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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
Country United States
State Oregon
County Curry
Incorporated 1951
 • Total 3.94 sq mi (10.20 km2)
 • Land 3.87 sq mi (10.02 km2)
 • Water 0.07 sq mi (0.18 km2)
Elevation 129 ft (39 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 6,336
 • Estimate (2012) 6,316
 • Density 1,637.2/sq mi (632.1/km2)
  U.S. Census
Time zone Pacific (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) Pacific (UTC-7)
ZIP code 97415
Area code(s) 458 and 541
FIPS code 41-08650
GNIS feature ID 1138655

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.



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.

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.

World War II

On September 9, 1942, Mount Emily, near Brookings, became the first site in the continental United States to suffer aerial bombardment in wartime. A Japanese floatplane piloted by Nobuo Fujita launched from submarine I-25 was loaded with incendiary bombs and sent to start massive fires in the dense forests of the Pacific Northwest. 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

Since the 1980s, Brookings has attracted retirees, mostly from California; senior citizens constitute approximately a quarter of the town's population. It is also home for a number of people who commute to jobs in 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, 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.

2011 tsunami

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


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.


The Brookings area has a cool-summer mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csb).

Brookings has temperate winters during which intense rainfall is broken by weeks of warm, sunny weather. It has mild, dry 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 7.5 mornings with low temperatures of 32 °F (0 °C) or lower. The record high temperature was 108.2 °F (42.3 °C) on July 9, 2008. The record low temperature was 18 °F (−7.8 °C) on December 8, 1972.

The wettest calendar year in Brookings was 1996 with 123.90 inches (3,147 mm) and the driest 1976 with 43.34 inches (1,100.8 mm). 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 Brookings, averaging only 0.7 inches or 0.018 metres per year, but 10 inches (0.25 m) fell in January 1916.

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 coast of Northern California north of Santa Cruz. Temperatures can reach 70 to 80 °F (21.1 to 26.7 °C) throughout the year. This is due in part to the marine influences from its location on the Pacific Ocean, but mostly from 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. Daffodils and other bulbs generally bloom in February. In the lowlands, heavy fog is common in the summer while the coastal hills are generally sunny and cool.

Climate data for Brookings, Oregon, 1981−2010 normals, extremes 1914−present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 78
Average high °F (°C) 55.4
Daily mean °F (°C) 48.8
Average low °F (°C) 42.3
Record low °F (°C) 21
Precipitation inches (mm) 11.84
Snowfall inches (cm) 0.4
Source: Western Regional Climate Center


Historical population
Census Pop.
1920 515
1930 250 −51.5%
1940 500 100.0%
1950 1,000 100.0%
1960 2,637 163.7%
1970 2,720 3.1%
1980 3,384 24.4%
1990 4,400 30.0%
2000 5,447 23.8%
2010 6,336 16.3%
Est. 2015 6,476 2.2%

2010 census

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.

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.

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.

Parks and Recreation

Azalea Park

Azalea Park is located at 640 Old County Road. With its picnic areas, bandshell, snackshack, gazebo, Kidtown playground, disc golf course, softball and soccer fields and the Capella by the Sea, Azalea Park is Brookings premier outdoor gathering place for everything from leisurely strolls and quiet contemplation to picnics, birthday parties and ball games to small and large weddings, reunions, civic affairs, summer concerts, and more. 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

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

Salmon Run Golf Course

Salmon Run Golf Course is located behind the coastal mountains, and only 3.5 miles from downtown Brookings. With four sets of tees that stretch from 5,433 yards to over 6,400 yards, Salmon Run offers a course for every skill level in a setting that you will never forget. Open to the public, you may even see Salmon and Steelhead as they swim up Jack Creek to spawn. A restaurant, a full service pro-shop and excellent PGA teaching staff are ready to make your Salmon Run golfing experience even more enjoyable. Designed by Troy Claveran, the Salmon Run golf course opened in 1999. The City owned municipal course is managed by Early Management Team, Inc.; Gary & Val Early.

Arts and culture

Annual cultural events

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.

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." 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 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. This dazzling festival of lights is open each evening inside Azalea Park.

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