The first book in Matt Love's Beaver State Trilogy, Grasping Wastrels vs. Beaches Forever Inc. is a slim collection of essays tracing the nearly century-old battle for the Oregon coast. From former Governor Oswald West's 66-word 1913 law declaring that our beaches shall forever remain public, to the current, ongoing fights to develop (destroy?) coastal land, the book is part well-researched history lesson and part passionate entreaty. While Oregon was unique among other states in its progressive vision to preserve and protect its beaches from privatization, greed, and development, the state's commitment to this legacy has waxed and waned greatly over the passing decades (mostly on account of elected officials). Love recounts the devotion with which Oregonians once rallied to protect our coast and the creeping apathy that again makes it vulnerable. An essay on the history and development of Highway 101 ("the straightening") is particularly fascinating, however disturbing and tragic. Matt Love's adoration of and loyalty to Oregon's beaches are second to none, and this book is a testament not only to his immense talent as a writer and storyteller but also to his integrity as a citizen willing to stand up and fight for what he believes in. Every Oregonian should be thankful we have him amongst our ranks. Recommended By Jeremy G., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
In 1913 Oregon Governor Oswald West said of the state's beaches: "No local selfish interest should be permitted, through politics or otherwise, to destroy or even impair this great birthright of our people."
With similar passion for protecting Oregon's "great birthright," in 2003, Nestucca Spit Press published Grasping Wastrels vs. Beaches Forever Inc.: Covering the Fights for the Soul of the Oregon Coast, a collection of essays by Matt Love and Part One of his Beaver State Trilogy.
In the collection, Love takes a provocative and participatory approach when investigating some of the lost, ignored or forgotten stories about preserving the Oregon Coast. Among the essays are: the untold history of the state's famed 1967 Beach Bill, a thank you to Bob Straub for his heroic victory over a proposed beach highway, how a hippie couple defeated a coastal nuclear power plant, a reflection on the Bayocean resort debacle, accounts of the botched opportunities to preserve undeveloped coastal property, and the uncovering of the failed attempt to establish a national park on the South Oregon Coast. The 98-page book also includes photographs, a bibliography and four bonus essays stored in a library pocket inside the back cover.