Oregon International Port of Coos Bay
Review and History

The Oregon International Port of Coos Bay is located in southwestern Oregon near North Bend, Eastside, and Charleston, all of which lie on the shores of Oregon’s Coos Bay. The Port of Coos Bay is the biggest harbor between San Francisco and Washington’s Puget Sound, and it is Oregon’s second largest center for maritime commerce.

Port History

Some say that Sir Francis Drake found shelter in the Port of Coos Bay in 1579. But when fur trappers first visited the area in the early 19th Century, they found a confederation of indigenous peoples that included the Coos, Siuslaw, and Lower Umpqua peoples.

J. C. Tolman first settled the area in 1854, establishing the village of Marshfield there. With a sheltered harbor amid great forests, the city soon became an important lumber-shipping port, and the shipbuilding industry sprang up quickly. Mansfield was renamed Coos Bay in 1944.

The first automobile arrived in the Port of Coos Bay in 1908, traveling over the Coos Bay Wagon Road. In 1916, the Southern Pacific Railroad came to town, linking the town to Eugene and the west coast. Life progressed smoothly for the community throughout the 20th Century, and by 2007, almost 16 thousand people called it home.

The 21st Century brought tragedy to the Port of Coos Bay. In 1999, the Japanese ship New Carissa ran aground three miles north of the mouth of Coos Bay, spilling 70 thousand gallons of fuel oil. The stern of the ship still lies on the beach. Then in 2002, three Port of Coos Bay firefighters were killed when the roof of a burning auto body shop collapsed.

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