Yaquina Bay Light is located on the north shore of the entrance to Yaquina Bay, about 40 miles (65 km) west of Corvallis and 1 mile (1.6 km) southwest of Newport, Oregon. Yaquina Bay is an estuary of the Yaquina River, approximately 2048 acres (829 ha) in area, with a free connection to the Pacific Ocean through an entrance protected by rock jetties. Yaquina Bay is named after the Yaquina people that historically occupied the area.
The Yaquina Bay Light was built in 1871, soon after the founding of the city of Newport. It was active for only three years and was decommissioned when the larger Yaquina Head Light was built in 1873 just 3 miles (4.8 km) north. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers used the old lighthouse from 1888 to 1896 as their living quarters while they built the North and South Jetties at the mouth of Yaquina Bay. The U.S. Coast Guard later used the lighthouse as a lookout and living quarters from 1906 to 1915, and during that time they built an eight-story steel observation tower. In 1934, the Oregon State Highway Division bought the property around the lighthouse to build a new state park. It is now the Yaquina Bay State Recreation Area and has approximately 1.7 million visitors per year.
Blue Magpie wrecked at the entrance to Yaquina Bay in 1983. The ship was a Japanese freighter, owned by Jinyu Shipping Company, 344 feet (105 m) in length. On 19 November, Blue Magpie was en route to Vancouver, British Columbia to pick up lumber, after unloading a cargo of Salvadoran coffee in Long Beach, California. Caught in a severe storm the ship attempted to take shelter in Yaquina Bay but grounded on the north jetty and broke apart, causing a major oil spill. The vessel’s 19 South Korean crew members were rescued from the wreck by helicopter. An estimated 70,000 gallons (265,000 liters) of Bunker C oil leaked from the wreckage. Read more here and here. Explore more of Yaquina Bay here: