Beach Bill

About the 1967 Beach Bill

This video compiles interviews from previous oral histories. Excerpts of interviews from Rep. Paul Hanneman, Janet McLennan, Rep. Roger Martin and Chief Justice Wallace Carson are used. Together, they tell the history behind Oregon’s 1967 Beach Bill (House Bill 1601).
Glenn Jackson, the Chair of the Oregon Highway Commission, first requested introduction of the bill. In 1913, Governor Oswald West had claimed the wet sand portion of beaches public. However, in 1966, concern arose when a motel owner in Cannon Beach blocked off the dry sand area in front of the motel.

“The controversies especially arose over the difficulty of defining the limits of those lands,” said Janet McLennan. Importantly, the Beach Bill identified the public beach portion of Oregon’s coast as a 16-foot level. This was approximately the level of the vegetation line.

House Bill 1601, “The Beach Bill,” passed the legislature in June of 1967. Governor Tom McCall later signed it into law on July 6.

Janet McClennan noted, “Though the beaches are protected according to the law in Oregon, they’re not protected from legislative tampering, and people must be continually watchful about that.” The Beach Bill remains a piece of legislation that protects the beauty and landscape of Oregon’s coast for future generations.