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Newport Celebrates 75th Anniversary of Vital and Iconic Bridge

August 9, 2011

Contact: Kim Voetberg, Visitor & Sponsorship Coordinator, Newport Chamber - 541-265-8801

NEWPORT, Oregon – It was constructed in 1936 as one of five bridges completed that year along the early Oregon coast, a vital connection to commerce then and the beginning of the largest portion of the state's tourism industry.

It's now a major icon for the coastal town of Newport – and the Yaquina Bay Bridge is turning 75 years old.

See Events Listing for Bridge Celebration

Shuttle Bus Schedule

A huge month-long celebration of the Yaquina Bay Bridge's 75th Anniversary will take place all over Newport, starting Labor Day Weekend and going until Sunday, October 2. The celebration will include various events and displays throughout the month of September, culminating in a 1930's-style Community Birthday Party on Sunday, October 2, from Noon until 4 p.m.
Yaquina Bay Bridge, Photo by Robert Smith
Yaquina Bay Bridge
click to enlarge
Yaquina Bay Bridge - [Photo courtesy of Robert Smith]

The Yaquina Bay Bridge opened for traffic on Labor Day in 1936, and was dedicated on Saturday, October 3, 1936. Because of this, the celebration will start slowly during Labor Day weekend – with the official commemorative events happening October 1 and 2.

Various celebrations – still to be announced – will take place throughout the month-long celebration. To kick things off, Rogue Brewery rolls out commemorative label on September 1. Over the course of the month, celebrations will include special programs such as historic walking tours, a photo contest, coloring contest, a booklet by the Lincoln County Historical Society, books on the bridge by Matt Love and Judy Fleagle, a bridgewalk, panel discussion and other fun features throughout town that will continue through the month.

Then the main event weekend happens October 1 and 2.

Saturday, October 1 features:

  • Farmers market until 1 p.m. on the City Hall lawn
  • Gallery showings in City Hall and the History Center's Log Cabin.
  • 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. is a panel discussion located in City Hall
  • 4 p.m. 6 p.m. is a history walk from City Hall to the Bridge
Sunday, October 2 features:

Sunday afternoon from 12 to 4 p.m. starts under the north side of the bridge between the bayfront and Yaquina Bay State Park. There will be a community picnic with 1930's-style dress (optional), food, entertainment and formal ceremonies. A bridge walk is scheduled to open the Sunday event with everyone meeting on the south side of the bridge and led by a collection of 1930's-style cars all of which ends at the field under the bridge where the main event will occur.
  • 11:45 a.m. Meet on the south side of the bridge for Bridge Walk.
  • 12 p.m. 1 p.m. Bridge Walk begins
  • 12 p.m. Entertainment and picnic begins (bring your own picnic - optional) under north end of bridge
  • 2 p.m. Formal ceremonies
  • 4 p.m. End of event
For more information on the event call Michelle at Instant Replay Sports at 541-265-9202.

Historic Facts About the Yaquina Bay Bridge

The Yaquina Bay Bridge opened for traffic on Labor Day in 1936, and was dedicated on Saturday, October 3, 1936.

Original dedication festivities included a parade and banquet and featured two destroyers, a squadron of seaplanes, the 7th Infantry band, and a company of soldiers from Vancouver barracks.

It was designed by famed architect Conde McCullough, who designed 600 bridges around the world, including many along the Oregon coast. He passed away in 1946 and was for many years a professor at Oregon State University.

The 3,260-foot-long bridge has two 350-foot steel arches, one main 600-foot steel arch, five reinforced concrete arches spanning up to 265 feet, and reinforced concrete deck girder approaches. Construction removed 19,830 cubic yards of earth and consumed 54,000 cubic yards of gravel, 96,191 lineal feet of piling, 28,021 cubic yards of concrete, 2,192,269 pounds of reinforcing steel, and 3,819,051 pounds of structural steel. (Courtesy Oregon State Archives)

Newport Marina photo courtesy of Robert W. Smith, Ph.D. Remainder of photos courtesy of 2008 photo contest winners and entrants, including Claire McGee, E Cutter, Sandra Snyder, Steve Salisbury, Mark Miranda and others.

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