When you think of Coos Bay—the town of 16,000 on Oregon’s southern coast, which might be known to some Portlanders primarily for the Three Rivers Casino, the site where the New Carissa ran aground in 1999, or, of course, the birthplace of Steve Prefontaine—“high design” might not be the first thing that comes to mind. But a new RV park aims to change that.
Scheduled to open as early as next spring, the Camps at Coos Bay Lagoon will feature 220 camping sites and cabins, centered on a communal pavilion. On either side of the triangle-shaped property, campers can walk a short path to the ocean (as close as 50 yards during high tide). All of the structures echo the triangle’s V-shape, offering shelter from wind and the erratic Oregon Coast weather. A heated indoor pool in the clubhouse will offer respite as well.
“We researched RV parks and saw that many of their designs were outdated and geared towards a specific age group,” says Christian Robert, cofounder of California-based R&A Architecture and Design. “We wanted to make this a little more fun.”
The property, decommissioned in the 1970s as a lumberyard and mill, was dredged to make room for the new structures. Robert’s firm designed the property and worked with a local architect to build something that fits into the unique lagoon it will occupy. Still visible are the moorings of the mill’s old pier, which will eventually be rebuilt.
“We do a lot of hotels, and the Camps will feel similar as the design and greenspaces are spread out, like traditional hotel layouts,” Robert says, adding that the project was mainly inspired by El Capítan Canyon Resort, a nature-based coastal cabin and glamping site north of Santa Barbara.
“The goal is to borrow from the local architectural vernacular and reinterpret it,” he says. “We want to connect the natural beauty of the site and its history.”