Newport Celebrates the 75th Anniversary of the Vital and Iconic Yaquina Bay Bridge

Yaquina Bay Bridge ca 1936
Photo courtesy of Lincoln County Historical Society

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.

A huge month-long celebration of the Yaquina Bay Bridge’s 75th Anniversary will take place all over Newport, starting Labor Day Weekend and continuing 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.

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