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Wielding his tomahawk as a gavel, Wilbur led the way in coastal land-use planning using his peace pipe inspiring negotiation and compromise. Under his leadership, electedrepresentatives from coastal counties, cities and ports worked with environmentalists, developers, residents and agency representatives to create a land-use management proposal for the area from the crest of the coast range to the offshore waters.
Advocated by Republican Governor Tom McCall in 1971 in response to the federal Coastal Zone Management Act, land-use planning provided regulatory authority to review federal action in or affecting Oregon's coastal zone. After four years of chairmanship, in 1975 Wilbur Ternyik presented the results of Oregon Coastal Conservation & Development Commission to the legislature which led to establishment of goals for coastal shorelands, estuarine resources, beaches and dunes and ocean resources by Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission.
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Originally targeted for condominium development, a 20-acre site including Neawanna Point north of Seaside wassubsequently donated to the North Coast Land Conservancy because of its unique historical and cultural value. In exchange for preserving the site, the developer created a memorial to Ruben Snake, a Winnebago tribe member who fought for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. The memorial now overlooks Neawanna Point.
A prize fishing area for the Clatsop Tribe, the Neawanna Point location was used by Ternyik's ancestors including Celiast, daughter of Chief Coboway who assisted Lewis and Clark. Her husband, Solomon Smith, participated in a meeting at Champoeg that led to Oregon statehood and later became an Oregon state senator.