(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 March 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.
The Tillamook County Board of Commissioners is seeking public opinion on vehicular beach access and has opened a testimony period between October 5th and October 20th at 4:00 p.m. There are four ways to provide testimony:
1. Written: Tillamook County Board of Commissioners, Attention: Beach Access, 201 Laurel Avenue, Tillamook, Oregon 97141
2. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Online Survey: www.co.tillamook.or.us/beachaccess
4. Virtual Meeting: October 19, 2020, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
•Teleconference # 971-254-3149, Conference ID 736 254 979# (Audio Only)
•Individuals who would like to provide live testimony, must pre-register at www.co.tillamook.or.us/beachaccess. Those registered for live
testimony will be allowed two minutes to comment. Time cannot be shared with another attendee.
•The registration deadline is October 15th at 4:00 p.m.
•If you are unable to register electronically, please contact Isabel Gilda, Board Assistant, at 503-842-3403.
•If the number of registrants exceeds the time scheduled for the October 19th virtual meeting, the Board of Commissioners will convene a second virtual meeting on October 20th at 4:00 p.m.
•The Board will receive testimony in the order registrants are listed on testimony roster at www.co.tillamook.or.us/beachaccess.
•The meeting audio will be recorded and made available at www.co.tillamook.or.us/beachaccess.
When submitting testimony, along with your name and address, please provide a yes or no response to the following questions:
•Vehicle use should be prohibited at all four Tillamook County beach access points.
•Vehicle use should be allowed at Tillamook County beach access points:
oTierra del Mar (Sand Lake Road);
oCape Kiwanda Parking Lot (Hungry Harbor Drive); and/or
oPacific City Turnaround.
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. The state legislature would enact such a change. If the state undertakes administrative rulemaking, there will be additional public process and an official public comment period in the future.