The premise of my debut novel, The Great Birthright
, is that a Los Angeles developer wants to privatize Oregon's publicly owned beaches, and only one washed-up detective and self-published writer can stop him. That writer would be me, writing about myself in the third person just like Norman Mailer and Caesar!
I've been writing about the sacrosanct great notion of Oregon's publicly owned beaches for years, but wanted to take a new run at the subject and have a little fun with it by sending up the detective genre with all sorts of twists, feints, digressions, primary sources, and blasts of metafiction. I also wrote the book to promote the upcoming 50th anniversary of Oregon's famous 1967 Beach Bill, one of the most important pieces of legislation in the state's history. Actually, "promote" is the wrong word; it doesn't go nearly far enough. In reality, I am massing a great Oregon army to celebrate the Beach Bill.
The army is leaderless as far as a single individual goes. The leader is the people of Oregon. Anyone who has ever enjoyed one minute on the state's publicly owned beaches is a soldier in the army. That means dogs, too.
On Friday, July 7, 2017, the army will wage a monumental 24-hour campaign to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the famous 1967 Beach Bill that protected the dry sands areas of our ocean beaches from privatization and prudery.
No symposiums. No panel discussions. No speechifying. No PowerPoints! No meetings and mission statements. No scholarly articles with footnotes. Rather, we will party. On the beach. All day and all of the night.
The goal is to put 50,000 Oregonians on the socialist beaches from Hammond to Brookings doing what we've done for generations. I want it to become an international spectacle. I want Fox News anchors shaking their blow-dried heads at all the organic Oregonians.
Driftwood forts, hackey sack, sand castles, sculptures, cairns, football, walking, running, meandering, meditations, bonfires, amorous avocations, naked dashes, kite flying, perch fishing, sea stripping, surfing, paddle boarding, clamming, rock hounding, limpet hunting, weddings, divorces, kelp flogging, salmon bakes, reading, brooding, reflecting, baptisms, ablutions.
Who cares what you do that day or night. Just be there!
It won't cost anyone a cent because this is Oregon and decades ago we decided to take a different, better path to preserve the "great birthright," as former Governor Oswald West memorably described our publicly owned beaches.
The governor of Oregon better show up, or we need a new governor.
What are you doing to protect it? Will you commit to July 7, 2017, and hit the beach? Will you send a message to the malevolent forces that would try to undermine or overthrow the great birthright?
These forces are legion and relentless, and they have to be pulverized every now and then in a very public fashion. Virtually every week I receive an email from a coastal resident who reports of another violation of the great birthright:
- A beachfront property owner in Rockaway wants to install more riprap
- An Arch Cape couple claims part of the beach as their private fiefdom
- A new mansion in South Beach blocks a path to the beach used for half a century
- A beach access point in Lincoln City is overrun by vehicles
- An old nemesis to the Beach Bill resurfaces in Neskowin
- A proposed golf course in south Tillamook County would desecrate a pristine beachfront area
- Beach access signs disappear and disappear
And so on.
Back in 1967, a group of citizens formed a political organization called Citizens to Save Oregon Beaches to help pass the Beach Bill when it faced almost insurmountable odds. The "SOBS," as their opponents quickly dubbed them, didn't have one paid staffer. They were the people — you.
The SOBS won. They would not give up.
I have reformed the SOBS to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Beach Bill. The new SOBS are going to take it to a whole new level. We have new skills and new weapons.
Don't you want to join? Don't you want to enroll your children, grandchildren? Your dog, too? Are you ready for a noble purpose? To get off your ass and work for a better Oregon for the next generation?
Go to www.nestuccaspitpress.com
and join the 7-7-17 celebration. Enlist everyone you know.
And get ready to party.
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is the author/editor of 14 books about Oregon. The Great Birthright: An Oregon Novel
is his fiction debut. In 2009, Love won the Oregon Literary Arts' Stewart H. Holbrook Literary Legacy Award for his contributions to Oregon history and literature. He lives in Astoria.