|Coos Bay Boardwalk, Oregon. (Julianne G Crane)|
Coos Bay is the largest city on the Oregon Coast and celebrates its history in shipbuilding, lumber products, tradition as the regional hub and hometown to running legend Steve Prefontaine. This scenic community is surrounded by “a beautiful bay, lush emerald forests and the mighty Pacific Ocean” and offers a wide variety of outdoor activities.
|Coos Bay Visitor Information Center (Julianne G Crane)|
Start your tour of Coos Bay at the
Visitor Information Center, 50 Central Ave. (Hwy.101); (541) 269-0215.
Hours: Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday – Sunday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Winter: no hours on Sunday. Parking lot. Public restrooms.
The Visitor Center is directly across the street from the Coos Bay Boardwalk and City Docks. The Boardwalk features “historical displays of the area’s maritime and wood products history.”
Historic Walking Tour: There is a great little pamphlet that lists a number of attractions and buildings that are within about a five-block square area of the Visitor Center. Where I spent an hour or so is the Coos Art Museum.
|Coos Art Museum. (Julianne G Crane)|
Coos Bay, OR 97420
Tues – Fri: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sat: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Closed: Sun-Mon and all major holidays.
Oregon’s 3rd oldest Art Museum is housed in the historic art deco former-U.S. Post Office “built in 1934-35 as a WPA project … On 1/1/85 it reopened as the museum.” The CAM features a regular schedule of exhibits, art classes, lectures and community events. The Collection of Contemporary Art rotates on display throughout the year.
|Steve Prefontaine (NikeRunning.com)|
Steve Prefontaine Gallery
On the second floor of the Coos Art Museum is a room “dedicated to the short life and brilliant running career of Coos Bay native” and international track star Steve Prefontaine.
This small gallery includes the shoes “Pre” wore while running the race in which he set his first American record. The 5,000-meter race took place on July 3, 1971. Pre’s time was 13:30.4. “Pre held eight long-distance running records. Runners from all over the
world know about Pre’s accomplishments,” states CoosArt.org.
“During his brief 24-year lifespan, Steve Prefontaine grew from hometown hero, to record-setting college phenomenon, to internationally acclaimed track star,” according to PrefontaineRun.com. He ran in the Olympic Games held in Munich, 1972, however, he died in an automobile crash in 1975, before he could race in the 1976 Olympics. “Pre has become the stuff of enduring legend.”
Major Coos Bay events:
September: 10K Prefontaine Memorial Run.
Oct. 9-Dec. 5, 2015 — Coos Art Museum
“JUXTAPOSED: Installation Art”
Renee Couture, Dani Dodge, Allison Hyde & Karin Richardson. The exhibit focuses on contemporary women artists, all with strong ties to Oregon. These artists have a history of producing challenging and thought-provoking works through installation and experimental media.
November: Santa arrives by tugboat. Friday after Thanksgiving.
December: Annual holiday lights display at nearby Shore Acres State Park.
– For up-to-date information on Coos Bay and the surround region, click on: Oregon’s Adventure Coast
– For information on RV parking at The Mills Casino and RV Park, click here for an item posted on RVWheelLife.com