Coos Bay, Oregon

Coos Bay, Oregon
—  City  —
Location in Oregon
Coordinates: 43°22′35″N 124°14′14″W / 43.37639°N 124.23722°W / 43.37639; -124.23722Coordinates: 43°22′35″N 124°14′14″W / 43.37639°N 124.23722°W / 43.37639; -124.23722
Country United States
State Oregon
County Coos
Incorporated 1874
 – Mayor Crystal Shoji
 – Total 15.9 sq mi (41.3 km2)
 – Land 10.6 sq mi (27.4 km2)
 – Water 5.3 sq mi (13.8 km2)
Elevation 23 ft (7 m)
Population (2010)
 – Total 15,967
 – Density 1,451.9/sq mi (560.5/km2)
Time zone Pacific (UTC-8)
 – Summer (DST) Pacific (UTC-7)
ZIP code 97420
Area code(s) 458 and 541
FIPS code 41-15250[1]
GNIS feature ID 1166633[2]
U.S. Route 101 running through Coos Bay, Oregon in 2008

Coos Bay is a city located in Coos County, Oregon, United States, where the Coos River enters Coos Bay on the Pacific Ocean. The city borders the city of North Bend, and together they are often referred to as one entity called either Coos Bay-North Bend or the Bay Area. Coos Bay's population as of the 2010 census was 15,967 residents, which is the largest city on the Oregon Coast.[3][4]



Prior to Europeans first visiting the Oregon coast, Native American tribes claimed the Coos Bay region as their homeland for thousands of years.[5] Members of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, Siuslaw and Coquille tribes lived, fished, hunted and gathered along Coos Bay and its estuaries, along rivers, and in meadows and forests.[5] Approximately 400 years ago, British and Spanish explorers first approached the South Coast.[5] In 1579 Sir Francis Drake is purported to have sought shelter for his ship, the Golden Hinde, around Cape Arago.[6][7] Trader and explorer Jedediah Smith was in the region seeking furs and the Hudson's Bay Company sent Alexander McLeod to search for an inland passage.[5]

Nineteenth century

There has been a settlement on Coos Bay since 1853, when the town of Marshfield was founded there and named after the Massachusetts hometown of its founder, J. C. Tolman.[7] The first Methodist church in the area was established in 1857.[8] By 1866 the inhabitants, who were reliant on the sea for their income, had built the Cape Arago Light. The setting up of a post office in 1871 and the arrival of the Coos Bay Wagon Road in the town a year later connected Coos County with the Umpqua River valley in neighbouring Douglas County, on the other side of the Coast Range of mountains. This wagon road, although long gone in its original form, is still partially in existence since the route of Oregon Route 42 roughly follows the original right of way.

1869 saw Coos Bay set up its first, and the state's 48th, chartered Masonic Lodge.[9] Named Blanco Lodge, this brotherhood was set up by several of the town's founding fathers. With this development, the incorporation of Marshfield came in 1874. One of the nation's oldest still-operating machine shops, the Nelson Machine Works-Coos Bay Iron Works, was set up in 1888.

Twentieth century

Steamboat Coos, sometime before 1895, probably in or near Coos Bay, Oregon
Marshfield from Wireless Hill circa 1920

Prior to around 1915, The Coos region was largely isolated from the rest of Oregon due to difficulties in crossing the Coast Range and fording rivers, and the Pacific Ocean was used to link people to other areas, including San Francisco, which was an easier two-day trip compared to traveling inland over rugged terrain.[5] In 1916 a rail line was completed that linked the region to other interior settlements and towns, which increased commercial trade and tourism[5] Significant urban growth occurred in the 1920s, and during the 1930s to 1950s large-scale growth occurred.[5] Per the Oregon Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, during the 1930s to 1950s:

Shipyards contracted with the U.S. Government to build minesweepers and rescue tugs for World War II defense purposes. Large national lumber companies set up operations and expanded significantly for the next two decades. Jetty improvements, commercial fishing and crabbing shaped the development of Charleston. The completion of the Coos Bay Bridge (now McCullough Memorial Bridge) in 1936 and the Roosevelt Highway significantly improved modern transportation connections and provided the final link in opening the Coos region to the outside world. The formerly remote district known as the Coos Bay country had come of age.[5]

In 1902 the only lynching ever to be documented in Oregon occurred in Coos Bay, of Alonzo Tucker, a black man. He was accused of raping a woman. There is no record of his escape from jail. The only account is that he was caught by a mob of 200-300 people, shot twice and hung from the 7th Street bridge, which spanned present day Golden Field. No charges were ever brought to the mob. The newspaper at that time reported the mob was "quiet and orderly." Alonzo Tucker's cause of death was asphyxiation.[10][11]

By 1944 there was widespread discontent among the populace with the name of their town.[citation needed] Rather than keeping the name of a town in far-away Massachusetts, the residents voted to change the name of the town to Coos Bay.[7] Marshfield's name change to Coos Bay resulted from a 1943 consolidation vote among the residents of Marshfield and North Bend, and an unincorporated area between them.[citation needed] Marshfield voted for the consolidation and North Bend rejected it.[citation needed] In 1944, Marshfield citizens held a general election, adopting a new city charter and name, Coos Bay.[citation needed]

Twenty-first century

The worst loss of life for a fire department in modern Oregon history occurred in Coos Bay on November 25, 2002, when three firefighters were killed by a structural failure of the roof in an auto body shop. The accidental blaze paralyzed the city for several hours, with fire departments from several neighboring towns helping to try and stop the blaze. Captain Randy Carpenter, Firefighter/Engineer Robert "Chuck" Hanners and Firefighter/Engineer Jeff Common, all from Coos Bay, died when an explosion caused the roof of the building to cave in - they were on the 2nd Floor at the time.[12]

New Carissa

The U.S. Coast Guard intentionally ignited the New Carissa's fuel to prevent nearly 400,000 gallons of oil from reaching the shoreline.

On February 4, 1999, a Japanese ship named the New Carissa ran aground on a beach 2.7 miles (4.3 km) north of the entrance to Coos Bay, drawing international attention to the town. The New Carissa was empty at the time, heading for the Port of Coos Bay to pick up a cargo of wood chips. When the captain was told that the weather was too poor for the ship to enter port, he anchored his ship close by. The crew put out only one anchor, and it appears that this was probably on too short a chain to be effective. The subsequent US Coast Guard investigation found several other aspects of the ship's company's handling of the situation to have been poor, leading to the conclusion that human error caused the grounding. 70,000 US gallons (260 m3) of fuel oil were spilt by the vessel, with a further 165,000 to 255,000 gallons (625 to 965 m3) being deliberately set alight and burnt off by salvors later. The stern of the ship remains on the beach; the bow was towed out to sea and sunk after structural damage caused by the fire split the ship in two. As of June 2008, the wreck of the New Carissa is being cut into pieces and removed off the beach. The public support about this removal is not unanimous; some Coos Bay-North Bend citizens think it would be better to leave it as a tourist attraction.[citation needed]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 15.9 square miles (41 km2), of which 10.6 square miles (27 km2) is land and 5.3 square miles (14 km2) is water.


The Eastside district of Coos Bay was originally called East Marshfield for its situation on the east side of the bay. East Marshfield post office was established in 1891, and it operated intermittently until 1908, when the name was changed to Eastside. The community of Eastside merged with the city of Coos Bay in 1983.[13]

The Empire district was founded as Empire City in 1853 by members of the Coos Bay Company from Jacksonville, Oregon, and at the time it was assumed that the area would be center of the region. The company was formed after the discovery of gold in northern California and southwestern Oregon. For a time Empire City was the county seat of Coos County. The first post office in the location was called Elkhorn, which ran from 1853 until 1854. It was the first post office in what is now Coos County, though at the time it was part of Umpqua County. Empire City post office was established in 1858 and ran until 1894, when it was renamed Empire. In 1965, the city of Empire voted to consolidate with Coos Bay.[13]

The Bunker Hill district is located in the south portion of Coos Bay, starting with the bridge and extending to Bunker Hill school.

Englewood is the district in southwest Coos Bay, located west of Coal Bank slough.


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1870 250
1880 642 156.8%
1890 1,461 127.6%
1900 1,391 −4.8%
1910 2,930 110.6%
1920 4,034 37.7%
1930 5,287 31.1%
1940 5,259 −0.5%
1950 6,223 18.3%
1960 7,084 13.8%
1970 13,466 90.1%
1980 14,424 7.1%
1990 15,076 4.5%
2000 15,374 2.0%
2010 15,967 3.9%

2000 Census data

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 15,374 people, 6,497 households, and 4,028 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,451.9 people per square mile (560.5/km²). There are 7,094 housing units at an average density of 669.9 per square mile (258.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city is 90.75% White, 0.37% African American, 2.27% Native American, 1.44% Asian, 0.31% Pacific Islander, 1.35% from other races, and 3.51% from two or more races. 4.49% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race. There are 6,497 households out of which 27.1% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.3% are married couples living together, 11.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.0% are non-families. The percentage of male householders with no wife present is unknown. 30.7% of all households are made up of individuals and 12.9% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.29 and the average family size is 2.83.

In the city the population dispersal was 22.6% under the age of 18, 9.2% from 18 to 24, 25.2% from 25 to 44, 23.8% from 45 to 64, and 19.2% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 40 years. For every 100 females there are 94.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 90.8 males. The median income for a household in the city is $31,212, and the median income for a family is $38,721. Males have a median income of $32,324 versus $22,192 for females. The per capita income for the city is $18,158. 16.5% of the population and 12.7% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 21.0% of those under the age of 18 and 9.9% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Arts and culture

Museums and other attractions

Parks and recreation

Mingus Park, northwest of downtown Coos Bay, features a one-mile[17] walking path that circles a pond full of ducks and geese and a Japanese garden. An outdoor swimming pool is available in the summer months. An 18-hole disc golf course is located in the woods of the north side of the park, and a skatepark is in the southeast portion. In addition, there are swingsets for children in the southwest, and a softball field in the east.

The greater Coos Bay area has a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities, including the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, which brings approximately 1.5 million visitors each year.[18] Many visitors explore the 6,000-acre (24 km2) sand dunes on ATVs. The dunes' popularity has increased tourism in the overall region.


The City of Coos Bay operates under a council-manager form of government. The Coos Bay City Council is composed of a mayor and six councilors who are elected citywide to serve four-year terms. The council is responsible for setting policy decisions and they in turn hire a city manager to oversee the day-to-day administrative functions of the city. Coos Bay operates its own library, fire department, public works and police department. The fire department has two fire stations that are staffed 24 hours a day. There is a third station that is used to house additional apparatus.


The Egyptian Theatre in Coos Bay, Oregon

Public education


Coos Bay K-12 public education is served by the Coos Bay School District.

Higher education

Southwestern Oregon Community College offers two-year Associate's degrees and other academic programs.

Private education

Coos bay also has many private schools, many of which are religious and faith based.[19]



The Southwest Oregon Regional Airport is a public airport located in North Bend and the only commercial airport on the Oregon Coast.[citation needed]


Porter Stage Lines provides bus service from Coos Bay with several stops, including Eugene, which has connections with Amtrak rail services and the Greyhound bus network. Porter Stage Lines ends at Ontario, Oregon in eastern Oregon, and then reverses the trip.


Yellow Cab Taxi, Blue Moon Taxi, and Jerri's Taxi provide taxi service for Coos Bay and greater Coos County.[20]

Mass media


  • KSBA 88.5 FM (public)
  • KSOR 89.1 FM (public, translator)
  • KJCH 90.9 FM (Christian)
  • KMHS-FM 91.3 (high school)
  • K219CK 91.7 (translator for KEAR-FM)
  • KDCQ 92.9 FM (commercial)
  • KTEE 94.9 FM (commercial)
  • KTEE 95.7 FM (translator)
  • KSHR-FM 97.3 FM (commercial)
  • KYTT 98.7 FM (Christian)
  • KJMX 99.5 FM (commercial)
  • KJMX 100.3 FM (translator)
  • KVIP 102.1 FM (Christian, translator)
  • KYSJ 105.9 FM (commercial)
  • KOOS 107.3 FM (commercial)
  • KOOS 107.7 FM (translator)
  • KWRO 630 AM (commercial)
  • KGRV 700 AM (Christian)
  • KDUN 1030 AM (commercial)
  • KHSN 1230 AM (commercial)
  • KBBR 1340 AM (commercial)
  • KMHS 1420 AM (high school)



Notable people

Twin towns

Coos Bay has one sister city:[21]

See also


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h "Bay Area History". Oregon Bay Area Chamber of Commerce. Accessed September 2010.
  6. ^ Samuel Bawlf (2003). The Secret Voyage of Sir Francis Drake: 1577-1580. New York: Walker & Company; 1St Edition edition (May 1, 2003). pp. 363. ISBN 0802714056. 
  7. ^ a b c "History of Coos Bay". City of Coos Bay. Accessed September 2010.
  8. ^ First United Methodist Church, "Our History" - URL accessed 30 July 2008
  9. ^ Oregon Masons
  10. ^ McLagan, Elizabeth. A Peculiar Paradise: A History of Blacks in Oregon. 
  11. ^ Honore, Chris (June 22, 2005). "Oregon's dark hour". Ashland Daily Tidings. 
  12. ^ 11-25-2002. "Roof Collapse Takes Three Oregon Firefighters". Northwest NewsChannel 8 (report). Accessed September 2010.
  13. ^ a b McArthur, Lewis A.; Lewis L. McArthur (2003) [1928]. Oregon Geographic Names (Seventh Edition ed.). Portland, Oregon: Oregon Historical Society Press. ISBN 0-87595-277-1. 
  14. ^ Moffatt, Riley. Population History of Western U.S. Cities & Towns, 1850-1990. Lanham: Scarecrow, 1996, 208.
  15. ^ "Subcounty population estimates: Oregon 2000-2007" (CSV). United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2009-03-18. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  16. ^ Coos Bay Iron Works
  17. ^
  18. ^ Siuslaw National Forest
  19. ^ "Coos Bay Private School". Google. Accessed June 2010.
  20. ^ Coos Bay Yellow Cab Taxi (website). Accessed June 2010.
  21. ^ State of Oregon Economic & Community Development Department: Oregon Sister Relationships

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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