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Three Unique, Even Trippy Aspects of Seaside on N. Oregon Coast

Published 07/31/20 at 5:54 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Three Unique, Even Trippy Aspects of Seaside on N. Oregon Coast

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(Seaside, Oregon) – For a good 140 years, Seaside has been the raging party on the Oregon coast. Starting back around 1880, it was the hottest destination for inlanders, holding onto that title ever since. (Above: Seaside's Ferris wheel).

In that time, the little town has seen enormous changes, many of them full of unusual aspects of varying degrees of surprise. Here are three trippy tidbits about the town you’re probably not aware of.

What’s Beneath Seaside. The north Oregon coast resort hotspot is really quite unique compared to other towns, at least geologically. With the vast majority of beaches, there’s bedrock lurking not far beneath the sands. In fact, when winter comes you can see this in a lot of places, like Newport’s Moolack Beach or McPhillips Beach on the other side of Cape Kiwanda.


In Seaside, however, the sands go an astonishing 150 feet down in some areas.

Seaside resident and geologist Tom Horning said the bedrock here is just like that of Cannon Beach: you can see that structure in winter down near Silver Point.

At Seaside, Horning said there are the obvious dunes that rise above sea level, but then things get interesting just below that with different layers of stuff.

“Then beach sands for 20 feet, then silty offshore sands down several dozen more feet,” Horning said. “Depending on where you are, these young sediments go down to nearly 100 feet below sea level.”

See the full story at What is Beneath N. Oregon Coast's Seaside? Trippy Geologic Answer.

Ferris Wheel at Seaside. Believe it or not, one town on the Oregon coast actually had a Ferris wheel. You’d think that was nuts in such a windy environment, and perhaps that’s why it hasn’t been utilized anywhere else.

The Ferris wheel in Seaside was operated from the early ‘50s through the early ‘80s, part of a little amusement park called Gayway Park. It didn’t hurt that it was only 50 feet tall, and they did not open it up to riders in anything but the calmest weather. What is not known, however, is how it was tied down during stormy days.

Gayway Park stood a little bit west of where the choo-choo train is on Broadway, on the same side of the street. It also included a roller coaster as well as other forms of fun.

Through the ‘60s and ‘70s it attracted a lot more teenagers, who were rather noisy and got labeled the “wrong crowd.” Noise complaints soared, especially from the apartment buildings right downtown. Eventually it closed, mainly because of the teenager issues.


When The Cove Fell Apart. It’s amazing to think a kind of natural disaster actually led to a really good thing. Case in point: when Seaside’s the Cove sort of fell apart.

Rather, a major landslide on Tillamook Head dumped massive amounts of debris into the ocean, drastically changing the landscape of southern Seaside, actually making it better. There was much, much less of the Cove area before 1987 – some 800 feet or so were added to it, starting that year.


In '87, boulders and other chunks of stuff wound up filling in a huge area near the cove, extending the cove by hundreds of feet. First, there was a big spit that formed, which locals gladly used to catch fish from.

It didn’t take too long, however, for the area between the spit and the shoreline to get mostly filled up, leaving a gigantic, dead tidepool which stunk for a time. Eventually, rocks and sand filled that in, and more width down the shoreline was added as well.

Before there was maybe 100 feet or so from the parking lot at Ave. U to the tides. Now, you’ve got several hundred feet of thick, grassy dunes and beachgrass there. The area immediately around the Cove also extended greatly: most of that sandy stretch you see now beyond the rocks was never there before. See more Oregon Coast Geology

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