State Land Board begins selling the tidelands to private upland owners. By 1901, about 23 miles of tidelands had been sold.
State Legislature declares the 30 miles of tidelands from the Columbia River to the southern border of Clatsop County to be a public highway.
Governor Oswald West drafts a bill declaring all of the tidelands from the "Washington line to the California line" a public highway. The bill protected the tidelands from private development and provided a transportation route up and down the rugged coast.
Oregonians use the beaches for transportation needs, recreation, industry and tourism. The beaches were especially used as a highway prior to the completion of the Coast Highway in 1932 and continued to be used as a highway after the Coast Highway opened.
Local governments become concerned about using the beach for recreation and transportation at the same time; some cities post speed limit signs due to safety concerns. Cars continue to be a hazard especially as tourism increases.
Parks and Recreation Division notes growing need for public access to beaches due to rapid private development and a need to address parking and sanitation problems.
Parks and Recreation Division begins beach access program creating public access points about every three miles along the coast.
Legislature changes designation of tidelands from public highway to public recreational area.
Private coastal developers begin questioning public access to beach-front property. A Cannon Beach motel owner erects a barricade around a section of his beach property creating a "private beach" for his guests. Concerned citizens begin complaining to then Secretary of State Tom McCall and State Highway Commissioner Glenn Jackson.
HB 1601 (The Beach Bill) is introduced into the State Legislature by the Parks Department and is assigned to the Highway Committee. Modeled on the concept of common law, the bill recognizes public recreational rights or easements to the dry sandy beaches all the way to the vegetation line. The Highway Commission is given authority to protect the public's rights. Conservative Republicans and coastal developers oppose the Bill calling it a threat to private property rights.
Motion to table the bill fails. A motion to send the Bill to the House floor with a do-pass recommendation also fails.
Committee Chairman Sid Bazett emphasizes the need for public support of the bill and Associated Press reporter Matt Kramer begins a series of articles about threatened beach access in Oregon. The media sparks intense public reaction and needed attention on the Bill.
Governor McCall and State Treasurer Robert Straub, both strong supporters of the Beach Bill, call for legislative action.
The Beach Bill remains stalled in committee with numerous amendments being drafted. A pro-Beach Bill group called Citizens to Save Oregon Beaches, led by Lawrence Bitte and Bob Bacon, threaten an initiative petition if the legislature fails to protect the beaches for the public.
House Speaker Monte Montgomery presents a new version of the Beach Bill establishing the boundary line between public and private at 200 feet landward from the ordinary high tide line. It is criticized by both parties, with Treasurer Bob Straub calling it "the most scandalous giveaway of public rights in this country."
Governor McCall and a team of scientists visit several North coast beaches via helicopter. They recommend the boundary be approximately 16 feet above sea level — which approximates the vegetation line.
House Republicans and Democrats begin crafting a bi-partisan solution. The compromise bill uses the concept of zoning instead of ownership. The Bill includes Governor McCall's recommendation of a 16-foot boundary.
After ten hearings, the Beach Bill reaches the floor of the House of Representatives and passes the House (57 to 3). It is referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee and approved by the entire Senate on June 6.
Governor Tom McCall signs The Beach Bill into law. The Bill calls for an entire survey of the coast to give the next legislature more precise data for a permanent zoning line. The Bill is immediately challenged in court by coastal developers.
The pro-beaches group, Beaches Forever, supported by State Treasurer Bob Straub, proposes an initiative locking the public's recreational rights to the beaches into the State Constitution. In addition, the initiative authorizes a temporary one-cent-a-gallon gasoline tax allowing the state to purchase private beach property and access to the property if needed. Measure 6 is defeated in the November election.
State Supreme Court upholds beach law in landmark Thornton vs. Hay case in which Attorney General Robert Thornton sues Motel owner William Hay for refusing to remove a fence on the beach outside his motel.
Governor McCall signs into law the amendments based on the aerial survey points called for in the original bill. Today the Beach Zone line approximates the vegetation line.