Lighthouses of the United States: Oregon

The U.S. state of Oregon is located on the Pacific coast north of California. Almost all of its coastline is steep and scenic, and the lighthouses are generally built on spectacular headlands. Protected harbors are very scarce. The most important harbor facilities are on the Columbia River, which forms the northern border of the state. In all, there are 12 lighthouses, two of them built privately. In addition, the lightship Columbia is preserved at Astoria.

The Oregon Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society supports all the state's lighthouses, and there are local preservation groups active at many of them.

Navigational aids in the United States are operated by the U.S. Coast Guard, but ownership (and sometimes operation) of historic lighthouses has been transferred to local authorities and preservation organizations in many cases.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from Volume G of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. USCG numbers are from volume 6 of the U.S. Coast Guard List of Lights.

General Sources
Oregon Lighthouses
From Kraig Anderson, excellent photos and historical accounts.
Online List of Lights - U.S. West Coast
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
Lighthouses in Oregon
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
World of Lighthouses - Northwest Coast of U.S.
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Lighthouses in Oregon, United States
Aerial photos posted by Marinas.com.
Coast Guard Lighthouses - Oregon
Historic photos with notes.
Lighthouse Getaway: Oregon Lighthouses
Excellent photos and brief descriptions from Bill Britten of the University of Tennessee.
Oregon Lighthouses
A tourist-oriented site posted by NWCoast.com.
Leuchttürme USA auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.

Yaquina Head Light
Yaquina Head Light, Newport, May 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Larry Eiring

Curry County Lighthouses
Pelican Bay (Port of Brookings)
1997. Active (privately maintained); focal plane 141 ft (43 m); three white flashes every 19.5 s. 40 ft (12 m) octagonal wood tower attached to a 2-story wood residence. Lighthouse painted white, lantern black. Trabas has an excellent photo by Michael Boucher, Lighthouse Explorer has a good photo by Pat Schwope, Gino Vivi has a photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view and a distant street view. The house was built by Bill and JoAnn Cady in 1990, but it only became a working lighthouse after both house and tower were relocated to their present location in 1997. Located on a bluff off Oceanside Drive and above the Beachfront Inn in Harbor, about 1/2 mi (800 m) southeast of the harbor entrance. Site and tower closed (private residence). Owner/site manager: private. ARLHS USA-1005; Admiralty G4423; USCG 6-0570.
*** Cape Blanco
1870. Active; focal plane 245 ft (75 m); white flash every 20 s, day and night. 59 ft (18 m) brick tower attached to a workroom. The lighthouse has an unusual rotating Henry LePaute Fresnel lens (1936), larger than 2nd order but smaller than 1st order. Lighthouse painted white with black trim; lantern roof is red. The keeper's house has been demolished, but there is a modern visitor center. A photo is at right, Trabas has a good photo by Klaus Potschien, Wikimedia has photos, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view and Joey Rozier's closeup street view. This is Oregon's oldest and westernmost lighthouse. In 2003, the Bureau of Land Management carried out a $220,000 restoration of the lens and lighthouse; $40,000 of the cost was covered by visitors' donations. The Cape Blanco Heritage Society works for maintenance of the light station and has a web page for the lighthouse. The light station is adjacent to Cape Blanco State Park (camping available). Located at the end of Cape Blanco Road about 5 miles (8 km) northwest of Sixes. Site open (free), tower open to guided tours daily except Mondays, April through October (small charge). Owner: U.S. Coast Guard. Site manager: U.S. Bureau of Land Management (Coos Bay District). ARLHS USA-107; Admiralty G4432; USCG 6-0595.

Coos County Lighthouses
*** Coquille River (Bandon)
1896 (Carl Leick). Inactive since 1939 (a decorative solar-powered light has been displayed since 1991). 40 ft (12 m) stucco-clad brick tower attached to an unusual "Victorian Italianate" fog signal building. Lighthouse painted white, lantern and gallery black. The keeper's house has been demolished. Chris Carr has a 2008 photo, Wikimedia has photos, the Coast Guard has a small historic photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view and Joey Rozier's distant street view. Lighthouse Digest covered the 100th anniversary of the light station in 1996. The lighthouse was restored beginning in 1976 by Oregon State Parks. However, violent weather in the early 2000s damaged the site, and a new restoration effort was launched. Progress was slow, however, and in 2005 there was fresh concern about the poor condition of the building. In 2007, restoration was finally completed by Oregon State Parks; a July 2007 photo by Dennis Fones shows the work in progress. In 2010-11 there was additional work to replace the windows in the lighthouse. Located at the end of Park Road, off US 101 on the north side of the river entrance opposite Bandon. Site open, fog signal room open daily, tower open April through October (free). Owner: Oregon State Parks. Site manager: Bullard's Beach State Park. ARLHS USA-194.
Cape Blanco Light
Cape Blanco Light, Port Orford, June 2006
Flickr Creative Commons photo by redgum

Cape Arago (Cape Gregory) (3)
1934 (station established 1866). Inactive since 2006. 44 ft (13.5 m) octagonal cylindrical concrete tower attached to a 1-story concrete fog signal building; solar-powered VRB-25 aerobeacon. Lighthouse painted white, lantern black; roofs of the building and the lantern are red. Sibling of the Point Robinson Light in Washington. The original 4th order Fresnel lens is displayed at the North Bend Coast Guard Station. The FA 232 fog horn remains in use. NOAA C-MAN automatic weather station. A 2008 photo is available, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Wikimedia has historic photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse replaced a 1908 building that remained in use as the keeper's house until it was demolished in 1957. The building was painted and repaired in 1998, but the light was deactivated on New Year's Day 2006. Local Indian tribal groups have been maintaining the lighthouse grounds and have expressed interest in working with other local groups to restore and reactivate the lighthouse. In 2008, Congress passed an act transferring the light station to the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians. The transfer took place in August 2013. The historic (1889) footbridge to the island has been condemned and is being removed to deter vandals. Located on Chief's Island just off the coast about 3 miles (5 km) west of Charleston and 2 miles (3 km) north of the actual cape. Visible from an overlook on the Cape Arago highway west of Charleston. The shoreline opposite the lighthouse is accessible by a rugged foot trail connecting Sunset Bay State Park and Cape Arago State Park (camping available). Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians. ARLHS USA-106; ex-Admiralty G4450; ex-USCG 6-0605.

Douglas County Lighthouse
*** Umpqua River (2)
1894 (station established 1857, but inactive 1864-1894). Active (maintained by Douglas County); focal plane 165 ft (50 m); flashes every 5 s, two white flashes and then one red flash, day and night. 65 ft (20 m) stucco-clad brick tower attached to a workroom; the original F. Barbier 1st order Fresnel lens is still in use. Lighthouse painted white; lantern roof is red. The original keeper's house has been demolished, but the former Umpqua River Coast Guard Station now serves as the Coastal Visitor Center and lighthouse museum. This is Oregon's oldest light station. The lighthouse is a sibling of Heceta Head Light, but both these light towers are similar to the much earlier Cape Blanco Light. Britten has excellent photos showing the unusual red and clear prisms of the lens, Anderson has an excellent web page for the lighthouse, Trabas has a closeup by Klaus Potschien, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view and Donald Bain's 2014 street view. Public protests saved the lens when the revolving mechanism broke down in 1983. In 2005 the Jeld-Wen Company donated badly needed new doors and windows. In 2007, Senator Gordon Smith introduced legislation that would transfer ownership of the lighthouse to Douglas County; presently the county holds a lease on the station. The lighthouse was restored during an 18-month project in 2007-08 and reopened on May 1, 2008. In 2010, the Coast Guard proposed deactivating the light and removing the lens, a move opposed by local residents. In December, the Coast Guard agreed to continue the light, provided Douglas County assumed the maintenance costs; the county agreed to this arrangement. A formal agreement was signed in March 2012, and the county took ownership of the lighthouse and lens on 12 May. The light station is adjacent to Umpqua Lighthouse State Park (camping available). Located off US 101 about 1 mile (1.5 km) south of Winchester Bay, on the south side of the river entrance. Site open (free), tower open daily May through October and on Friday through Monday in March, April, November and December (small fee). Owner: U.S. Coast Guard. Site manager: Douglas County Parks and Umpqua Valley Museums . ARLHS USA-866; Admiralty G4472; USCG 6-0620.
Umpqua River Light
Umpqua River Light, Winchester Bay, October 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Justin Miller

Lane County Lighthouse
** Heceta Head
1894. Active (maintained by Oregon State Parks); focal plane 205 ft (62.5 m); white flash every 10 s, day and night. 56 ft (17 m) stucco-clad brick tower attached to workroom; the original Chance Brothers 1st order Fresnel lens is still in use. Lighthouse painted white; lantern roof is red. The original 2-story Queen Anne-style wood keeper's house, known as Heceta House, is now used as a bed and breakfast inn. Two oil houses and a barn are also preserved; one of the oil houses is used as a generator house. Surely one of the most dramatically beautiful light stations of the world, high above the Pacific and surrounded by the Siuslaw National Forest. Kirk Fuson's photo is at right, Anderson has a fine page for the lighthouse, Britten has a fine collection of photos, Trabas has a photo by Klaus Potschien, the Coast Guard has a historic photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a postcard photo, and Google has Donald Bain's 2014 street view and a satellite view taken during the 2012 restoration. In 2000, the Coast Guard proposed to abandon use of the first-order lens after the rotating mechanism broke down. A compromise was worked out to restore the lens, and in February 2001 it was carefully dismantled, restored and cleaned. Lighthouse Digest has an October 2001 article on the project. The light was relit on June 16. As part of the compromise, ownership of the lighthouse was transferred to Oregon State Parks. In February 2009, state officials shut down the lighthouse due to another failure of the rotating mechanism. After $22,000 in repairs, the lighthouse was back in operation in late May. A major restoration costing about $1.3 million began early in 2012. The lighthouse reopened in June 2013. Note: Heceta is pronounced "ha-see-ta." Located off US 101 about 15 miles (25 km) north of Florence. Accessible by a short hiking trail from a state park parking area. Site open (park entry fee), tower closed during restoration 2012-13. Owner: Oregon State Parks (lighthouse) and U.S. Forest Service (keeper's house). Site manager: Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint. ARLHS USA-368; Admiralty G4486; USCG 6-0635.
Heceta Head Light
Heceta Head Light, Florence, June 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Kirk Fuson

Lincoln County (Newport Area) Lighthouses
Cleft of the Rock (Cape Perpetua)
1976. Active (privately maintained); focal plane 110 ft (33.5 m); flash every 10 s, alternating red and white. 35 ft (11 m) square pyramidal wood tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 2-story A-frame residence. Lighthouse painted white with buff trim. G.E. Bauer has a photo, Trabas has a closeup by Klaus Potschien, and Google has a satellite view and a distant street view. The lighthouse is a replica of the 1898 Fiddle Reef Light on Vancouver Island, Canada; the acrylic lens is from the Solander Island Light, off the west coast of Vancouver Island. The lighthouse was built by author Jim Gibbs (former keeper at Tillamook Reef Light) and was accepted by the Coast Guard as a privately maintained aid to navigation. Gibbs passed away in May 2010, but his daughter and her husband own the house and have kept the light in service. It's remarkable that this prominent headland never had an official lighthouse. Located just off US 101 at Cape Perpetua (milepost 166), about 2 miles (3 km) south of Yachats. Site and tower closed (private residence), but there's a good view from the shoulder of US 101 nearby. Owner/site manager: private. ARLHS USA-964; Admiralty G4487; USCG 6-0640.
**** Yaquina Bay
1871. Reactivated (inactive 1874-1996, now privately maintained); focal plane 165 ft (50 m); continuous white light. 51 ft (16 m) square cylindrical wood tower mounted on the roof of a 2-story wood keeper's house; 250 mm lens. Building painted white with red trim; lantern and gallery are painted bright red. Larry Myhre's photo is at right, Britten has a good photo, Anderson has a fine page with several good photos, Trabas has an excellent photo by Michael Boucher, the Coast Guard has a historic photo, Marinas.com has distant aerial photos, and Bing has a satellite view. Though it served only briefly as a lighthouse, the building was a lifesaving station for many years. Friends of Yaquina Lighthouses worked for its restoration and reactivation. Believed to be the oldest building in Newport, the lighthouse is now a museum. Lighthouse painted in 2000. Lighthouse Digest has a November 2005 article on the history of the station. Located on the north side of the Yaquina Bay entrance in Newport, just off US 101; Site open, museum and tower open daily year round (free, donations requested). Group tours can be arranged and the lighthouse is a popular site for weddings. Owner: Oregon State Parks (Yaquina Bay State Recreation Area). Site manager: Yaquina Lights . ARLHS USA-906; Admiralty G4490.2; USCG 6-9613.
Yaquina Bay Light
Yaquina Bay Light, Newport, May 2006
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Larry Myhre
**** Yaquina Head
1873. Active; focal plane 162 ft (49 m); two white flashes every 20 s, flashes separated by 2 s, day and night. 93 ft (28 m) brick tower attached to a 1-story brick oil house. The original Barbier & Fenestre 1st order Fresnel lens (1868) is still in use. Tower painted white, lantern black, lantern roof red. Sibling of the Pigeon Point lighthouse in Northern California. The original principal keeper's house was demolished in 1938, but the assistant keeper's house, two more modern keeper's houses (1922 and 1938), oil house (1889), barn (1886), stable, and other light station buildings are preserved. Larry Eiring's photo is at the top of this page, Anderson has photos and historical information, Google has Michael Overstreet's 2014 street view, Trabas has a photo by Klaus Potschien, Britten has a fine photo, the Coast Guard has a historic photo, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Bing has a satellite view. This is a classic: one of the best known and most often visited lighthouses of the Pacific Northwest, and also the tallest Oregon lighthouse. Yaquina Lights works for its restoration. In 2005-06, a $1 million appropriation from Congress funded a thorough restoration of the lens and lighthouse; Lighthouse Digest has a March 2006 article describing this project. The restoration was completed in June 2006. In October 2014 the lighthouse closed for three months for repainting and exterior repairs. Site open (entry fee to area), tower normally open daily. Located at the end of Lighthouse Drive off US 101 in Agate Beach, 2 miles (3 km) north of Newport. Owner: U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Site manager: Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area. ARLHS USA-907; Admiralty G4506; USCG 6-0650.

Tillamook County Lighthouses
*** Cape Meares (1)
1890. Inactive since 1963. 40 ft (12 m) octagonal tower, brick sheathed in iron, attached to a workroom. Tower painted white, lantern black. The original 1st order Fresnel lens, vandalized after the lighthouse was decommissioned, was partially restored and is still mounted in the tower (one of the four bullseye prisms is missing). The keeper's house and other light station buildings were all demolished around 1968 after severe vandalism. The visitor center is a reconstruction (1978) of the original workroom. David Grant's photo is at right, Anderson has a fine page for the lighthouse with several photos, Britten has great photos, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. In 2003, Oregon State Parks carried out a $310,000 restoration of the lighthouse. Friends of Cape Meares Lighthouse supports the light station. In January 2010, vandals fired shots into the lighthouse, breaking windows and damaging several prisms of the lens. Two men were arrested and charged with felony mischief. Damage is estimated at $500,000. In December, the two men agreed to pay $100,000 in restitution. Located on a bluff about 200 ft (60 m) above the ocean at the end of Lighthouse Road about 6 miles (10 km) northwest of Tillamook. Site open daily April 1 through October 31; the base of the tower is open 11 am-4 pm but the upper levels are closed due to the damage to the lens. Owner: U.S. Coast Guard. Site manager: Oregon State Parks (Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint). ARLHS USA-128.
* Cape Meares (2)
1963. Inactive since 2014. 17 ft (5 m) 1-story cinderblock building with the light mounted on a short post. Trabas has a photo by Michael Boucher, and the Coast Guard also has a photo. The light was deactivated in June 2014. Located near the historic lighthouse. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty G4516; USCG 6-0675.
Cape Meares Light
Cape Meares Light, Tillamook, September 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo by David Grant

Clatsop County Lighthouses
Tillamook Rock
1881 (George Ballantyne). Inactive since 1957. 62 ft (19 m) square cylindrical brick tower atop 1-story brick keeper's house. Lighthouse painted white, lantern and watch room black. Lighthouse Digest has a story on the history of the light station, Eric Person has a view from the sea, a 2013 aerial photo is available, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. In 1980 the lighthouse was purchased and gutted inside with the idea of making it a columbarium, a repository for the ashes of the deceased. However, access problems prevented the owners from carrying out this plan properly, and in 1999 the state of Oregon's Mortuary and Cemetery Board canceled the group's license. In recent years the lighthouse has appeared to be abandoned, but the owners say they intend to continue the original plan with new funding. One of the most inaccessible of all U.S. lighthouses, located on a rock in tumultuous seas about 1 mile (1.5 km) off Tillamook Head and 6 miles (10 km) southwest of Seaside. Visible distantly from Ecola State Park north of Cannon Beach. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: Eternity at Sea Columbarium. ARLHS USA-849.
**** Lightship WLV 604 Columbia
1950. Decommissioned 1979. 617-ton 2-masted steel lightship, length 128 ft (39.0 m), beam 30 ft (9.1 m). Vessel painted red, superstructure white, masts and stack buff. Granger Meador's photo is at right, Anderson has a fine page for the ship, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Most lightships serve several stations during their careers, but WLV 604 served its entire career on the Columbia station off the mouth of the Columbia River. One of the best preserved U.S. lightships, it is operational. The large (40 ft diameter) buoy that replaced the lightship from 1979 to 1993 is also on display, floating next to the ship. Moored at the Columbia River Maritime Museum on US 30 (Marine Drive) near 17th Street in downtown Astoria. Site and museum open daily, ship open to guided tours. Owner/site manager: Columbia River Maritime Museum. ARLHS USA-184.
Lightship WLV 604 Columbia
Lightship WLV 604 Columbia, Astoria, July 2006
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Granger Meador
Tongue Point Channel Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 62 ft (19 m); red light, 3 s on, 3 s off, visible only along the range line. 62 ft (19 m) square skeletal tower mounted on a platform supported by piles; the tower carries a rectangular daymark painted red with a black vertical stripe. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. This range guides vessels downstream (westward) through a difficult passage in the Columbia estuary. Jim Nieland has a photo of the front light, on a short wood skeletal tower. Located about 6 mi (10 km ) east northeast of Astoria. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. USCG 6-10187.
Pillar Rock Lower Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 79 ft (24 m); white light, 3 s on, 3 s off, visible only along and near the range line. 79 ft (24 m) square cylindrical skeletal tower mounted on a platform supported by piles; the tower carries a rectangular daymark painted red with a black vertical stripe. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. This range guides vessels upstream (eastward). Located about 16 mi (26 km ) east northeast of Astoria. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty G4608.1; USCG 6-10240.
Pillar Rock Upper Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 58 ft (18 m); red light, 3 s on, 3 s off, visible only along and near the range line. 58 ft (18 m) square cylindrical skeletal tower mounted on a platform supported by piles; the tower carries a rectangular daymark painted red with a black vertical stripe. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. This range guides vessels upstream (eastward). Located about 2 mi (3 km ) east of the lower range rear light. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. USCG 6-10280.
Wauna Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 63 ft (19 m); red light, 3 s on, 3 s off, visible only to eastbound vessels. 63 ft (19 m) square cylindrical skeletal tower mounted on a platform supported by piles; the tower carries a rectangular daymark painted red with a black vertical stripe. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. This range guides vessels upstream (eastward) on a long southeast reach. Located on the south side of the river and the east side of the entrance to Westport. Accessible only by boat, but there is a good view from ferries between Westport, Oregon, and Cathlamet, Washingron. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty G4625.1; USCG 6-10435.

Columbia County Lighthouse
Warrior Rock (2)
1930s (station established 1889). Active; focal plane 28 ft (9 m); white flash every 4 s. 25 ft (8 m) octagonal concrete tower mounted on the original square sandstone foundation. Entire structure painted white. The lighthouse was repaired in 1969 after being seriously damaged in a collison with a barge. Ruins of the original keeper's house (basement and chimney) are nearby, hidden by forest; the house burned sometime in the early 1990s. The historic fog bell (1855, previously used at Cape Disappointment and West Point, Washington) is on display at the Columbia County Courthouse in St. Helens. There is a half-size replica of the 1889 lighthouse behind the older courthouse, nearby. Eric Kuschner's photo is at right, Jenn Sinclair has a 2007 closeup photo, Wikipedia has a page with a good photo, the Sauvie Island Community Association also has a page, and Google has a satellite view. The city of St. Helens hoped to start water taxi service to the area of the lighthouse, with hiking trails and historical markers adjacent to the building, but none of this seems to have happened. Located on the northeastern tip of Sauvie Island, in the Columbia River south of St. Helens. The island is accessible by bridge from US 30 near Burlington; the lighthouse is accessible by a 3 mile (5 km) hike from the end of Reeder Road or by a short boat ride from the marina in St. Helens. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-977; Admiralty G4687.4; USCG 6-11060.
Warrior Rock Light
Warrior Rock Light, St. Helens, February 2012
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Eric Kuschner

Information available on lost lighthouses:

  • Desdemona Sands (1902-1945), mouth of the Columbia River. Dennis Hawley has a page for the light with a historic photo. The 4th order Fresnel lens is on display at the Mukilteo Lighthouse in Washington. The lighthouse was replaced by a small light on piles. ARLHS USA-982; Admiralty G4564; USCG 6-9995.
  • Point Adams (1875-1912), entrance to the Columbia River. This was a Paul J. Pelz lighthouse similar to the East Brother Island and Point Fermin lighthouses in California and the Hereford Inlet Light in New Jersey. Replaced by the Desdemona Sands Light, it was destroyed in 1912. ARLHS USA-983.
  • Willamette River (1895-ca. 1955), mouth of the Willamette River. Huelse has a postcard view of this unusual lighthouse. It was destroyed by a fire in 1955. Some of its pilings can be seen in the river. The junction of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers is marked now by a light on a wood tripod, known as the Kelley Point Junction Light (focal plane 12 m (39 ft); three red flashes, in a 2+1 pattern, every 6 s; USCG 6-11225). ARLHS USA-892.

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Washington | South: Northern California

Return to the Lighthouse Directory index

Posted June 26, 2001. Checked and revised October 12, 2014. Lighthouses: 17. Lightships: 1. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.