COUNTY SEEKS PUBLIC OPINION ON VEHICULAR BEACH ACCESS
(TILLAMOOK, OR. October 5, 2020) The COVID-19 pandemic and Oregon Governor Kate Brown’s Emergency Stay-at-Home Order prompted the Tillamook County Board of Commissioners’ emergency closure of vehicle access to county beaches in July 2020. Since that time, the Board has received public interest favoring a permanent closure.
Tillamook County tourism continues to grow rapidly, overloading the county’s capacity to manage the increasing number of visitors. The tidal wave of tourists overloads beaches with vehicles and enforcement agencies, like the Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, lack the capacity to patrol. Additional resources assigned to increase patrol take away from serving and protecting the rest of the county.
Oregon beaches were historically designated as highways before an extensive road system provided a means to travel from one destination to another. Times have changed; there are now more cars and beaches are no longer used for traveling.
October 21, 2020 update: The Tillamook County Board of Commissioners received almost 1,000 written public comments on vehicular beach access from October 5 - 20, 2020. We gathered input through an on-line survey, emails, and letters. The on-line survey responses have been compiled and can be viewed here.
A Virtual Public Meeting was held on Monday, October 19, 2020; listen to the Audio Recording.
This process is not intended to pursue change to beach access for boaters to park and launch, as is currently allowed under Oregon Administrative Rules. The Board of Commissioners has not received public interest in such a change.
After reviewing all public testimony, the Board of Commissioners will consider whether to request the Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission initiate a statewide process to amend the Oregon Administrative Rules governing vehicular beach access. If the state undertakes administrative rulemaking, there will be additional public process and an official public comment period in the future.
For more information, please contact the Board of Commissioners' Office at (503) 842-3403 or PublicComments@co.tillamook.or.us.