Sunday, February 1, 2015

Bayocean Lots in the Pacific Ocean

Several books, journals, and newspaper articles report individuals still owning lots purchased when Bayocean was a thriving resort town in the early 1900s, but that now are located in the Pacific Ocean. I wondered if this was still the case,and what the tax assessments were.

Perusal of documents and maps available online at the Tillamook County Assessor's web page page shows there are indeed 46 private tax lots (not including county and federal) still owned by 43 individuals, trusts, or corporations, located in "Bayocean Park". It appears that only 12 of these lots are on land. The other 34 lots are in the Pacific Ocean. 

On page 120 of Bayocean: The Oregon Town that Fell Into the Sea (1999) Bert and Margie Webber reported owners explaining "their lot was willed to them 'and it wouldn't be right to part with it.'" Unsettled estates held some property. A few people were willing to pay the small annual tax just because of emotional attachment. Bert's son Dale recently told me by phone that folks Bert called were insulted when he asked them if they realized the land they were paying taxes on was in the ocean. Of course they did: asking the question implied Bert thought they were stupid. He quit calling. Some thought the land might some day rise again from the ocean and be cherished by their descendants, because since the south jetty construction substantial accretion of sand was rebuilding the beach.

Today, maintaining a Bayocean lot for emotional reasons doesn't cost anything because Tillamook County now values most lots at zero, even those on land. The Summary Report for many of the lots in the Pacific Ocean include this note: "EXEMPTION: WEST OF VEG LINE, ALL 307.450". One exception is Bay Ocean LLC, the company that proposed an eco-park; and it's only paying $18.75 per yearfor the 53 acres it owns. 

The map below is from the Tillamook County Assessor's web page. It shows lots in the ocean that are located west of what is now the beach connecting Bayocean spit to Cape Meares, parallel to the Dike Road. The jagged, dotted line roughly approximates the modern shoreline. Addition maps cover property ownership on Bayocean norht of this. Posting them all would take up too much space.

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