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Famed Tunnel on Oregon Coast Covered by Rockslide; Some Needed Rescue

Published 12/06/20 at 5:55 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Famed Tunnel on Oregon Coast Covered by Rockslide; Some Need Rescue

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(Oceanside, Oregon) – A much-loved piece of Oregon coast history was cut off from the public Saturday, as the tunnel through Oceanside’s Maxwell Point was covered by a sudden rockslide. (Above: still shot courtesy video from Netarts-Oceanside Fire District).

The rockslide briefly endangered several people who were on the other side, trapping as many as 12 in that semi-secretive cove.

Large chunks of rocks reportedly began falling shortly before 10:45 a.m., and then the big deluge came about 10:45, caught on video and posted by the Netarts-Oceanside Fire District. The noise was incredibly loud say witnesses.

Rescuers were concerned that it was an incoming tide and that the cove-like area would fill up and harm those still there. The U.S. Coast Guard was set on alert, but one group managed to climb up the cliffside to the road on Maxwell Point. The other remaining party was rescued by coaxing them through the three-foot-wide hole that remained after the rocks covered the majority of the tunnel. They were first given helmets and then brought through the opening one by one.

Officials say there were still some rocks coming down the hillside, which presented danger to those emerging and rescuers. The removal took about 25 minutes, say fire district officials.

No one was hurt in the incident.


Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) officials came and cordoned off the area around the tunnel. Normal protocol in these kinds of incidents is for OPRD officials to meet first and discuss any plans, perhaps making final decisions sometime after the meeting. The tunnel is closed indefinitely and there is no word on when or if OPRD will be removing the debris and opening up the tunnel again.

The tunnel is about one hundred years old, blasted through the rock sometime in the early 1920s by the Rosenberg brothers. They bought up the land just before 1921 and officially named it Oceanside on July 4, 1922.

In the early ‘80s, the tunnel was closed for quite a few years after a landslide completely buried the entrance. There have been other smaller incidents since then where the spooky Oregon coast attraction was covered up and had trapped other individuals as well.

Maxwell Point has been slowly crumbling for decades, bringing the edge of the cliff closer and closer to the motel building (now vacant) on top. More photos of the tunnel below

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