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Coos Bay is a large estuary on the southern Oregon coast supporting several communities including the cities of Coos Bay and North Bend, Oregon.
Many Native American tribes claim the Coos Bay region as their homeland including the Coos, Umpqua, Siuslaw, and Coquille that lived in 40–50 historical villages around the bay. Coos Bay was largely isolated from early European settlers because the Oregon Coast Range and large rivers were formidable barriers to travel from the east. Visitors mostly came by sea, starting approximately 400 years ago when the British, Russians, and Spanish began exploring this coast. Notable visitors included Sir Francis Drake in 1579, George Vancouver in 1792, and Jedediah Smith on an overland expedition in 1822. In 1852 the schooner Captain Lincoln was stranded on the North Spit and the survivors' encampment and subsequent rescue brought attention from prospectors who came to mine gold from area beaches.
The rivers and sloughs provided transportation routes for people and products, and early towns like Emerald City provided connections to roads and railroads. Some of the industries in the area included timber harvesting, shipbuilding, farming, coal mining and salmon canning. In 1936, a bridge designed by Conde B. McCullough was built over Coos Bay to replace ferries that linked the Pacific coast highway. The economy has changed significantly in the last few decades from predominantly resource extraction industries to tourist and hospitality services. Read more here and here. Click here to download the CoastView app and explore more of Coos Bay and the Oregon coast.