Despite its close proximity to Portland, its nearly half-mile stretch of broad sandy shoreline, and the fact that it's home to Oregon's second largest campground, Barview Jetty County Park remains relatively unheard of to most Oregonians.
If it was under the management of the state and known as a State Park, if it was more distinctly signed along US Highway 101, it's highly likely that residents from the valley would flock to this full-amenity coastal recreation site more often. The park is, however, well known and loved by locals, who might prefer its existence not to be broadcast. Its tranquil ocean views and 308-site campground keep them coming back year after year.
The Tillamook Bay North Jetty, from which the park's name is derived, has a surprisingly interesting history. Founded in 1906 and located on the Tillamook Bay spit, the town of Bayocean, Oregon was at the time the state's premiere coastal destination. It was envisioned as the "Atlantic City of the West." The planned resort was equipped with a heated natatorium (i.e., pool/spa), 1,000 seat movie theater, bowling alley, tennis courts and numerous other vacation attractions. But for tourists coming from Portland, the final access to the resort was through the bay, which at the time had no protection. The residents commissioned the US Army Corp of Engineers to study means to protect the bay from the coast's notoriously hostile waves. In the end, the recommendation was for the construction of two jetties, one on both sides of the bay's mouth, with an estimated construction cost of $2.2 million. The Army Corp of Engineers would build the jetties, but would require the residence of Bayocean to cover half the bill. Bayocean's residents deemed it too expensive to build both jetties, and despite the recommendations of the Army Corp of Engineers, the residents agreed to have only one jetty constructed. Thus, in 1914 construction of the North Jetty began.
The one-sided jetty proved to temper the waves, but it also began to erode the shore of the Tillamook Bay spit. In 1932, a strong coastal storm took out much of the natatorium in Bayocean, and with an annual battering of winter swells, the spit was reduced to a mere island by 1952. In 1965, construction of the south jetty began, but for Bayocen it was too little too late. In 1971, the town's last structure fell into the sea.
Today, with both jetties in place and supported by a constructed dike, the Tillamook Bay spit has grown back to resemble its original peninsula form, and Barview Jetty County Park resides on the bay's stable northern shore.