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Protecting Oregon Beaches Web Exhibit
State Treasurer Bob Straub (right) walks along the beach near the wreck of the Peter Iredale with U.S. Senator Robert Kennedy and his wife, Ethel, in May 1968. Kennedy was contending for the Democratic Party presidential nomination. A crowd of people followed the group on the beach and the media gave the visit extensive coverage. Shortly after this visit, Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles. (Western Oregon University Archives, Robert W. Straub Collection)
The spring of 1968 was a busy time for Straub in his efforts to protect public access to Oregon beaches. After the passage of the Beach Bill in 1967, doubts lingered about whether it would withstand legal challenges related to property rights and other issues. Looking for more solid protections, Straub and the Beaches Forever citizens’ group teamed up to attempt to put a measure on the ballot in 1968. The measure authorized a temporary gas tax to buy privately-owned beach land. Advocates mounted a strong grassroots campaign and gathered enough signatures to get Measure 6 on the November ballot.