Bearing the name of Newport’s first city manager, Donald A. Davis Park is a bluff-top swatch of grass and cobblestones overlooking popular Nye Beach. More familiarly known as Don, Mr. Davis oversaw the affairs of the then-budding coastal city for nearly three decades. His tenure is covered by a biographical ebook.

Ray, a 100 Steps reader and long-time Oregon Coast resident, shared this about Mr. Davis:

I can’t believe it has been almost 41 years that we have lived here, and our first small house was on Elizabeth St right down the road from this park. When I first moved here employment was very tough, and when things were really bleak Don Davis (who had a very big soft spot for any Vietnam vet) hired me on a short term basis with the City. My job was to plant trees out at the Newport airport, and remove any of the old WWII communication equipment on premise. It was a two fold job, the city got a tax break for using the airport as an agricultural entity, and Don took care of me even though I was not really needed.

Don had his hand in many well meaning concerns and felt he had a responsibility to always give back. There was a quiet respect for Don among the city workers, especially the vets! I miss people like Don who truly believed the buck stopped with him, and never asked for great recognition’s for the good things he did. I can still picture me (a very young 23 year old) sitting across from Don being told to go see personnel, I was to start work the next morning.

As you enter Donald A. Davis Park, a towering metal, winged woman greets you. Because of the unique pieces and shapes used in assembly, I’d venture a guess she is made of reclaimed materials. In contrast are the sleek, shiny lines of a bicycle likeness standing next to the gazebo. In my eyes though, the outstanding piece in the hilltop outdoor art display is the creative tribute to whales integrated into beach grass and sand.

Stroll by these sculptures or tuck into the enclosed gazebo. Rest on a choice bench or zigzag down the cliff path to the beach. The walkway at Donald A. Davis Park in Newport leads you to each of these possibilities, all with the mighty blue Pacific as the backdrop.

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View bench

50 Steps Wheels:

Surrounded by undulating beach grass, a lone bench perches above sea and sand at the north edge of Donald A. Davis Park. From this prime, albeit exposed seat, you can gaze at the ocean, glimpse Yaquina Head Lighthouse, and scan the waters for whale spouts. Binoculars are in order to enhance the sights.

Walk Details for View bench
Terrain: Small decline on cobblestone walkway followed by a short uneven, sandy path.
Seating: One bench
Fee: No fee
Restrooms: Yes, on the east side of the parking lot.
Directions: From Highway 101 in the Nye Beach district of Newport, turn west on West Olive Street. After several blocks, just as the road bends to the left, you’ll see the parking lot on the right. The path to the bench starts near the middle of the west side of the parking lot. Head right when you run into the main path. You’ll see the bench and path to it on your right, just before the boundary wall.

Gazebo

50 Steps Wheels:

An enclosed gazebo serves as the centerpoint of Donald A. Davis Park. Inside, you’ll find a dedication sign, commemorative wall, contributors’ plaques, and – get this! – a buried time capsule. Wood fanciers will appreciate the open beamed construction and windowed cupola. Best of all, you can enjoy the seaside view through the salt film on the large, square glass panes while protected from wind and rain.

Looking for a budget friendly, ocean view wedding venue with out-of-the-elements seating? This gazebo may be the place. The price for beginning your matrimonial bliss here is risk rather than dollars; accepting no reservations, if someone beats you to the altar on your special day, you will have to wait your turn.

Walk Details for Gazebo
Terrain: Small decline on cobblestone walkway. Level concrete floor in gazebo.
Seating: Six sections of benches connected to central posts
Fee: No fee
Restrooms: Yes, on the east side of the parking lot.
Directions: From Highway 101 in the Nye Beach district of Newport, turn west on West Olive Street. After several blocks, just as the road bends to the left, you’ll see the parking lot on the right. The path to the gazebo starts near the middle of the west side of the parking lot.

Beach

200+ Steps Wheels:

Newport is long on coastline: about 4 miles of sand stretch from the Yaquina Bay north jetty to the Yaquina headland, and even more miles of shore continue both south and north of these landmarks. Nye Beach is in the middle of this length of land.

If you’re itching to get your feet on sand, you can descend to Nye Beach from Donald A. Davis Park via a cobblestone walkway that is steep enough to warrant a switchback, but broad and smooth enough for a wheelchair. To save time or steps, the journey can be shortened by starting from alternate parking on the street.

Walk Details for Beach
Terrain: Cobblestone walkway descends to beach.
Seating: Unknown (if you have details – let me know!)
Fee: No fee
Restrooms: Yes, on the east side of the main parking lot.
Directions: Option 1: From the bench above, follow the walkway along the low wall until it descends to the beach (~450 steps). Option 2: Continue past the parking lot described above. The road will veer left to parallel the beach. When you see the second walkway park street side, then take the path to the beach (~275 steps).