Waldport, Alsea Bay

Waldport, Alsea Bay

by | Jun 25, 2019

Waldport is a coastal community on the south shore of Alsea Bay, about 15 miles (24 km) south of Newport and 8 miles (13 km) north of Yachats, Oregon. Bayshore, a residential community, lies opposite on the north shore. Alsea Bay is an estuary formed by the Alsea River that flows 48.5 miles (78.1 km) through the Oregon Coast Range from the confluence of the North Fork and the South Fork Alsea River.

The name Alsea is derived from the name of the Alsi People (also spelled “Ulseah” and “Alsiias”), which historically lived at the mouth of the river. The Alsea River valley was settled by Europeans as early as 1855 when the name “Alseya Settlement” appeared on the Surveyor General’s map. Early settlers moved from the Willamette Valley into the Alsea River valley to take up donation land claims. The first settlers arrived on the coast by floating down the Alsea River in the late 1870s.

The name Waldport was derived from the German word “wald” for the forest. In October of 1879, David and Orlena Ruble laid out a rudimentary plat for the settlement, and the town was chartered in 1890 and incorporated in 1911. The townsite is an old Indian burial ground. A point at the mouth of the river south of town bears the name of Chief Yaquina John, one of the last of the Alsi tribe members. The history of Waldport integrates a hundred years of the timber industry, and although no sawmills remain, logging still supports the local economy. A railroad to Waldport was built in 1918 by the U.S. Army to cut spruce trees used to build airplanes during World War I. After the war ended the rail line was acquired by the C.D. Johnson Lumber Company, which used it to log an area south of town known as Camp One and when the logging was completed in 1935 the railroad was abandoned. The rail line once extended from the port docks to Toledo on Yaquina Bay and was the first reliable crossing of the Bay that did not require a boat. The first Alsea Bay Bridge was designed by Conde McCullough and completed in 1936, but the steel reinforcements eventually succumbed to exposure and the bridge was replaced in 1991. Read more here and here. Explore more of Waldport and Alsea Bay here:

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