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Tribute to Journalist Matt Kramer August 22 2014
During the long days of August, Oregon’s north coast is often drenched in sun. There is a certain fragrance in the air that comes from the constant ocean wind blowing through pine, fir, blackberry brambles, mounds of tall sea grass and wood smoke from makeshift fires dotting the beach.
On the trail in Oswald State Park, you see people of all ages—sometimes counting back four generations, from people old enough to be great grandparents to the youngest toddlers—forming a single ambling line, where only one person at a time can pass through the trail. Everyone wends around the mountain, old growth forest, jagged rock formations, and down into windswept beaches that are meant for long walks to watch the setting sun.
But things could have been much different if it wasn’t for a journalist by the name of Matt Kramer. Oregon is one of the few states barring private ownership of beach rights. On the ocean front, there are luxury homes, but there are no gated communities, fences or sentries blocking access to the beach. The beach is there for all to enjoy.
Journalist Matt Kramer was a veteran Associated Press reporter covering the Capitol beat and the 1967 session of the Oregon Legislature. His astute and timely coverage of the “Beach Bill” that was reported in newspapers around the state kept the issue alive and in front of the people to decide the fate of public access to Oregon’s beaches. At the time, there was a strong movement among legislators who wanted to kill the “Beach Bill” in committee. In 1967, Matt Kramer wrote an article “Beach Bill Revival Sought” which has been historically attributed as one reason why today Oregon has open beaches.
In Oregon’s Oswald State Park West, there is a memorial tribute to the AP Journalist Matt Kramer, who was a veteran Associated Press.
“The people of Oregon hereby express their gratitude to Matt Kramer of the Associated Press, whose clear and incisive newspaper articles were instrumental in gaining public support for passing of the 1967 Beach Bill. This landmark legislation guarantees forever the public’s right to the free and uninterrupted use of one of Oregon’s most popular recreation attractions, its ocean beaches.”
Matt Kramer’s work as an investigative reporter is an inspiration to us all showing how integrity in journalism has a profound and lasting impact on the world. –Patricia Vaccarino