North Bend is one of several communities on Coos Bay, an estuary on the southern Oregon coast, about 22 miles (35 km) south of Reedsport and 3 miles (4.8 km) north of the city of Coos Bay, Oregon. Coos Bay is the largest estuary that lies entirely within Oregon with an area of about 10,000 acres (4,000 ha). The Coos River is the main tributary and enters the bay about 15 miles (24 km) from the Pacific Ocean. About 30 other tributaries directly enter the bay.
Several Native American tribes claim the Coos Bay region as their homeland including the Coos, Umpqua, Siuslaw, and Coquille that lived in 40–50 historical villages around the bay. Coos Bay was largely isolated from early Euro-American settlers because the Oregon Coast Range and large rivers were formidable barriers to travel from the east. Visitors mostly came by sea, starting approximately 400 years ago when the British, Russians, and Spanish began exploring this coast. Notable visitors included the Spanish sea captains
Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo and Bartolomé Ferrer in 1542, Sir Francis Drake in 1579, George Vancouver in 1792, Jedediah Smith on an overland expedition in 1822, and Alexander Roderick McLeod for the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1826. In 1852, the schooner Captain Lincoln was stranded on the North Spit and the survivors’ encampment at Camp Castaway and subsequent rescue brought attention from prospectors who came to mine gold from area beaches. In 1855, the Coos people joined with the Umpqua and Siuslaw to became a tribal confederation. In 1857, the U.S. Government forcibly relocated the tribes to Port Umpqua (now Reedsport), and four years later they were transferred to the Yachats Reservation where they remained until 1876 when they were relocated to the Siletz Reservation.
The rivers and sloughs surrounding Coos Bay provided transportation routes for people and products, and early towns like Emerald City provided connections to roads and railroads. Some of the industries in the area included timber cutting, shipbuilding, farming, coal mining, and salmon canning. In 1936, a bridge designed by Conde B. McCullough was built over Coos Bay to replace ferries that linked the Pacific coast highway. The economy has changed significantly in the last few decades from predominantly timber extraction industries to tourist and hospitality services. Read more here and here. Explore more of North Bend and Coos Bay here: