When I drive thru the town of Port Orford, I am elated. There are no fast food restaurants, no big box stores, no Starbucks. Nothing flashy to grab your eye. In fact, if you drive thru here on a Sunday or a Monday, you might think it’s a ghost town, where seemingly, no businesses are open except for the all-day breakfast place, the gas station and the supermarket. . .just a bunch of store fronts, some of them empty. But if you drive thru and don’t stop, you are missing one of the hidden treasures of the Oregon Coast and possibly the heart of Port Orford: Art Galleries and Studios, of which, there are now nine. With an official population of 1,190, and only 1.56 square miles of land area for the town, that is a notable concentration.
I read that it was voted #4 on Travelocity’s nationwide list of 10 Best Small City Road-Trip Destinations and located about halfway between the California border and Coos Bay, Oregon, with an enforced 30 mph speed limit, you must drive slowly, but be alert and take note. Everywhere you look there are wall murals, canvasses hung on fences and fences as canvases, even a unique, mosaic lookout at which to view the southern coastline and sea. Plus, there are one-of-a-kind, whimsically-painted fire hydrants, which received honorable mention in the Oregon Main Street 2017 Best Image Campaign Award. And all of it sandwiched between the forest and the ocean.