Oregon’s Coastal Cities Slowly Reopen After Coronavirus Shutdown

By Steven Tonthat (OPB)
May 19, 2020 1:45 p.m.

It’s been two months since the state of Oregon shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. But now, many of Oregon’s coastal cities have slowly opened their businesses after Gov. Kate Brown allowed 31 counties to move to Phase 1 in her framework to reopen the state.

Phase 1 still maintains strict guidelines regarding social distancing.


Lincoln City's mayor, Dick Anderson, anticipated a fair number of visitors to come to town starting last weekend. But he said so far, it’s been relatively quiet.

This May 2010 photo shows people on a stretch of beach in Lincoln City, Ore.

This May 2010 photo shows people on a stretch of beach in Lincoln City, Ore.

Zach Urness / AP Photo/Statesman Journal

"There was certainly an increase in traffic in Lincoln City over the weekend. We had good weather on both Saturday and Sunday. So, that always brings people,” Anderson said.

Even with the increased traffic, Anderson said that he is still cautious about the well-being of Lincoln City’s residents, who are older than a lot of other communities.

“The concern will always be the health and safety. Masking up, cleaning, washing, social distancing, that kind of stuff. And that's going to take the public, kind of policing ourselves, and hopefully people not being rude and abrasive,” he said.


Not all businesses have been reopened along the coast. While many retail shops and restaurants have opened, short-term rental homes continue to remain closed.

For places like Lincoln City and Manzanita, short-term rentals are one of the biggest economic drivers.

“It’s the number two revenue generator for the city. Those funds ... get dispersed not only for marketing to the coast or trying to bring people to Lincoln City, but they get dispersed into police and streets and parks and the general fund,” Anderson said.

Manzanita Mayor Mike Scott said that he hopes to reopen short-term rentals the weekend after Memorial Day.

With Memorial Day weekend quickly approaching, both mayors are taking precautions to ensure the safety of the population of their cities.

“Seventy-five percent of our homes here belong to second homeowners. People that live either in Seattle or Portland or away from here. And we've asked them during this pandemic to stay away and most of them follow those instructions,” Scott said.

With the gradual reopening of some cities, Anderson and Scott believe many residents are hoping for a return to normalcy. But they caution that things could change drastically, and it’s up to the community to work together and be responsible.

“I think about seven or eight weeks of this stay at home order's about all most people can take and now people are anxious to get back to some sense of a new normal,” Scott said.

“I think at the end of the day, the message is, personal responsibility," Anderson said.

"You, as a senior — and I certainly am — you got to take care of yourself ... We've all made plans, but let's get through this, get it under control, get everybody or the majority of people comfortable, and then find that new normal.”