Friday, October 15, 2021

Drive-on beach access closures draw support, criticism

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Beach access closed Lincoln City

The extended closure of two drive-on beach access points in Lincoln City has sparked a conversation among residents and tourists, some for and some against driving on the beach.

Some residents have expressed concern about Resolution 2021-34, saying if the City can make the decision to restrict access to a public park (beach), then what is to stop them from restricting access to other state lands. Others are for the move, saying closing the beach to vehicles is the right thing to do and should be made permanent.

Interim City Manager Lila Bradley said she was contacted by Lincoln City Police on June 28, alerting her to a problem arising from 100-200 vehicles on the beach at the NW 15th Street drive on beach access. The issue stemmed from a historic Pacific Northwest heat wave that packed beaches. Bradley said emergency services could not get through and tow trucks were having problems pulling stuck vehicles out as the high tide came in.

Drive-on beach access Lincoln City

Initially, the council voted to close the beach access at 15th Street, adding in 34th Street in case vehicles went there instead. An extension of the resolution was recently passed to keep the closures for another two months until Sept 7.

Beach Access Closures

Councilors Rick Mark and Anne Marie Skinner both said they were against vehicles on the beach at any point, with Skinner saying the City should close the access points until the end of summer.

City Attorney Richard Appicello said intergovernmental cooperation was needed as Oregon State Parks controls the beaches and the City controls the streets leading to the beach. Skinner said having vehicles on the beach at 15th Street is a safety issue and that nobody follows the rules. She wanted the City to immediately start a dialogue with Oregon State Parks, something echoed by other councilors and Mayor Susan Wahlke.

Lincoln City Police Lt. David Broderick came before the council and said his department does not have the staff or resources to deal with problems arising from all the vehicles on the beach at NW 15th Street. Broderick said approximately 16-20 citations were handed out leading up to the closure.

“It’s a dire safety situation at this point,” Broderick said.

Councilor Mitch Parsons said he’s received “dozens upon dozens” of requests over the years to stop vehicles on the beach.

“It all comes down to enforcement,” Parsons said. “If State Parks won’t provide additional resources and LCPD doesn’t have the resources, then we have to act. It’s a matter of keeping the public safe.”

Oregon State Parks officials said:

“The beach rule allowing vehicles is still in effect, but a temporary closure for safety is allowed by those rules and the city let us know what they were doing and why.”

Barricades have been erected at the access points and the City Council will decide what happens next at a future meeting prior to when the closures expire on Sept. 7.

NW 15th Street closed to beach access How do you feel about the closures? Leave your thoughts in a comment below.

Justin Werner
I'm publisher of Lincoln City Homepage. Also the web guy, photographer, cameraman, video editor, sportswriter, tech support, beat reporter, cat trainer and e-bike enthusiast. I have a passion for telling people's stories and keeping my fellow citizens informed.

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  1. I have never been a fan of vehicles on the beach. My husband who has muscular dystrophy can only access the beach from a vehicle. Please allow beach access for disabled people as well as emergency vehicles. Everyone else can find lots of beach access by walking.

  2. Perfect picnic at Road’s End with bathrooms. Picnic tables all along the ridge for those who can not walk or are disabled. No one has mentioned this. Lots of parking everywhere.

  3. My wife and I chose LC as our regular vacation destination years ago and at one time were considering retiring here, but it seems to be turning into another political boilling pot where the general population is losing out to the ruling class and the great agenda.

    Where would you put another truly accessible area? Is there any low lying accessible ocean side property that isn’t houses or hotels. D river day use parking is completely inadequate, poorly maintained, and not monitored either. People with disabilities or medical conditions physically can not trudge through dozens of yards of dry sand once, not to mention a trip to the bathroom. Even staying in hotels have limited options that don’t include dozens of stairs, if you can afford ocean front.

    Fortunately Oregon doesn’t allow individuals to own the beach unlike some states, but the limited access in your city isn’t much different. As for charging a city fee to access a state resource your city already profits from, where would that money go? More sidewalks to nowhere?

    Maybe the state could add it to the day use fee system, though that is not likely to increase patrols.

    Consider restricting it to vehicles with disabled parking plaques or plates, post signs warning not to park below high tide with pictures of swamped cars. This would still require enforcement, do you enforce handicapped parking in any other part of your city?

    If you are going to close this permanently please work with the state to identify other truly accessible locations (D river is not) and post signs so people at least know where to go.

  4. This is such a divisive topic, but I definitely can understand why.

    Lincoln County has a total of two places that people can currently drive onto, and park on the beach. It is not intended for beach driving so much as parking.

    The original Oregon legislation to protect the beaches for the public did it by making the entire beach into a highway. Before Highway 101 the beach was the only “road” between some locations. So historically vehicles have been allowed on the beach.

    As for access, I have successfully driven onto and off the beach at both locations. I have also helped people stuck in sand at both locations. But the two locations are very different.

    NW 35th is not suitable for most vehicles. I have not (and would not) try driving into the beach there during the summer months (sand is built up in the summer and removed in the winter). Most of the complaints I have heard about this location are basically NIMBY complaints. People wanted to close that access as soon as they realised that it was open.
    Complaints I had heard were “It is illegal” (it wasn’t but the signage was incorrect originally), “You are ruining MY sunset” (the car was not in front of the sun, and not that big), “Children play there” (there were no children in sight at the time, and I have seen more children at 15th Street. Both drivers and pedestrians (including children) need to take care. The same as when children play on the road, or in parking lots.

    I have also heard that “Allowing cars there encourages drug and alcohol abuse”. I am not really sure how that works, as at least one of the people who complained to me about me (no drugs, no alcohol) was standing drinking a glass of wine. He had walked down to the beach access (with his bottle and glass), perhaps we should ban pedestrians because they encourage alcohol abuse?

    As for the 15th Street access. I live within two blocks of that access, and there are definitely times that we have used that access because my wife has limited mobility and so, while it is easy for me to walk down (and up) there, I have had to fetch a vehicle in order to get my wife home. The city now provides a beach capable wheelchair, but only one, and only at Taft, so that is very limited.

    I have to wonder how much of this is driven by the proposal to introduce parking permits. Cut back on parking, then claim that because there are now parking problems we really do need to introduce parking permits.

    Yes, people (myself included) live here, and tourists bring both benefits, and issues. But the beach is for everyone, and the ability to park on the beach at 15th definitely allows for better accessibility for everyone.

    When I have been on the beach and seen people parking outside of the “allowed” area I have called the non emergency police number and been told “We will tell them but they probably won’t do anything because they are too busy.”. I have also seen vehicles illegally parked on city streets for months in the past, as well as tourists parking on the sidewalk, and so on. Perhaps the city could have one or two parking enforcement officers so that the regular police are not impacted and yet they could actually enforce some of the regulations.

  5. oh, and one other thing to consider…..kick 100 – 200 cars off the beach then ask “where are they all going to park”…..most likely they’ll end up parked in front of your house…..all day, every day!
    think too about the traffic circling the blocks all summer long looking for parking spaces….you won’t be able to use jetty and harbor, 12th to 20th….they will be jammed up with tourists and cars all summer long.

  6. 363 miles of oregon coastline, and folks want to shut down 100 yds of public drive on access ?
    i don’t care much for the drive on accesses either, but i do believe that we need not allow “our” government to decide how our public lands are used.
    leave the 15th street access opened, in fact build a better, more useful public access for all that want to access the beach by car.
    more restrooms, picnic tables, more and better ada, easier access to water etc. close 34th street. that is an absolute disaster. no restrooms, insufficient garbage, very little space.
    those worried about littering, 4 wheeling, fights, i believe that cameras installed at that site would help to cut back on much of the craziness down there….keep our government from standing between us and our public lands !

  7. Beaches belong to everyone stop letting government take our rights away they are doing it little by little WAKE UP

  8. Absolutely make this closure permanent! As residents living on Harbor Ave, we deal with constant traffic, trash everywhere and over crowding on the beach. The beaches are for everyone to enjoy. It’s not enjoyable walking down on the beach and seeing garbage left behind , not to mention 100+ cars! It’s been very peaceful since the cars have been blocked! And it should stay that way permanently. It’s not just about tourism, people actually LIVE here!!

  9. No cars allowed also at the NW 34th Street entrance at parking lot with large saw horses with orange signs and sandbags. Any car that attempts to drive into that dry sand on the steep trail gets caught and can’t get out. People over the years have had tow trucks coming and going to get them out. We all stand and watch. Pathetic and stupid trying to drive in dry sand on a slope. Also, dangerous as children are there playing.

  10. This is just like the VRD problem, the city is only interested in the money
    tourists bring in, don’t expect a logical or fair solution to this issue.
    There is sympathy for the disabled, my father was disabled and couldn’t
    do a damn thing, that’s just life, it’s not always fair, or what we expected.
    80 million for the dumb urban renewal that was passed without a city wide vote- I don’t recall the city council thinking about an issue like this, just
    stupid ideas thought up by stupid people.

  11. I’m disabled with spinal cord injury and my husband takes me to beach as my main form of happiness, peace and recreation. An application with permit should be available. Local Joe is always on the beach to help tow and get people to follow rules. He could be paid as beach monitor or someone like that. Just shut it down, the all or nothing approach is unbelievable and unacceptable. Oh and the people talking about wheelchair access. I challenge you to wheelchair through sand or walk as I have to with canes, then have an opinion.

  12. IF our great city gov. would do away with some of the waist of money programs and projects that’s eating our tax $ up use more for Parks Dept. to enforce rules for beach access. How many really know the history of why 15st. access was designed and built to be used for and when? Should actually be used for emergency response only and handicapped.

  13. I support permanently banning motorized vehicles on beaches. It’s just like the hiking trails not allowing dirt bikes and ATV’s. It’s common sense. There are other ways people in wheelchairs can get to the beach; just go to one of those access points. Or hey, make the city build a wheelchair/walkway sidewalk down to the beach.

  14. A family member of mine who lives in Lincoln City is handicapped, making a walk down stairs or long pathways to the beach impossible. She goes to visit the sea regularly. The drive-on access is the only way we can experience the sand and waves together. Please find a better solution that keeps our beaches accessible to all.

  15. The Parks Dept doesn’t have funds to enforce beach access to the defined areas. The City controls the access points. Make the closures permanent, and make more handicap parking close. The 34th access is abused by the 4×4 club and is very dangerous to children playing along the stream. Please keep the access points closed.

  16. Agree with what most everyone says and I think it is good idea for handicapped vehicles only plus having overseers to make sure only handicapped exit vehicle to sand. If driver able to walk the vehicle should exit beach with driver return buy foot power not engine power. A lot of sand is drug up threw intersection at top of ramp making a road hazard. Plus I have almost been hit few times buy vehicles racing up the hill running threw the stop sign at top. Lets sum it up buy thinking about have’nt we destroyed lots on this earth already why not work on the beaches once there destroyed than wont have to worry about parking on beach. Has anyone seen vehicles parked on island beaches like Hawaii

  17. pay to park is ridiculous, Oregon beaches are all 100% public, and famously
    so, the only solution is to close beaches to vehicles for good.
    I’m sorry disabled people have to suffer for the sins of others, it’s all or nothing,
    when I see someone get out of a “monster” lifted truck that has a disabled
    parking permit, a vehicle many people would need a ladder to get into, I wonder just how disabled that person is, and I know other people see the same thing. Close our beaches to cars and trucks, and the problem is solved.

  18. My wife injured her knee and the 15th Street beach access is by far the easiest for us to access. As a local resident I want and enjoy car access at 15th Street. If you don’t like the cars there are lots of other places for you to go. Please keep vehicle access at 15th Street.

  19. Many, many times at ne 34th street entrance to the Beach Lincoln City, has had a tow truck to get the vehicle out. Too much sand and no one can ever get them out with shovels. People are always watching and wondering how crazy it is to drive down that entrance in dry sand.

  20. I was down there when the police had to close the ramp because there were to many vehicles and the tide was coming up. What I saw was not only the cars but about 30 pop up tents taking up a huge amound of parking. This was the problem at the casino access where first responders first tried to access the beach and were blocked by pedestrians. I dont see this as a problem with vehicle access as much as enforcement of where people can set up their camp once they get onto the beach. By closing the access to the beach for vehicles now their is no enforcement of keeping any access clear. At least those 15th Street Jeepers kept 15th street accessible to emergency vehicles. It was the only access not blocked by pedestrians or vehicles not because of the police, but because the Jeepers were down there getting cars unstuck and kept cars and people clear ofnthe ramp. Tow trucks were never present to pull people off the beach that day so I dont know where that statement even came from or why it was in the article.

  21. I like the idea of charging a road access fee to travel the short distance along NW 15th to the beach. Let’s say $5. A meter could be place by the public restroom so after people park, they input their payment and license plate number and are issued a proof of payment for their windshield. If on average, during the course of the day 50 cars used the beach (conservative estimate over a 12 hour day), $250 would be collected. On hot days, there might be 150+. This is a simple, market-based, and commonsense solution. Try it for a year and if it doesn’t work then try another approcach.

  22. This is just yet another case of a few jerks ruining things for everyone else.
    I have a disabled parking permit, so did my father, I haven’t been on the beach since someone’s brat kid nearly hit me with a rock, and his large “father” didn’t like what I said to his brat kid, who was putting everyone at risk.
    Part of the problem is that the city doesn’t look for places to make into viewpoints, with parking, this issue came up during the controversial Hullinger building permit issue at a city council meeting, the city council only reacts to issues, and doesn’t look for solutions, or think ahead.

  23. It’s not fair that we have to pay for what a bunch of people did that don’t even live here and are not affected whatsoever. I have physical limitations that prevent me from hitting the sand if not in a vehicle. Driving onto the beach was a dream come true for me. Why don’t we make the 15th Street Jeepers Club the security down 15th St and they only call the cops if they can’t handle it? Closes it down only in advance of summer holiday weekends so that craziness won’t happen! It’s horrible that those of us who already tolerate the crowded roads and rude drivers also have to lose our beach access. Don’t WE matter??

  24. Simply charge a “day use” fee to park on the beach that would provide the finances to provide an attendant to control the number of vehicles, where they park, that they take their garbage with them and that the clowns that are there to do cookies do it somewhere else.

  25. Private vehicles do not belong on public beaches. There should never have
    been any private vehicles allowed to drive on any public beach in Oregon,
    beaches are quiet places for people, not cars and trucks.
    All private vehicles should be banned for all time on Oregon’s beaches.

  26. Kudos to the city for taking action! It is a safety and trash concern. There are access points that provide beautiful sunset views and easier access for mobility challenged. I would encourage the city to further develop access points to support enjoyment for all while keeping our beaches vehicle free. This would keep on par with other state and national parks.

  27. We have visited twice in the last 6 weeks and both times it appears that it is more of a 4 wheel drive chromed out , look at my ride parking lot. I actually like the idea of being able to drive down on the beach, but it should not be an extended stay parking lot.

  28. This is incredibly sad that they should take away something our community has a right to, pays to maintain, and use. This should not stand. This community respects our beaches, hold the tourists accountable

  29. Please leave the beach accesses closed. The beaches should be left as pristine as possible. I understand the need for access for the disabled, up to a point. I’m sure ramps could be built, with parking spots for wheelchairs. As an older person I am beginning to develop mobility issues of my own, and there are places I no longer go because of it. I no longer can climb mountains, but that doesn’t mean we should put in an elevator to the top.

  30. There is 7.5 miles of beach associated with Lincoln City. There is 200 yards that are available for beach parking. Even though there are idiots that think that the driving rules no longer apply, you can say the same when they are on the street. The beach parking is no more dangerous than any other parking lot, when it is treated as such. How can the cars cause erosion when the sand that they drive on gets changed every time the tide comes in or when the wind blows? For those that think that the oil is an issue, what happens with the oil leaking on the streets? It goes straight down the drain system right in to that creek that you are letting your kids play in. There is no reason to close off access, but they should patrol it better. It has no more issues than SW 51st or D River Wayside, should we close those off too?

  31. There’s no need whatsoever for any vehicle other than rescue vehicles to be on the beach. It’s not good for the beach, not good for the cars. There’s the possibility of oil and other automotive fluids leaking on to the sand and going into the ocean. Please no vehicles on the beach except rescue vehicles!

  32. Allowing vehicles on the beach increases beach erosion. Park and walk to the beach or we won’t have one left. No cars on the beach!

  33. Closing the beach to vehicles is the right decision. All the cars and trucks make it look and feel like a trashy tailgate party. I hope the closure becomes permanent. The closure has had an aded bonus of reducing the use of illegal fireworks on the beach. Well done LC.

  34. Two years ago when Chinook winds had their celebration on the road, Beach 34th St. access a drunk driver drove up and almost hit pedestrians coming from the beach walking up to the street and a lady that was getting into her car in a wheelchair I have lived here 16 years and was shocked when they started Allowing vehicles to drive down as children play a lot in the stream is very dangerous and hazardous and we don’t need to vehicles down polluting our beach

  35. I believe closing the beach for vehicles should be permanent, trashing the beach and total disrespect to public safety is a strong problem there.

  36. Asphalt is for cars, sand is for feet. Just common sense not to have cars on the beach. It’s ugly, and disruptive to nature.

  37. There should be access for the disabled, but letting everyone down there was disruptive due to cars doing donuts on the beach with small children at risk, not to mention destruction of coastal environments, blaring music, underage drinking. I couldn’t even walk through that area at 15th because cars were parked so close to the rocks and across the whole beach, and throwing balls and frisbees in only available walking spaces. I thought I was on the Jersey shore. Make accommodation for the disabled. And make a few more public parking areas in LC and people can walk down.

  38. I have spent 13 YEARS walking along Jetty at 33rd st and have watched so many cars get stuck and those trying to dig out. STUPID. The cost of calling a tow truck can be up to $400 and that seems like a waste of summer vacation money just to drive down on the beach. Most people I have spoken to agree. Do not let them enter at this entrance. Walking only.

  39. I retired to Lincoln City. I am disabled and use a walker. I love that I can drive onto the beach and enjoy the sunset. I totally understand the traffic/safety issues. I quit going to the beach on the weekends, for that very reason–and avoid the tourists. It would be nice for those with similar limitations, if a compromise could be found… not an all or nothing solution.
    How about putting together a focus group to come up with ideas? I’d happily agree to join the discussion.

  40. I feel that closing it permanently is not the best solution because there are lots of people who can not get on the beach without driving. Maybe they have a wheelchair or bad knees and cant walk the long way across the dry sand to get to the wet sand where it is much easier. Thinking there needs to be funding for maybe a gate and it be open only certain hours with someone patrolling the area once every hour or two to check on things and issue citations

  41. I enjoyed using that access when my mother no longer could access the beach. Maybe change it so one has to have a handicapped placard on the vehicle.

  42. Definitely in favor of making it permanent. There is so much to see and do especially at 15th Street, and the cars are in the way. There’s also more trash in that area when the cars are there.


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