Brookings, Oregon

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Brookings, Oregon
An aerial view of Brookings, Oregon and its coastline
An aerial view of Brookings, Oregon and its coastline
Flag of Brookings, Oregon
Location in Oregon
Location in Oregon
Brookings, Oregon is located in the United States
Brookings, Oregon
Brookings, Oregon
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 42°3′27″N 124°17′11″W / 42.05750°N 124.28639°W / 42.05750; -124.28639Coordinates: 42°3′27″N 124°17′11″W / 42.05750°N 124.28639°W / 42.05750; -124.28639
CountryUnited States
 • MayorJake Pieper
 • Total4.15 sq mi (10.76 km2)
 • Land4.15 sq mi (10.74 km2)
 • Water0.01 sq mi (0.02 km2)
129 ft (39 m)
 • Total6,336
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,562.95/sq mi (603.45/km2)
 U.S. Census
Time zoneUTC−8 (Pacific)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−7 (Pacific)
ZIP code
Area code(s)458 and 541
FIPS code41-08650[2]
GNIS feature ID1138655[4]
The Brookings harbor

Brookings is a city in Curry County, Oregon, United States. It was named after John E. Brookings, president of the Brookings Lumber and Box Company, which founded the city in 1908. As of the 2010 census, the population was 6,336.[5]



Crew looking out of camp building windows, Brookings Timber and Lumber Company, Brookings, ca. 1919

In 1906, the Brookings Timber Company hired William James Ward, a graduate in civil engineering and forestry, to come to the southern Oregon Coast and survey its lumbering potential. After timber cruising the Chetco and Pistol River areas for several years, he recommended that the Brookings people begin extensive lumbering operations here and secure a townsite for a mill and shipping center.[6]

While John E. Brookings was responsible for the founding of Brookings as a company town, it was his cousin, Robert S. Brookings, who was responsible for its actual design. The latter Brookings hired Bernard Maybeck, an architect based in San Francisco who was later involved in the Panama–Pacific International Exposition, to lay out the plat of the townsite.[7]

World War II[edit]

On September 9, 1942, Mount Emily near Brookings became the first site in the mainland United States and the second in the continental territory after the bombing of Dutch Harbor to suffer aerial bombardment during World War II. A Japanese floatplane piloted by Nobuo Fujita was launched from submarine I-25. The plane was armed with incendiary bombs on a mission to start massive fires in the dense forests of the Pacific Northwest.[8][9] The attack caused only minor damage. Fujita would be invited back to Brookings in 1962, and he presented the town his family's 400-year-old samurai sword in friendship after the Japanese government was given assurances that he would not be tried as a war criminal. Brookings made him an honorary citizen several days before his death in 1997.

1980s onwards[edit]

Since the 1980s, Brookings has attracted retirees, mostly from California. Senior citizens constitute the majority of the town's population. It is also home for a number of people who commute to jobs in Del Norte County, California at nearby Pelican Bay State Prison.


The total population of the Brookings area is over 13,000, which includes Harbor (a census-designated place), and others. There have been numerous proposals to annex the nearby unincorporated areas into Brookings; while most attempts failed over the years, one large area north of town owned by the U.S. Borax Corp. has succeeded. This development has the potential to add approximately 1,000 homes over the next 20 years, although developers expect many of them to be occupied only seasonally. The unincorporated community to the south of the Chetco River, while included in the Brookings Urban Growth Boundary, has resisted annexation into the City of Brookings. There development has occurred without annexation, as Harbor is independently served by independent fire, water and sewer districts. The City of Brookings offers the only 24/7 police service in Curry County.

The current marketing "brand" for the community, through the Brookings-Harbor Chamber of Commerce,[10] is "The Pulse of America's Wild Rivers Coast". America's Wild Rivers Coast is a regional marketing brand for Curry County, Oregon, and Del Norte County, California.[11]

2011 Tsunami[edit]

The overlook at Harris Beach State Park

The Port of Brookings Harbor was damaged by tidal surges from a tsunami on March 11, 2011.[12] The largest surge was estimated to be nearly 8 feet (2.4 m).[13] Boats were damaged, sunk, set adrift, and swept out to sea after many docks were torn away and pilings broken.[13][14] The tsunami was caused by the 9.0 MW[15] Tōhoku earthquake offshore of the east coast of Honshu Island, Japan. The damage was estimated at $25 million to $30 million.[12]


Costline of Brookings as seen from U.S. Highway 101

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.94 square miles (10.20 km2), of which 3.87 square miles (10.02 km2) is land and 0.07 square miles (0.18 km2) is water.[16]


The climate of Brookings is so mild that palm trees can grow there

Brookings enjoys a mild "banana belt" Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csb).[17]

Brookings sees generally cool, wet winters during which intense rainfall alternates with sunshine, sometimes for weeks. The town has dry, warm summers with average rainfall in July and August of less than 1 inch (25 mm) per month. There are an average of only two afternoons annually with high temperatures of 90 °F (32.2 °C) or higher and an average of 1.5 mornings with low temperatures of 32 °F (0 °C) or lower. The record high temperature was 108 °F (42 °C) on July 8, 2008.[18] The record low temperature was 17 °F (−8.3 °C) on December 11, 1972.

While annual rainfall rates are much higher (120"-200") in the surrounding Coast Range (the southwest-facing Curry County mountains are one of the wettest places in the Lower 48), in the town itself, Brookings's wettest “water year” was from July 1937 to June 1938 with 107.62 inches (2,733.5 mm) and the driest from July 1976 to June 1977 with 40.30 inches (1,023.6 mm), although as much as 123.90 inches (3,147.1 mm) fell during calendar year 1996. The most rainfall in one month was 36.90 inches (937.3 mm) in December 1996. The most rainfall in 24 hours was 17.00 inches (431.8 mm) on October 14, 2016. Snow is rare in town, averaging only 0.7 inches or 0.018 metres per year, but 10 inches (0.25 m) fell in January 1916.[19]

Due to its location, Brookings is subject to winter (and less frequently summer) temperatures considered unusually warm for the Oregon Coast or for that matter, the North Coast of California. Temperatures can reach 70 to 100 °F (21.1 to 37.8 °C) throughout the year. This is due mostly to its situation at the foot of the Klamath Mountains, from which winds compress and warm the air flowing onto Brookings. This is called the Brookings effect or Chetco Effect, similar to the warm dry Santa Ana winds of coastal Southern California and the diablo winds of the Bay Area. Daffodils and other bulbs generally bloom in February. In the lowlands, heavy fog is common in the summer while the coastal ranges are generally sunny and warm, even hot.[citation needed]

Climate data for Brookings, Oregon, 1991−2020 normals, extremes 1913−present[a]
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 80
Average high °F (°C) 53.7
Average low °F (°C) 43.6
Record low °F (°C) 21
Average precipitation inches (mm) 12.57
Average snowfall inches (cm) 0.2
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 17.7 16.0 17.9 14.4 9.8 6.0 3.4 3.9 4.9 10.3 17.9 18.4 140.6
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 0 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.1 0.2
Mean monthly sunshine hours 150 139 199 258 320 331 370 367 301 195 164 154 2,948
Source: NOAA[21]


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)6,480[3]2.3%

2010 census[edit]

As of the census of 2010, there were 6,336 people, 2,717 households, and 1,689 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,637.2 inhabitants per square mile (632.1/km2). There were 3,183 housing units at an average density of 822.5 per square mile (317.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 92.2% White, 0.3% African American, 1.8% Native American, 0.9% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.9% from other races, and 3.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.6% of the population.[2]

There were 2,717 households, of which 26.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.7% were married couples living together, 11.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 37.8% were non-families. 31.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.81.[2]

The median age in the city was 46.9 years. 21.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 19.8% were from 25 to 44; 28% were from 45 to 64; and 24.2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.7% male and 52.3% female.[2]

Parks and recreation[edit]

Azalea Park[edit]

Azalea Park is located at 640 Old County Road. It has picnic areas, bandshell, snackshack, gazebo, Kidtown playground, disc golf course, softball and soccer fields and the Capella by the Sea, Annual events include the Slippery Banana Softball Tournament, the highly popular and crowd pleasing free summer Sunday American Music Festival (AMF) Concerts held at the bandshell from June to September; the Wild Rivers Music Festival, a one-day music extravaganza and Oktoberfest.

Then in December, the park hosts Nature's Coastal Holiday Light Show, a fantasy of lights, sculptures and music that packs the park nightly from 5 to 9 pm from the day after Thanksgiving to Christmas Day.

Harris Beach State Park[edit]

Harris Beach State Park is located on Highway 101 at the north end of Brookings. It includes 173 acres (70 ha) of coastal access as well as RV and tent camping facilities and a rest area.

Arts and culture[edit]

Annual cultural events[edit]

Since 2006, the Winter Art & Chocolate Festival has been held at the Brookings-Harbor High School, featuring local and regional artists and chocolatiers the second weekend in February.

Since 1993, the Southern Oregon Kite Festival has brought some of the most well known kite fliers and kite makers[who?] to perform and display their creations for local residents and tourists. The kite fliers choreograph their flights to music and the kite makers show, and often allow spectators to fly, some of their flying art. This free event always takes place on the 3rd full weekend of July and is preceded by a demonstration of indoor kite flying on Friday night. The SOKF brings 10,000+ spectators to the Kite Field at the Port of Brookings Harbor over that weekend.[citation needed]

The Festival of the Arts began in 1993. It takes place the third weekend in August on the boardwalk at the Port of Brookings Harbor.

The largest celebration held each year is the Azalea Festival. According to the Brookings-Harbor Chamber of Commerce, it is, "a four-day community-wide festival featuring Art, Flower, Quilt and Car Shows; a Parade, Street Fair, Kiddie Carnival, Food Court, Beef BBQ, Party at the Port, and lots more throughout the Memorial Day Weekend."[citation needed] Each year, young women from the local high school compete in a scholarship pageant for the title of "Azalea Queen." The Azalea Queen participates in the parade and chooses a favorite entry from each of several of the shows that make up the festivities.

A fairly new event[when?] in the City of Brookings is the Wild Rogue Relay each June. This 218-mile, overnight running relay begins in southern Jackson County, Oregon and culminates at the finish line inside Azalea Park in Brookings where 1000 runners converge on the city.

Another very popular event in Brookings is Nature's Coastal Holiday which takes place from Thanksgiving weekend through Christmas. It is open each evening inside Azalea Park.

Each year, the town hosts the "Pirates of the Pacific" festival.[23]


Business and industry[edit]

A major employer in Brookings is South Coast Lumber. It has been manufacturing the Socomi brand of douglas fir lumber for more than 50 years.

Brookings has recently been touted as a "foodie" town. Brookings offers many eclectic dining options, many featuring locally sourced products.


Brookings is home to four primary and secondary schools and a community college satellite campus.

Public schools[edit]

Private school[edit]

  • Brookings Harbor Christian School

Community college[edit]




With powered antennas FOX, NBC and NPR from Medford. Charter Cable provides some area channels.


Charter, Frontier, ViaSat and HughesNet provide internet connection. Beacon Broadband will begin building their fiber-optic network in 2021.[citation needed]







Notable people[edit]

  • Max Steineke (1898–1952), prominent American petroleum geologist, who discovered commercial quantities of oil in Saudi Arabia
  • Nobuo Fujita (1911–1997), Japanese World War II pilot, later considered an "ambassador of good will" and honorary citizen of Brookings
  • Elmo Williams (1913–2015), Oscar-winning film and television editor, director, producer, and executive


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "U.S. Census website". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved June 19, 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  5. ^ American FactFinder - Results[dead link]
  6. ^ "Brookings, a Live Community, Marks Once Bleak Spot of Dreary Desolation". Oregon Sunday Journal. Portland, Oregon. April 14, 2001 [May 3, 1914]. Archived from the original on May 23, 2016. Retrieved June 19, 2013. Republished by the Curry Coastal Pilot (Brookings).
  7. ^ McCoy, Esther (1960). Five California Architects. New York: Reinhold Publishing Corporation. p. 46.
  8. ^ Oregon State Archives, Office of the Secretary of State
  9. ^ GENE SLOVERS US NAVY PAGES Japanese Plane Bombed Oregon on September 9, 1942
  10. ^ Welcome! | Brookings-Harbor Chamber Of Commerce
  11. ^ Home Page - America's Wild Rivers Coast
  12. ^ a b Manning, Jeff; Brettman, Allan (March 12, 2011). "Brookings port destruction by tsunami is a blow Curry County cannot afford". The Oregonian. Portland, Oregon. Retrieved March 13, 2011.
  13. ^ a b Rice, Arwyn; Graves, Scott (March 12, 2011). "Tidal surges pummel port, sink boats". Curry Coastal Pilot. Retrieved June 19, 2013.
  14. ^ Rasmussen, Randy L. (March 11, 2011). "Southern Oregon tsunami damage". The Oregonian. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved March 13, 2011.
  15. ^ "USGS analysis as of 2011-03-12". U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved March 13, 2011. Archived March 14, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2012-07-02. Retrieved 2012-12-21.
  17. ^ "Harbor Oregon Climate Summary". Weatherbase. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  18. ^ Salvia, Vanessa (March 1, 2016). "Five Getaways To Oregon's Warmest Locales". 1859 Magazine. Retrieved October 7, 2021.
  19. ^ "BROOKINGS 2 SE, OREGON – Climate Summary". Western Regional Climate Center. Desert Research Institute. Retrieved June 19, 2013.
  20. ^
  21. ^ "NOAA NCEI U.S. Climate Normals Quick Access". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2021-10-07.
  22. ^ Moffatt, Riley Moore (1996). Population History of Western U.S. Cities and Towns, 1850–1990. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. p. 207. ISBN 978-0-8108-3033-2.
  23. ^ "PIRATES OF THE PACIFIC FESTIVAL IN BROOKINGS 2019". What to do in Southern Oregon. Retrieved 2019-08-01.
  24. ^ Brookings - Homepage

External links[edit]