

Jump-Off Joe has for decades been a geologically unstable headland, with more and more of it getting whittled away by the tides every year. The condo remnants on top, which have served as a quirky lookout and oddball attraction on the Oregon coast, is one of many major examples. It’s part of a condominium project that was begun in the ‘80s after incorrect data and pressure on local officials resulted in its go-ahead. Before it was finished the condo project cracked. It was quickly abandoned and left behind were the funky remains used by those ogling the ocean.

This particular episode in Jump-Off Joe’s long, drawn-out demise began a little over a week ago, as new, larger cracks began to show rather suddenly in the concrete, and some square-like sections began to buckle and tilt at odd angles.

Then on Monday, it worsened quickly with much it of crumbling catastrophically. Miller initially sent out a warning about the new issues in progress that day.

Jump-Off Joe several years ago

“The landslide activity in the area known as Jump Off Joe (Old Condominium Site) in Newport has recently increased,” Miller said in a press release on Monday. “The County has installed warning signs and the City of Newport has cordoned off the area with signage prohibiting public entry. In addition, Oregon State Parks has placed signage on the beach on the north end of the site.”

Now, as of Tuesday, the structure is no longer traversable.

The first Jump-Off Joe, circa 1900

The history of Jump-Off Joe is a long and complex one, and this is the second structure in that spot to have that name. The original Jump-Off Joe was a large blob at the tideline over 100 year ago that had an arch that came and went, but it was a favorite with locals and visitors until it too seemed to melt into the tides by the ‘30s.

Meanwhile, this current Jump-Off Joe (it was named so in the ‘70s), was a sizable sandstone headland, which for a time had a large arch in it as well. Some famous photos occasionally surface of 1930s-era cars driving through it.

That arch crumbled with a major crash in 1994, and since then the headland has continued shrinking.

This entire cliff-line of Nye Beach is known for major landslides. Geology reports show it had lost as much as 500 feet since 1880, and one major event in the mid century took out 200 feet. MORE PHOTOS BELOW

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