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Kiwanda Coastal Properties Helped Start Oregon Coast Industry, Mixes Old School With New

Published 01/26/21 at 6:46 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Kiwanda Coastal Property Helped Start Oregon Coast Industry, Mixes Old School With New

(Pacific City, Oregon) – Back in the 1980s, the vacation rentals business on the Oregon coast was like the wild, wild west. Heck, it was likely even wilder than that. It probably took awhile to get to that wild west stage. Now, the industry is prevalent along these beaches, but way back then one company in Pacific City was one of the few at the vanguard of the whole concept. (Above: the La Playa home).

In the dim and distant past, a lady named Julie Spencer started a real estate firm called Kiwanda Coastal Properties in this part of the north Oregon coast. Her daughter, Nicole Twigg, now runs the company her mom started, and describes a region where the idea of renting out homes for people to stay in was new and novel.

“My mom started the business in the ‘80s; I don’t know exactly what year,” Twigg said. “A few years in, she started to rent vacation rentals because there weren't any in the area. It kind’a took off.”

Twigg said as her mom was selling homes around the area, she started hearing more and more about travelers coming in and wanting to rent homes, or owner of homes looking to rent theirs out. As various people began asking about this with increasing frequency, she decided to dive in and test the waters.

“Soon she realized it is not in her nature to be in hospitality,” Twigg said with a laugh. “So she had a bunch of managers. She was more into the real estate side.”

Beach Dreamer #180 home at Kiwanda Coastal Properties

That real estate portion of Kiwanda Coastal Properties is still thriving, but the rental side is the monster. Growth has been extraordinary over the decades.

Twigg started working in the office in high school in the early ‘90s, then left for awhile, returning in 2008. She took over the whole shebang in 2010. She’s watched the industry change rapidly since.

“It’s pretty consistent growth,” Twigg said. “When I took over that’s when it went from being a cottage industry like a mom and pop operation to some big firms that came out around 2011. That’s made it a lot more competitive: more mainstream instead of an alternative situation. It is still a bit on the fringe, but with companies like Air BnB it’s become more traditional. The whole country has gone crazy with it. Since I started to now it’s a whole different ballgame.”

Part of the success of Kiwanda Coastal Properties, Twigg said, is her ability to remain local and independent. It’s all a bit more personal, but it goes beyond that. She works closely with local tourism entities like Tillamook Coast, and staying close-to-home has resulted in god relationships with local contractors, so if something breaks it can be fixed a little faster.


The Lighthouse home

Then there are the homes Twigg and her crew offer. True, there’s plenty of lovely, soaring delights that run the gamut from quaint cottages to beautiful beach mansions, enough to make any Oregon coast visitor pleased to giddy. But beyond the normal, expected fare there are some quirky, unique delights in there as well.

One, an oceanfront house at Tierra Del Mar called The Lighthouse, has been in their roster forever. Twigg said for decades it had been a “funky, weird A-frame.” While not higher-end, it had its cult following. Now it’s been “boutiqued out” as she put it, and it’s a stunning display of unique architecture and fanciful, more upscale interior.


Ocean Sands home

Still among the individualistic is the beach cabin Ocean Sands. Rustic and downhome, it’s not for everyone, Twigg admits, but there are plenty that love its old Oregon coast vibe such as brick floors and its location actually in the sands.

Other highlights include the Beach Dreamer, where colorful walls bring out the panoramic ocean views, all with a vibe of a giant wood cabin. It’s indeed dreamy. Pacific City, Oregon. 503-965-7212. Website here (More photos below)

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