Wilbur E. Ternyik Tribute

Wilbur E. Ternyik Tribute involved a three year endeavor which is noted as a Special Project by The Bridges Foundation.  Its goal was to recognize Wilbur E. Ternyik and his efforts to initiate land use planning in the State of Oregon particularly on the Oregon Coast.

To bring this idea to fruition, Kathy Bridges, Executive Director and Trustee of The Bridges Foundation, contacted U. S. Senator Mark O. Hatfield who subsequently assisted as co-sponsor for the Tribute.  She worked directly with the artists, Lorenzo E. Ghiglieri and Rainy Lehrman, in the bronze design and execution.  She prepared press releases and photos and she planned and coordinated events in Seaside, Florence and at the State's Capital in Salem.  The majority of funding for this project was provided by The Bridges Foundation.

Special appreciation is extended to the following:  U. S. Senator Mark O. Hatfield, Dick Basch and Joe & Maecel Scovell - Clatsop-Nehalem Confederated Tribe, Neil Maine and Tom Horning - North Coast Land Conservancy, Onno Husing and Georgia York - Oregon Coastal Zone Management Association, and to Larry Bacon, Journalist, who assisted with press coverage.  Many others assisted from project implementation to its execution and are thanked for their involvement and recognition of Wilbur E. Ternyik’s leadership and his legacy in Oregon.

Brief History of Land Use Planning in Oregon

In 1969 the Oregon legislature adopted Senate Bill 10. It required each county and city in the state to have a comprehensive land use plan that would meet state standards. The law failed to establish an effective enforcement mechanism and it did not provide adequate technical assistance from the state. Most counties and cities did not comply. 

In 1971 the Oregon legislature created the Oregon Coastal Conservation and Development Commission (OCC&DC). Twenty-four elected officials, complemented by six at-large representatives appointed by Governor Tom McCall, faced the notable task of developing an overall land use plan for the Oregon Coast.  Wilbur E. Ternyik was elected Chair.  As a volunteer, he was re-elected by his peers to continue to serve in this capacity until 1976, when the Coastal Goals and Guidelines were completed.  Under his direction and leadership, OCC&DC paved the way for later enactment of Senate Bill 100 in 1973, addressing land use regulations for the entire State of Oregon.

In 1972 the federal Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) was passed by the U.S. Congress.  All coastal states, including the Great Lakes, had the responsibility to decide how to “preserve, protect, develop, and where possible, to restore or enhance the resources of the nation’s coastal zone.”  The federal government promised consistency, ensuring that federal agencies would follow the land use plan laid out by the coastal citizens and communities and codified by the state. The federal legislation set a deadline requiring planning for coastal resources. Local representatives were motivated to comply or face the alternative whereby the federal government would take responsibility for preparing local coastal zone management plans. 

In 1973 the Oregon legislature created the Land Conservation & Development Commission (LCDC) through Senate Bill 100.  By December of 1974, Oregon adopted fourteen statewide planning goals and guidelines. One year later a fifteen statewide planning goal was adopted conserving the Willamette River Greenway.  In December of 1976, OCC&DC presented the four Coastal Goals and Guidelines to LCDC which became effective in 1977.

Oregon Coastal Conservation & Development Commission 

Under Wilbur E. Ternyik’s purview, OCC&DC meetings were held monthly up and down the Oregon coast. Meetings were filled with developers and environmentalists, Republicans and Democrats, property right advocates and land use activists, economic doomsayers and coastal naturalists – all sharing their perspective. One goal was to define the geographic area of the Oregon Coast.  Another was to prepare and understand natural resource inventories and to develop broad coastal management policies. Wilbur E. Ternyik and OCC&DC's  representatives and professional staff worked with Governors Tom McCall, Robert Straub and later Victor Atiyeh, in addition to working with state legislators, local elected officials and residents addressing development and implementation of Oregon’s Coastal Goals & Guidelines.  

Geographic Area:  Oregon’s coastal zone encompasses almost all watersheds that drain into the Pacific Ocean.  It spreads from the top of the Coastal Range to the Territorial Sea which extends three nautical miles offshore.  It extends from the Washington border on the north, to the California border on the south and includes all or portions of Columbia, Clatsop, Tillamook, Lincoln, Lane, Umpqua, Coos and Curry Counties. 

Coastal Management Policies Based on Natural Resource Inventories:  The Coastal Goals and Guidelines address Estuarine Resources, Coastal Shorelands, Beaches and Dunes, and Ocean Resources.   These land use planning regulations and guidelines are complemented by the fourteen statewide planning goals and guidelines developed by LCDC.

Wilbur E. Ternyik  and His Role 

Wilbur E. Ternyik grew up in Warrenton, Oregon and is a direct descendent of Chief Coboway, the Clatsop Indian Chief who greeted Meriwether Lewis, William Clark and the Corps of Discovery in 1804.  Mr. Ternyik, guided by his ancestry and his enormous respect for the beauty of the Oregon Coast , complemented by his professional expertise in natural resources, allowed him to lead a group with vastly opposing points of view to compromise. As Chair, Wilbur E. Ternyik led OCC&DC’s meetings wearing his Indian jacket.  He guided discussion, when needed, with his tomahawk.  His humor, wit, fairness, leadership and vision gave equal opportunity to all.

Wilbur E. Ternyik's professional background included working with the U.S. Soil and Water Conservation Service.  This depth of understanding led to Oregon’s Coastal Zone encompassing the entire watershed.  Wilbur’s personal business, Wave Beach Grass Nursery, dealt with beach dune stabilization. Through this, he helped federal, state and private clients to understand movement and stabilization of sand; his insight led to policies conserving Beaches and Dunes.  His involvement as Mayor of Florence and Commissioner for the Port of Siuslaw helped strengthen the economic value of smaller and larger ports by protecting commercial and sport fishing, barge traffic, shipping routes, and routine dredging and maintenance.  His national work with U. S. Army Corps of Engineers involving wetland and Eel grass restoration led to greater understanding and importance of estuarine and shoreland habitats.  Wilbur Ternyik understood the importance of applied science through decision making. He understood that man and the environment must work together to achieve the goals as required by the federal Coastal Zone Management Act.

In 2004 The Bridges Foundation, U. S. Senator Mark O. Hatfield and others honored Wilbur E. Ternyik for his extensive volunteer commitment he made to the people of Oregon as Chairman of OCC&DC from its inception in 1971 to its completion in 1976. Thereafter Wilbur E. Ternyik continued his role with Oregon Coastal Conservation & Development Association (OCCDA), later renamed as Oregon Coastal Zone Management Association (OCZMA).  The Wilbur E. Ternyik Tribute also recognized the many endeavors and other accomplishments Wilbur E. Ternyik provided by helping individuals, cities, counties, ports and tribes along the Oregon Coast.  Today, visitors marvel at Oregon’s public beaches enveloped by unaltered landscapes.  Much of this is possible due to the effort made by OCC&DC, its Chair, Wilbur E. Ternyik, and the many years of involvement by elected representatives and citizens along the Oregon Coast.

Learn more about Project Sponsors.

Following are details about the Wilbur E. Ternyik Tribute and about Wilbur E. Ternyik, highlighting his lifetime and legacy to Oregon and the Oregon Coast.

Wilbur E. Ternyik (right) honored in Florence, OR Lorenzo E. Ghiglieri, artist, presenting bronze with Kathy Bridges, The Bridges Foundation

Wilbur E. Ternyik (right) honored in Florence, OR
Lorenzo E. Ghiglieri, artist, presenting bronze with Kathy Bridges, The Bridges Foundation

Press Release, September, 2004
    Senator Hatfield, Bridges Foundation Announce Tribute Project to Wilbur Ternyik–Descendent of Clatsop Chief to be Recognized for Lifetime of Achievement             Improving Quality of Life on the Oregon Coast (PDF)
    Wilbur E. Ternyik Biography (PDF)
    Comments and Quotes About Wilbur E. Ternyik and His Legacy to the State of Oregon and the Oregon Coast
 Announcement from Senator Mark O. Hatfield and The Bridges Foundation September, 2004
     Announcement and Request (PDF)
     Biography of Wilbur E. Ternyik (PDF)
     Donations to The Bridges Foundation to Assist (PDF)

 Press Coverage for Wilbur E. Ternyik Tribute:

         "Former Senator Mark Hatfield Leads Effort to Honor Coastal Legend Wilbur Ternyik"  OCZMA Newsletter, October 19, 2004 (PDF)
            Printed with permission from Oregon Coastal Zone Management Association, Newport, OR

        "Wilbur Ternyik - A Life Built on Sand" Oregon Coast Magazine, September/October 2005 (PDF)
            Printed with permission from Oregon Coast Magazine, Florence, OR

         "'I Think We Won the War' Coastal Activist of American Indian Blood to be Memorialized in Seaside" February 20, 2006 (PDF)
            Printed with permission from Daily Astorian, Astoria, OR

         "Coastal Legend Wilbur Ternyik to be Honored" April 5, 2006 (PDF)
            Printed with permission from Siuslaw News, Florence, OR

         "Community Gives Tribute to a Life's Vision" April 15, 2006 (PDF)
             Printed with permission from Siuslaw News, Florence, OR

          "Bigger than the Bear" April 19, 2006 (PDF)
             Printed with permission from Siuslaw News, Florence, OR

          "Bust Honors Protector of Coast" April 30, 2006 (PDF)
             Printed with permission from The Oregonian, Portland, OR

          "The Sand Man of Florence" May 1, 2006 (PDF)
             Printed with permission from The Register-Guard, Eugene, OR

          OCZMA Newsletter, "The Clatsop-Nehalem Confederated Tribe Honors Wilbur Ternyik at Seaside Ceremony" November 21, 2006 (PDF)
             Printed with permission from Oregon Coastal Zone Management Association, Newport, OR

Additional Information About Wilbur E. Ternyik
    Professional Activities, 1954-Present (PDF)
    "The Japanese FlagWilbur E. Ternyik (PDF)
    "Planting Eel Grass for Oregon's Estuaries" The World, September 8, 1978 (PDF)
    "Creature of the Coast" The Register-Guard, March 30, 1980 (PDF)
    "Sand Dunes Expert Plants His Magic" April, 14, 1990 (PDF)
    "Mayor Plays Doctor to Animals" The Register-Guard, August 26, 1991 (PDF)
    "Ternyik to Marshal 85th Rhody Festival" March 25, 1992 (PDF)

 About the Artist, Lorenzo E. Ghiglieri
     Sketch of bronze by Lorenzo E. Ghiglieri
     Track the bronze in works ...
About the Clatsop-Nehalem Confederated Tribe
About North Coast Land Conservancy
About the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Event