In 1967 Governor Tom McCall signed the Beach Bill with great fanfare, granting the public recreational access to the dry sands of Oregon’s beaches. The next episode in the OREGON EXPERIENCE series, “The Beach Bill” looks at this landmark legislation and how it set the stage for other breakthrough environmental legislation. Tune in to the stations of Oregon Public Broadcasting on Monday, November 12 at 9pm.

The fight to protect Oregon’s beaches from private development and “No Trespassing” signs began around 1913 when Governor Oswald West designated Oregon’s tidelands — the wet sand portion of the beach — as a public highway.

But in the 1960s, private developers along the coast began challenging the law saying that, in fact, the dry sand portion of the beach belonged to the upland owners. And, therefore, they could do whatever they wanted with the land — including putting up barricades to keep the public off their portion of the beach.   
What ensued was a fight to save Oregon’s beaches for public recreational use — all the way to the vegetation line. The battle erupted into the hottest issue of the 1967 legislative session.

Using archival footage of Governor Tom McCall, State Treasurer Bob Straub and many others, this documentary illuminates the events and issues that led to the Beach Bill, and tells the stories of people who worked for its passage.  

It is a story of conviction, passion and the vision to save the beaches of Oregon for future generations.


OREGON EXPERIENCE is an exciting new history series on OPB-TV that brings to life fascinating stories that help us understand who we are and that reinforce our shared identity as Oregonians. The series, co-produced by the Oregon Historical Society and Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB), takes advantage of the extensive film, video and stills from the archives of OHS and OPB, and draws upon the expertise of OHS researchers and historians. Each half-hour show features captivating characters — both familiar and forgotten — who have played key roles in building our state into the unique place we call home. Funding for OREGON EXPERIENCE is provided in part by Ann & Bill Swindells Charitable Trust, James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation and Oregon Cultural Trust.

About OPB

OPB is the state’s most far-reaching and accessible media resource, providing free access to programming for children and adults designed to give voice to community, connect Oregon and its neighbors and illuminate a wider world. Every week, over 1.5 million people tune in to or log on to OPB’s Television, Radio and Internet delivered services. As the hub of operations for the state’s Emergency Broadcast and Amber Alert services, OPB serves as the backbone for the distribution of critical information to broadcasters and homes throughout Oregon. Oregon Public Broadcasting is a statewide network that includes OPB Television, an affiliate of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), and OPB Radio, presenting local news coverage and the programs of National Public Radio (NPR), Public Radio International (PRI) and American Public Media (APM). The OPB Web site is