Community Demographics: Population and Housing

Gold Logo- Black Background

    Jon Souder – Coos Watershed Association; Don Ivy – Citizen at large


    View of Central Coos Bay and Bunker Hill neighborhoods from atop Telegraph Hill. Photo Credit: Lance Nix

  • Seniors and retirees comprised 5% of the population in 1930, grew to over 21% by 2010 and is expected to peak at about a third of the population by 2030.

  • The current racial/ethnic makeup of the project area is relatively diverse for rural Oregon even though the vast majority (greater than 85%) of people in the project are of solely Euro-American origin.

  • Neighborhoods with the lowest density of houses are Libby and Charleston, while Empire, Central Coos Bay, Sherman Heights/ Pony Creek, Telegraph Hill/Mingus Park, and West North Bend are the neighborhoods with the highest housing density.

  • The majority of housing has minimal to fair construction functionality, particularly single and multi-family homes.

Example of Bootstrap 3 Accordion

Just as the location and attributes of today’s neighborhoods inform a current understanding of local community identity, the history and experiences of the people who lived in those neighborhoods prior to today provide other appreciations.

“Historic data” as may be referenced here and in other chapters, includes more than the written record. It incorporates information derived from the oral histories of the Native Peoples who have lived on the Coos Bay estuary for millennia long before the earliest records of Euro-american exploration
and settlement were written. And it references information that might be gleaned from sources other than what is readily available from public and published sources.

We are fortunate that there exists a rich and detailed source of data for this chapter: the decennial censuses required by Article I §2 of the U.S. Constitution, conducted every ten years since 1790, enumerate every person in the country and provide background information on age, race and ethnicity, state and country of birth, and household characteristics among many other pieces of information. Census information for Coos County began to appear in 1860, the first census after statehood in 1859 and after the creation of Coos County in 1853, which was created from parts of Umpqua (remainder of which was combined with Douglas) and Jackson (subsequently
broke off into Curry) counties. We will use aggregated data at the county level where necessary, but more detailed city, community, and census block data will be used when it is available and appropriate.

The second significant data source for this chapter is the Coos County Assessor’s geospatial parcel database of tax lot information. This system is based on the Oregon Department of Revenue’s ORMAP Oregon Land Information System and is used to assist in property tax administration.
The database provides not only information about real estate lots, but also identifies zoning categories, whether improvements have been made to the property (i.e., buildings added), and if so, the date built and characteristics (e.g., number of bedrooms and baths). The ability to combine fine grain demographic information with spatially-explicit property information provides a powerful tool to better understand population and housing with respect to communities and neighborhoods.

This chapter will begin with a general discussion of population change and demographics, highlighting growth after the first contact with Euro-americans in the mid-19th Century. We will look at the growth of the first small communities, their subsequent incorporation into cities, and finally consolidation into the two cities that remain today. As much as possible,
we will identify where immigrants originated (both those born in the U.S. who moved from other states, as well as those foreign-born).

Of specific interest will be the distribution of ages within the population, and how these have changed over time, because these largely
influence future school needs, workforce availability, and demand for social and health services. As the number of residents grow, so does the need for housing and commercial developments to support them. This spread
can be seen in the census data, in the original General Land Office (GLO) surveys, in County land title plat maps, and finally, in the age of the oldest structures found in the Assessor’s database.

After this introductory material, we will describe the current (circa 2010) makeup on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis. For each neighborhood, we will examine the current demographics, number of households, and housing characteristics (including zoning).

Figure 7: Breakdown of household types in Coos County in 2010. Data Source: U.S. Census

Figure 8: Sizes of family and non-family households in Coos County in 2010. Data Source: U.S. Census

Figure 9: Sizes of owned and rented households in Coos County in 2010. Data Source: U.S. Census

Head of Household vs Householder


The householder refers to the person (or one of the people) in whose name the housing unit is owned or rented (maintained) or, if there is no such person, any adult member, excluding roomers, boarders, or paid employees. If the house is owned or rented jointly by a married couple, the householder may be either the husband or the wife. The person designated as the householder is the “reference person” to whom the relationship of all other household members, if any, is recorded.

The number of householders is equal to the number of households. Also, the number of family householders is equal to the number of families.

Head of Household

Beginning with the 1980 Census, the Bureau of the Census discontinued the use of the terms “head of household” and “head of family.” Instead, the terms “householder” and “family householder” are used. Recent social changes have resulted in greater sharing of household responsibilities among the adult members and, therefore, have made the term “head” increasingly inappropriate in the analysis of household and family data. Specifically, beginning in 1980, the Census Bureau discontinued its longtime practice of always classifying the husband as the reference person (head) when he and his wife are living together.

Historic Background

First Contact: The exact numbers of Native People living along or near the Coos estuary prior to Euro-american exploration and settlement is unknown; although some have speculated a population of about 2,000 (Mooney
1928). Disease epidemics from elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest that were brought into the south coast region by explorers in the 18th and 19th centuries decimated Native communities; thus “pre-contact” population
estimates should be qualified as speculation in most instances.

“Villages” of various sizes and numbers were located all along the estuary; the largest being in the vicinities of South Slough, North Bend, and Catching Slough.

Two distinct “Koosan” languages were spoken: the “Hanis” language dominated the upper reaches of the bay above today’s Empire District; while “Miluk” was dominant on the lower bay below Empire including South Slough and Cape Arago. “Chinuk Wawa” (a trade language used by virtually all Pacific
Northwest Native Peoples) was also spoken on the bay.

Descendants of those two language groups are the modern day members of the two federally recognized Tribes that headquarter on Coos Bay: Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians; and the Coquille Indian Tribe.

Several treaties were entered into between the Hanis and Miluks, and the United States government in the 1850’s. Although the treaties were never ratified by the U.S. Senate, they did serve the purpose of the U.S. military to remove virtually all native peoples on Coos Bay to a the “Coast Reservation” 100 miles north near present-day Newport.

The Coast Reservation was decommissioned in the 1870’s, and many of those still living who had been removed during the 1850’s returned to their homelands around the Coos estuary. In most instances, those who returned
found their former homes and villages now occupied by Euro-american homesteads, towns, and industry. According to Mooney (1928), estimates of how many Native People were living along the Coos estuary in the early 1900’s suggest about 50; although again those numbers are largely speculative.

Settlement and Growth: The first Euro-American settlement was prompted by the grounding of a U.S. Army sailing vessel Captain Lincoln in December 1851. The survivors established “Camp Castaway” on the North Spit and lived there through the winter trading and communicating with the Hanis people who lived near Empire. News of Camp Castaway’s eventual “rescue” also proclaimed the abundant resources and heretofore unknown and unsettled lands around the bay.

As a result of the news getting out, by late 1852 gold-diggings on the beaches south of Coos Bay gave rise to the short-lived town of Randolph. By mid-1853, the Coose Bay Commercial Company had established Empire City, primarily to provide goods to the gold diggings and also to make land claims for coal mines and farmsteads. Empire City was the County Seat until 1898, after which it moved to its current location, then called Coquelle

The U.S. Census of 1860 reports Coos County had a population of 445, of whom 421 were white and 24 were Indian. Significantly, census takers primarily visited white households; thus the Indian count includes only those from white residences. The 1860 census was also during the time when most Native People were removed to the Coast Reservation. It is important to recognize that there were enclaves of Native People who were not removed, mostly because they lived at places beyond the fringes of white settlement.

In 1860, Empire City was the largest of the four cities and towns specifically listed, with 170 whites and six female Indians; none of the other three cities and towns in Coos County (Coyville, Johnson, and Randolph) exist today. By 1900, the areas of what would become the modern cities of North Bend and Coos Bay were rapidly becoming the centers of commercial, retail, and industrial development on the Coos Bay waterfronts.

Figure 1: Population count for Coos County, from 1860-2010. North Bend, Eastside, Coos Bay and Empire are broken out. *Coos Bay numbers exclude Eastside and Empire. Data Source: U.S. Census

Between the 1860 and 1870 censuses the population of Coos County quadrupled to 1,644; Empire doubled to 381, Marshfield (incorporated in 1874 and renamed Coos Bay in 1944) had 402 residents; while the Coos River area (junction of the South Fork Coos and Milicoma Rivers) had 196. Coos County’s growth continued exponentially through the remainder of the 19th Century until its population reached 55,000 in the 1960 census (see Figure 1). Growth rose at a lesser rate in the municipalities of Marshfield and North Bend (incorporated in 1903) until the early 1890s when it accelerated until 1980 (with a brief interruption during the Depression in the 1930s).

Population growth peaked—and then stabilized—in the 1980s as the fishing and timber industries struggled over access to their resources and the financial effects of the recession. At its peak in the 1980 census, Coos County had a population of slightly over 64,000 (Figure 1) and had not yet recovered to this level by 2010. The City of Coos Bay grew slightly over this period (from 14,424 in 1980 to 15,967 in 2010), while the City of
North Bend dropped slightly (9,779 in 1980 to 9,695 in 2010).

The 2010 Census population count of Coos County amounted to 63,043. Figure 2 shows the distribution of population density by 2010 Census Block. The most densely populated areas of Coos Bay and North Bend are clearly shown in orange and red.

Age Class Structure

It is important to recognize that the age class composition of the population has also changed over time, and that these changes have real consequences in the demand for public services and the availability of labor for employment. The U.S. Census of Population provides data at a very fine scale (even counts by individual year), with a standard summarization
in five-year age intervals. The Oregon Department of Economic Development also provides projections at the County level for five-year age class intervals for the future extending until 2050. Thus, for Coos County we have historic age class data from 1930 to 2010, and projections for the years 2010 to 2050. Appendix A provides this data.

Figure 3: Trends in the four age groups in Coos County over the period from 1930 – 2050. Data Source: U.S. Census

There are four generally-accepted human stages of life that can help understand demographic patterns: school aged (5 – 19); family formation (25 – 34); peak earning (35 – 64); and senior and retired (65+). Note that there are two sets of ages (< 5 and 20-24) that are not included in this organization, so the total population does not equate to that shown in Figure 1. Note, too, that while it is difficult to ascertain the number of pre-kindergarten children, that prediction is important for school planning. The school aged group includes youth from kindergarten through the community college years. After a break for the traditional college years, military service, and roaming, the “family-forming” period is
traditionally when households are formed (i.e., marriage, purchase of a house, permanent employment, etc.); the majority of births occur in this age group.

The “peak-earning” years are when people usually settle into the community while they are raising their children and focusing on their careers. Retirement brings changes in people’s lives, often in residence location and participation in community affairs. As people age their demand for services changes— this is especially important for the elderly.

There have been some shifts in general behavior within these categories over the period from 1930 – 2010, and additional shifts are likely over the next forty years until 2050. For example, many people are marrying later and beginning families at an older age, while others are retiring earlier (and increasingly later) than the standard age of 65. Nevertheless, organizing population patterns into these four groups highlights a number of significant demographic trends that affect the community.

Figure 3 portrays trends in the four age groups in Coos County over the period from 1930 – 2050. While it is clear from Figure 1 that the total population of Coos County (as well as the Cities of Coos Bay and North Bend) increased rapidly over the period from 1930 through 1980, the composition of this population also changed, with the growth rates peaking at different times within the four categories. From a local economy perspective, the family-forming group can be considered a leading indicator
for the future patterns for both the school aged population (because this is the group having children that will subsequently attend school), as well as the peak earning group (since if they stay they will become this class
for the next three decades). As can be seen in Figure 3, the family formation group peaked in 1980 at just above 10,000 and subsequently declining 40% by 2000, with long-term projections in the 6,000 to 6,500 range.

Even while the family-forming population stayed relatively stable during the period from 1950 to 1970, the “baby boom” years resulted in significant increases in the school aged population, essentially doubling between 1950 and 1980 when the peak of 17,190 were in this age group. This boom in school aged children was not sustained, both because of the drop in the family-forming population between 1980 and 2000, but also because women had fewer children and delayed when they were having children. From its peak in 1980, the number of school aged youth has declined to just over 10,000 in 2010, and is projected to continue to drop by 2020. Projections show it is likely to stabilize in the 10,000 range through 2050. As seen in Chapter 7: Schools and Education these demographic changes have had significant
effects on the local schools.

Figure 4: Population of Coos County age classes by gender in 2010. Data Source: U.S. Census

While people in the peak-earning group undoubtedly enter and exit the community, many who settled here during their family formation years are reticent to leave. This can be seen in Figure 3 where the peak-earning
population peaked in 2000 even as the family-formatting age group had peaked in 1980 and was 40% less by 2000. Those people who stuck it out during the 1980s recession and declines in the forestry and fishing industries (and related services), finally saw their numbers decrease as a result of both decreases in the family formation population (recruits), as well as aging out and transitioning into the senior and retired class. However, as a proportion of the total county population, the peak earnings group is projected to stabilize at about 29%.

The drastic and continuing increase among all demographic groups can be seen in the senior and retired group. From comprising only about 5% of the population in 1930, this group has grown to over 21% by the 2010 census, and is projected to peak at almost 21,000 people and almost a third (32%) of the total population in the county by 2030 before finally stabilizing at about 30%. The increase in this group has resulted from a couple of factors: primary is that people are living longer in 2010 than they did in 1930, so the population is aging as well as surviving. Secondly, the project area is attracting retirees from other areas due to its comparatively low cost of housing and reasonable medical facilities, as well as its attractive climate and recreation opportunities.

Current Age Structure: Figure 4 shows the age class by gender within the project area in 2010. Classes by five-year grouping are displayed on the vertical axis, while the number by gender (female and male) within each age class is displayed on the horizontal axis. Of interest is that males have a slight majority in each class until the mid-40s, at which time there is a shift to females being in the majority. The differences in the early years are generally less than 2%; however, after age 50 the disparity in men compared to women begins to rise, and rises rapidly after age 75 to
the point where there are almost 1.5 women for every man (59% and 41%, respectively) in the oldest 85+ class. Another observation is consistent with the trends projected in Figure 3: there is a population bulge in the 45 – 70 age classes in Figure 4 that will continue to increase the seniors and retired group through 2030 as they age.

Race and Ethnicity: The settlement and population growth patterns discussed earlier also affect the current diversity of the population in the project area. Nathan Douthit, in his The Coos Bay Region 1890 – 1944: Life On A Coastal Frontier (1981) devotes a whole chapter to “The Foreign Born.” Using census data, he describes how the foreign born comprised 32% of the population of Coos County when the first census was taken in 1860 and then decreased during the early settlement days from 1880 up to the World War II (5.5% by the 1940 census). Scandinavians represented between 40% and 45% of the total foreign-born population, exceeding those from
English-speaking countries (Canada, United Kingdom, and Ireland) and from Germany (a distant third). He makes no mention of Mexicans or other Latino/Hispanic settlers, even though the U.S. Census Bureau begins to count them in 1890 when eight Mexicans were listed.

Table 1: Racial and ethnic characteristics. Data Source: U.S. Census of Population, 2010

As a result of immigration, migration, and inter-marriage, the current racial/ethnic makeup of the project area is relatively diverse (at least for rural Oregon) even though the vast majority (>85%) of people in the project are of solely Euro-American origin (Figure 5). The data shown in Figure 5 are self-reported in the 2010 census; the categories include those
who claim a single race, or a combinations of races.

Figure 5: Ethnic make-up of Coos County in 2010.
Data Source: U.S. Census

Native Americans make up about 6% of the population, and their numbers are greater (2,394) than population estimates prior to settlement by Euro-Americans. The other significant ethnic group is Hispanics, representing
another 6% of the population. Nearly 3% of the population reports having two or more races in their background, although there is some double-counting with other groups. And while Afro-Americans currently comprise
only about 1.0% of the population, they (as well as Chinese) have been present since the early days of settlement

Residence Patterns: While there is certainly a mosaic of ethnicities in the project area, there are still areas that comprise single race/ethnic residents among the 733 census blocks that are populated (see Table 1). For example, 158 blocks (21.6%) had all respondents classify themselves as White Alone. Another 336 blocks (45.8%) had more than 90% of the block classified as White Alone, and 433 blocks (59.1%) had 85.5% of their residents respond as White Alone. Conversely, there are only 13 blocks that have 50% or less White Only residents. A summary of racial population patterns for the entire project area is provided in detail below in the individual neighborhood discussions.

Figure 6: Distribution of Census Blocks based on their Shannon Diversity Index.
Data Source: U.S. Census of Population 2010

The 2,394 Native Americans identified in the 2010 census are the most widely dispersed ethnic group after Euro-Americans: they reside in 410 (56%) of the 733 blocks, and are dominant (≥ 50%) in eight blocks, including the Kilkich development on the Coquille Tribal Lands in the Barview neighborhood. Native Americans represent greater than 10% of the
population in 151 (21%) of the 733 blocks.

The second largest ethnic group, Latinos/Hispanics, are widely dispersed within the community: 393 blocks (53%) have someone of Latino/Hispanic descent, while 157 blocks (21.4%) have 10% or more of this group within a block. However, this dispersion is not uniform: there are 35 blocks (4.8%) that have greater than 25% of residents who are Latino/Hispanic, although these are distributed among 10 of the 17 neighborhoods. African-Americans, or Blacks, reside in 147 blocks (20%) in the project area, although they are greater than 10% of the population in only 14 blocks. In the block with the greatest number of Blacks (12), they are only 4% of the total population.

There are some blocks that are clearly more diverse than others in terms of their racial/ethnic composition. One metric that characterizes this diversity is called the “Shannon Diversity Index” (also known as Entropy).

We applied this index to the block data, and the census categories of Latino/Hispanic and to the other “Not Hispanic or Latino” populations of one race: White, Black or African-American, American Indian and Alaska
Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, Some Other Race and Two or More Races.

The Entropy Index is scored from zero to one, with census blocks having
only a single race scored 0, while blocks with an even distribution among the races would be scored 1 (Figure 6). The mosaic of diversity, which have an average Index of 0.1800 among all the blocks, the Shannon Diversity
Index within any given neighborhood is greater, with an average of 0.2775 and a range of 0.1904 (Libby) to a high of 0.3475 (Empire Lakes).

Households: In the 2010 census there were 17,431 households in the project area: of these 10,715 were family households containing 31,509 persons and 6,716 non-family households with 8,717 persons. There were
another 647 people who did not reside in households and were either in group quarters (e.g., institutions and college dormitories) or were homeless. Figure 7 shows the various types of households and their proportions. It is noteworthy that only 46% of the households are of the traditional husband and wife type (with or without children in the home).
Another 16% of households have a single parent with others living in the home; more than twice of these were headed by females (1,882) as compared to males (872).

Most households were small (Figure 8). Over 75% of non-family households were comprised of a single person; of those, 44% were male and 56% were female. The number of multiple-person non-family households declines rapidly as the number of household members increases. The pattern is somewhat different for family households, where by definition more than one person resides: about 52% of these are two-person households, another 37% are either three-person or four-person households, while slightly over 10% have five or more persons in the household.

There were 7,981 children (18 years or under) within households in the 2010 census. Other than the six who were a spouse, over 95% were related to a householder, of which 86% were their children. Only 55% of children were in traditional husband-wife households; over 20% were in single parent, female-headed households; and 9% were in single parent, male-headed households. Another 9% of children were living with relatives (generally
grandparents), but there were 351 children (4%) living in households with non-relatives. Only 28 youth lived in group quarters, 20 of whom were institutionalized.

There were 7,886 persons aged 65 years and older lived in the project area in the 2010 census. These people lived in one of three situations: in family households (63%), in non-family households (35%), or in group quarters (2%). In the 55% of family households where a householder 65 or older was identified, 80% were headed by a male; in 38% of the family households there was a spouse present. Of the 2,741 persons over 65 years of age in non-family households, 33% had a male householder, 60% had a female householder, and 7% lived with non-relatives. In most non-family households, the householder lived alone: 85% were males and 93% were females.

In this section, we will examine how people residing in the project area are housed. Specifically, we will look at the housing stock, its availability, type (single versus multi-family), and age. We will use both the 2010 census as well as the February, 2014 Coos County Assessor’s database for this analysis.

Occupancy Rates

There are 828 census blocks that contain some sort of housing, with a total of 19,049 housing units as single-family homes, multi-unit facilities, or group homes. Occupancy rates are generally high (92.5%) in the project area: about half (48%) of the blocks have 100% of their housing units occupied, while 90% of the blocks had over 80% of their housing units occupied at the time of the census. Of the 1,618 vacant housing units, 26% were available for rent, while about 17% were for sale. Of the remainder, 23% were for seasonal, recreational, or occasional use; and 29% were categorized as “Other Vacant”, which could be used by caretakers or janitors or for other personal reasons of the owner.

Noteworthy is the fact that zero housing units were designated for migrant workers, although the “Occasional Use” class also includes temporary use.

Tenure Characteristics

The 17,431 occupied housing units house 40, 226 people and can be divided into three categories: 1) those whose owner has a mortgage or loan on the property (37%), which house 16,381 people; 2) those owned free and clear (26%), which house 8,449 people; and 3) those occupied by renters (38% or
15,396 people). On average, rental units had slightly higher occupancy (2.48 persons) than owner-occupied unit (2.31 persons).

Figure 9 shows the difference in household sizes between owners and renters. Given the preponderance of owners (about 63% versus 38% renters), it is not surprising that there are more owner households in each household
size class compared to renters. However, renters tend to have a higher percentage in all categories with the exception of 2-person households (45% of owned compared to 28% of renters). In contrast, in larger households
(i.e., greater than 2-person) there is a greater proportion of renters compared to owners.

Another significant difference is in the age-class distribution of owners versus renters. Present-day distribution is reflected in Figure 10, although it should be noted that it takes time for young people to become sufficiently financially secure to own a home. Figure 10 shows the number of households in each age class (between owners and renters), while
Figure 11 displays the proportions of owners versus renters in these age classes. Not surprisingly, very few in the 15 – 24 year age class own a home (although there were 102 of them in the 2010 census). Home ownership
increases compared to rentals for all age classes until 75 – 85 years of age, after which it decreases as the elderly enter nursing homes or live with their children.

The change from renting to owning occurs in the 35 – 44 year age group (Figure 11), or what we called in Figure 3 the transition from “Family
Forming” to the “Peak Earning” life period. Up to that point, the vast proportion of householders rented. Subsequently, less than one-third rented until the age 65 – 74 age group when less than 20% rented. After age 75, the percentage of renters increases, but only to slightly above one-third in the oldest age group.

Fig 10 Household Tenure by Age

Housing Density

The density of housing by census block is shown in Figure 12 for the entire project area. Recall that census blocks vary in size depending upon target numbers of people and houses. Notwithstanding these variations, it is clear from Figure 12 that higher densities are found surrounding the estuary, along the north-south U.S. 101 corridor, and along the rivers and coast.

Densities are more relevant to the neighborhoods, which by definition have greater housing (and population) densities compared to the more rural areas. Figure 13 shows the relative proportions of housing densities at the block level within the boundaries of all neighborhoods in the project area. Just over 30% of the census blocks (322) within the neighborhoods have no housing units, either because they are completely commercial, are natural areas, or are not on land. Another 20% of blocks are still essentially rural, with average housing densities of less than two houses per acre (the U.S. Census Bureau likely added considerable uninhabited areas to these blocks).

In the more urban parts of the neighborhoods, the most common housing density was two to four units per acre, comprising about 25% of all the neighborhood Blocks. Another 16% (165) of the blocks had between four and six units per acre of land on average.

Table 2 provides summary housing and population data within specific neighborhoods. It is clear that there is a broad range of population
densities among the neighborhoods; some of this is due to the configuration of the census blocks (i.e., how much undeveloped land they include), and other reflects the mosaic pattern of housing in the project area. Least dense are Charleston and Libby, primarily because Charleston’s census blocks include significant areas of undeveloped land (e.g., Coos Head),
while Libby includes areas within the municipal watershed. Most dense are the earlier settlement areas of Empire, central Coos Bay, Sherman Heights – Pony Creek, Telegraph Hill – Mingus Park, and West North Bend. Housing
densities in the neighborhoods are directly related to population densities, and vice-versa.

Housing Stock

Housing characteristics in the project area can be determined from data provided by the Coos County Assessor who uses this information to determine the taxes owed on each parcel of property. The assessed value of structures on a piece of property is dependent on the type (e.g., single family, mobile home, apartment, etc.), sizes (e.g., number of bedrooms and baths), and quality (divided into seven classes based on appearance and materials). The classification of structures for tax purposes is governed by the Oregon Department of Revenue, and counties are provided with guidance to characterize each property.

Table 2: Summary of population and housing data by neighborhood in 2010

Housing Structure Types
There are 61 different types of housing structures classified in the Assessor’s database (excluding hotels and motels). These can be divided into four major categories: single family residences, multi-family residences (e.g., duplexes to fourplexes), manufactured housing, and apartment buildings (Figure 14). Single family residences provide the bulk of the housing stock (85%), comprising 11,713 out of 13,466 structures in the project area. The next most common type of housing are manufactured homes (10%), ranging from single-wide mobile homes to triple wides in four
different quality classes and two divisions (real property or personal property). There are 1,341 mobile homes on individual land parcels, with another 36 RV parks that contain multiple residences. Multi-family options
are more limited: only 3% (466 building) are 6-16 Population and Housing
multi-family residences, while another 1% (124 buildings) have apartments.

Figure 11: Age class distribution by percentage of renters versus owners in Coos County in 2010. Data Source: U.S. Census

Single Family Residences:
Given the high proportion of single-family residences in the project area, it makes sense to examine their age and condition. Over 95% of residences listed in the Assessor’s database (as of February 2014) contain information on the year they were built. Figure 15 (left side) shows the number of houses built per year, with the earliest record in 1870 (three structures), and continuing through 2014. Housing construction was cyclical in the early 1900s, with a downturn during the Depression (only 13 existing houses were built in 1933, and 25 in 1934). There are clear housing increases in the late 1940s into the early 1950s resulting from veterans returning from World War II (who availed themselves of GI Loans), and the baby boom creating need for more room. During the period from 1946 – 1955, almost 25% of existing houses in the project area were built, with the highest annual
number ever (438) being constructed in 1950. A similar (albeit lesser) boom-and-bust cycle occurred in the mid-1970s through the mid-1980s; with between 200 and 300 houses built per year from 1976 through 1979, decreasing in the early 1980s until only 21 existing houses were built in 1986. While there was a slight boom in the early 2000s, the pace of construction recently has been fewer than 100 new houses per year.

Figure 13: Housing density by census block for Coos County in 2010.
Y-axis is number of census blocks; x-axis is density. Data Source: U.S.

The implications of these housing cycles can be seen in the right panel of Figure 15, which shows the cumulative age distribution of residences in the project area. One-fifth (20%) of existing residences are 75 years of age or
older, over half are 55 years or older, and fully 80% are thirty years or older. While many older houses are still serviceable and provide a diversity of styles that positively contribute, others are well past their usefulness and detract from the community and neighborhoods.

Table 3: Quality classes for residential structures. Data source: Coos County assessors, 2013.

The Assessor’s datafile classifies each property on its construction quality as well as size (e.g., floors, numbers of bedrooms and bathrooms,
etc.). There are eight classes for single-family residences, three of these are also used for multi-family residences, and four for manufactured houses (Coos Co. Assessor 2013). Table 3 lists these classes with their identifiers; ODR 2005 provides brief descriptions, and an Assessor’s
publication (Coos Co. Assessor, 2013) provides guidance on how to apply these classes to individual properties.

Figure 14: Housing structures in the project area by general type.

Figure 16 shows the distribution of housing quality, in aggregate, for the project area separated into the three primary residential categories. Over half of conventional single family housing is categorized as having minimal functional utility, with the majority of the remainder having only fair quality. There are both lesser quality conventional houses – about 10% are
in class two and there are a few in class one. There are better quality conventional houses as well, with about 7% in class five and less than 1% in classes six and seven, but none in class eight. The quality of multi-family housing is even more skewed: about three-quarters of this type is of minimal functional quality, with the majority of the remainder as fair quality.

Figure 16: Construction quality of housing stocks. Data source: Coos County assessors database, 2014.

Duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes, provide a comparatively small number of housing units in the project area (Figure 12). They have been constructed at a relatively even pace of up to 10 per year since the early 1900s, but there was an up-tick during the housing boom of the late 1970s when 10 – 25 units were built per year (for a total of 92). The vast majority of multi-family housing is considered to have minimal functional utility (class 3), although since the 1990s a shift to better quality (class 4) has occurred (Figure 16).

Manufactured Housing
Manufactured housing, which includes both the traditional mobile homes as well the more recent factory-built houses, comprises about 10% of housing units within the project area based on the Assessor’s datafile (Figure 14).
However, this certainly underestimates the extent to which these types of structures provide housing because it does not include individual units in manufactured housing/RV parks or mobile homes that are considered personal

Figure 17: Types and numbers of manufactured housing (left), and when built (right).. Data source: Coos County assessors database, 2016.

Manufactured housing was originally homes that could be moved, but more recently includes factory-built housing that is considered permanent. Figure 17 (right panel) shows that existing structures began to be installed in the late 1950’s, and then went through cycles similar to conventional housing with booms in the late 1970s, troughs in the 1980s, peaks again in the mid-1990s and mid-2000s, and finally the bust during the Great Recession of the late 2000s. Criteria for assigning a classification to a manufactured home depends upon whether it was constructed prior to 1990, or afterwards (ODR 2005).

Figure 15: Annual single family residences built (left) and their cumulative ages (right). Data Source: County Assessor’s database, 2016.

There are 14 classes of manufactured
housing included in the Assessor’s data (Figure 17 left panel). The vast majority of these units fall into two types: double-wides in class five
represent 40% of manufactured housing, while those in class six are 34%. Another 10% are in larger, high-quality triple-wide units. Examining the detailed information on when existing manufactured housing units were built shows a pattern of increases in size and construction quality over time as manufactured houses became viewed as substitutions for conventional
construction rather than just a budget option. This can be seen when single wide trailers predominated until the mid-1970s, at which time
double-wides began rising to ascendancy with their quality shifting from class four to class five in the late 1970s and then to class six beginning
in the early 1990s. Triple-wides, which began to be installed in the 1990s, have always represented about a quarter of units compared to double-wides, and were always predominantly class six in their construction standard.

Apartments and Group Housing
Residential buildings containing five or more units are classified into two types: commercial buildings and apartments. Excluding hotels, motels, and Bed and Breakfasts, there are a total of 124 buildings in the project area that provide greater than five living units. Of these, 110 are classified as “Commercial ≥ 5 Units,” while ten are classed as “Apartments” and another four are Government Subsidized housing (Table 4). Thirty of the 124 buildings were constructed prior to World War II, with the earliest two being built in 1885 and 1900. Many of these are the classic apartment buildings seen in central Coos Bay and Sherman Heights (downtown North Bend) neighborhoods. A second spurt of apartment building occurred during the housing boom in the 1970s, with 41 buildings being constructed during the period from 1970 to 1979. In addition to these buildings, there are
36 manufactured housing/RV parks, predominantly in Barview and Charleston. There are an additional seven assisted living and retirement homes.

Up to this point in the chapter, we have provided an overview of the demographics of the community’s population and housing in aggregate at the county and project area scale. For the remainder of the chapter, we provide delve deeper into the neighborhoods that we identified in Chapter 3 to look at their characteristics in more detail. To do this, we will again use the 2010 census data at the block level, this time aggregated into neighborhoods. We will provide more detail by using Coos County Assessor’s
data that characterizes the type, size, and quality of housing on each land parcel. The Assessor’s parcel data will be aggregated into our designated neighborhoods similarly to the process used for the 2010 census data. Combining these two datasets allows for a much richer examination of the project area than either in isolation provides.

Properties with five or more residences by neighborhood. Coos County Assessor’s database, 2016.

Table 5 provides summary housing and population data within specific neighborhoods. It is clear that there is a broad range of population
densities among the neighborhoods; some of this is due to the configuration of the census blocks (i.e., how much undeveloped land they include), while some reflects the mosaic pattern of housing in the project area. Least dense are Charleston and Libby, primarily because Charleston’s census blocks include significant areas of undeveloped land, including Coos Head, while Libby includes areas within the municipal watershed. Most dense are the earlier settlement areas of Empire, Central Coos Bay, Sherman Heights – Pony Creek, Telegraph Hill – Mingus Park, and West North Bend. Housing densities in the neighborhoods are directly related to population densities, and vice-versa.

Figure 18: Population distribution by life stage in the project area neighborhoods (with average cumulative %). Data source: U.S. Census of Population and Housing, 2010. Variables P0120002 to P0120049.

In terms of population, Charleston and Libby have the fewest people among the neighborhoods, while Sherman Heights – Pony Creek has the greatest number, followed by Barview, Empire, and West North Bend. Population densities are largely determined by the number of people living in the neighborhood (second column from left in Table 5), as well as area of the neighborhood (third column from the right in Table 5). Charleston and Barview are the two largest neighborhoods in terms of acreage, but Barview has over 3,000 people while Charleston has fewer than 500, giving rise to the 10 times higher density in Barview. The densest populations are in the more urban neighborhoods of Central Coos Bay, Empire, West North Bend, Sherman Heights – Pony Creek, and Telegraph Hill – Mingus Park, with
more “suburban” densities (1–4 people/acre) in the remaining neighborhoods. The exception to this is Charleston and Libby, which are more rural in character with less than one person per acre (but also include a lot of land that is in forest use).

Table 6: Status (2010) of vacant housing units in the neighborhoods. Data source: U.S. Census of Population and Housing, 2010. Variables H0050001 to H0050008

There are also some distinctive differences among the neighborhoods in their demographics (Figure 18). Earlier in this chapter (Figure 3 and adjoining text), we looked at the four life stages that are used for demographic analysis for the entire project area. In Figure 18, we add additional categories for under five years (“Pre-kindergarten”) and those years when people are attending college or joining the workforce (“Adult Transition,” ages 18 – 24). The horizontal colored lines in Figure 18 represent the cumulative average proportions for all the neighborhoods. Using these lines, allows evaluation of trends since if a neighborhood is
representative of the average, the colored line for that life stage should be at the top of the equivalent colored column for that neighborhood. For example, the life stage composition of the West North Bend almost exactly matches the overall average. Focusing on the “Family Formation” stage (i.e., the gold bars), where the neighborhood bars are above the average
line, there is a greater proportion of younger people in that neighborhood; conversely, where those bars are below the gold average line, the neighborhood is comparatively older. Two distinctions are immediately apparent: Charleston and Libby had approximately half the proportion of pre-kindergarten aged compared to the other neighborhoods; and the Radar Hill – Ocean Blvd neighborhood had quite a bit more (35% total) Senior and Retired compared to the other neighborhoods. Not unexpectedly, the Empire Lakes neighborhood that includes the Southwestern Oregon Community College campus has significantly more of the adult transition age group.

A similar analysis can be conducted of general neighborhood housing patterns (Tables 4 and 5). Those neighborhoods with higher populations
have the largest number of housing units: Charleston and Libby have the fewest, and Sherman Heights the highest (Table 5). The 2010 census occurred during an economic recession, particularly in the housing market which, locally, had been in a small boom (Figure 15). The number of housing units, compared to those occupied (the middle columns of Table 5) shows that, on average, 92% (range 88% – 96%) of housing units were occupied when the census was taken. The neighborhood with the highest occupancy was Libby
(96%), with Airport Heights, Empire Lakes, and Hospital Park – Milner Crest also having high rates (all 94%). Lower occupancy rates were seen in Barview (88%), Charleston (88%), and Telegraph Hill – Mingus Park (89%).
Vacancy rates are the obverse of occupancy rates, but the reasons for vacancies may vary by neighborhood. Table 6 shows the reason, where determined, for these vacancies. In some neighborhoods the census enumerators had an easier time determining vacancies, in others it was more difficult. As seen from the “Other vacant” row, the range of “Other Vacancy” was between 10% (Charleston) and 64% (Libby) with an average of 27%.

The state of the economy in 2010 may be the reason for relatively high levels of unoccupied housing due to them being for rent and for sale. This ranges from a low of 9% of vacancies in Libby, to over 70% in the Radar Hill – Ocean Blvd., and West North Bend neighborhoods. Interestingly, both Barview and Charleston have the lowest percentage of houses in these categories, but the highest in seasonal, recreational, and occasional use as the reason for a unit being unoccupied. This is not surprising due to
their closeness to the Pacific Ocean. Temporary rentals through AirBnB and Vacation Rental By Owner (VBRO) internet-based reservation systems have grown recently, as can be seen in two examples on Cape Arago Highway just
before the Charleston bridge.

The chapter will conclude with a series of one- page vignettes describing the demographics and housing for each of the sixteen neighborhoods. Much of the information is similar to that provided in aggregate form earlier in the chapter. In addition, there is an aerial image of the neighborhood (as used in Chapter 3) for reference. Charts are provided showing each neighborhood’s population in five-year intervals; its racial/ethnic composition; the housing stock by major type (see Table 4 for additional information), when the single family residences were built and their construction standard; and the size of households in the neighborhood
distinguished between whether the housing unit is owned or rented. The data sources for the charts are the 2010 census and 2014 Coos County Assessor database.

Airport Heights Neighborhood

• Total population (2010) in the neighborhood
is 1,625, consisting of 687 housing

• The population is balanced in age groups,
but is predominantly white with fewer
Latinos and Native Americans than other

• Of the 687 housing units, 645 are occupied.
63% are owned and 37% rented.

• Housing is predominantly single-family
residences, mostly built in the 1940s,
1950s, and 1970s, with minimum to fair
functional utility.

Barview Neighborhood

• Total population (2010) in the neighborhood
is 3,339, consisting of 1,561 housing

• The population tends towards the peak
earning ages, and while predominantly
white, has some diversity of other races.

• There are 1,380 occupied housing units,
with two-thirds owned and one-third

• Housing is predominantly single-family
residences (70%), 30% manufactured
homes, and 10 mobile home/RV parks.

Bunker Hill – Bay Park Neighborhood

• Total population (2010) in the neighborhood
is 1,409, consisting of 642 housing

• The population includes higher numbers
of young adults; while predominantly
white it has a Latino presence.

• There are 580 occupied housing units,
with 57% owned and 43% rented.

• Housing is 76% single-family, but also
includes some multi-family and manufactured
homes (20%), mostly older and of
modest quality.

Central Coos Bay Neighborhood

• Total population (2010) in the neighborhood
is 1,782, with a total of 959 housing

• The population includes higher numbers
of young adults, and while predominantly
white there is some racial diversity.

• There are 864 occupied housing units,
with 38% owned and 64% rented.

• Housing is 93% single-family, but also has
the greatest amount of multi-family and
apartment buildings. Residences were
mostly built pre-World War II.

Charleston Neighborhood

• Total population (2010) in the neighborhood
is 452, with a total of 249 housing

• The population includes higher numbers
of young adults (e.g. students at U.
Oregon’s marine station, and Coast Guard
housing), as well as retirement aged.

• There are 220 occupied housing units,
with 71% owned and 29% rented.

• Housing is mostly single family residences
(82%), although there are some
multi-family, apartments, and five mobile
home/RV parks.

Eastside Neighborhood

• Total population (2010) in the neighborhood
is 1,411, with a total of 663 housing

• The population tends towards younger
ages, with low overall racial diversity.

• There are 616 occupied housing units,
with 71% owned and 29% rented, with
most built during the booms of the 1950s
and 1970s.

• Housing is mostly single family residences
(88%), although there are some
multi-family, apartments, and two mobile
home/RV parks.

Empire Neighborhood

• Total population (2010) in the neighborhood
is 3,209, with a total of 1,385
housing units.

• The population tends to younger ages,
with greatest diversity in the project area.

• There are 1,281 occupied housing units,
with 47% owned and 53% rented, most
built during the 1950s with minimal functionality.

• Beyond single family residences (86%),
there are 7% multi-family, 15 apartment
buildings, three assisted living, and three
mobile home/RV parks.

Empire Lakes Neighborhood

• Total population (2010) in the neighborhood
is 3,209, with a total of 829 housing units
and includes the SWOCC campus.

• The population tends towards younger ages,
including a likely SWOCC cohort, and is comparatively
diverse for the project area.

• There are 781 occupied housing units, half
each owned and rented, most built after
the 1970s or more recently, some of better

• Beyond single family residences (87%),
there are 6% multi-family, and two apartment

Englewood Neighborhood

• Total population (2010) in the neighborhood
is 1,534, with a total of 687 housing

• The population includes large numbers in
the “adult transition” and “family formation”
age cohorts.

• There are 657 occupied housing units,
with 61% owned and 39% rented, mostly
built in the 1950s and of minimal functional
utility, although there are some
nicer quality homes.

• Almost all homes are single-family residences,
although there are seven apartment

Hospital Park – Milner Crest Neighborhood

• Total population (2010) is 1,522, with a
total of 657 housing units.

• The population includes large numbers
in the “family formation” and < five years
age cohorts.

• There are 615 occupied housing units,
with 70% owned and 30% rented, mostly
built in the 1940s – 1960s with better
than average construction quality.

• Primarily single-family, there are some
multi-family residences (3%), as well as
three apartment buildings.

Libby Neighborhood

• Total population (2010) in the neighborhood
is 554, with a total of 247 housing

• The population includes large numbers in
the “peak earning” age cohort.

• There are 236 occupied housing units,
with 84% owned and 16% rented, with
large diversity in building ages and construction

• Housing stock is two-thirds single-family
residences, one-third manufactured

Radar Hill – Ocean Blvd. Neighborhood

• Total population (2010) in the neighborhood
is 2,757, with a total of 1,509
housing units.

• The population is skewed towards the
“peak earning” and “retired/senior” age,
with average racial/ethnic diversity.

• There are 1,391 occupied housing units,
with 65% owned and 35% rented, built
almost entirely after World War II.

• Housing is primarily single-family (87%)
but diverse, including 14 apartment buildings
and nine mobile home/RV parks.

Sherman Heights – Pony Cr. Neighborhood

• Total population (2010) in the neighborhood
is 3,945, with a total of 1,848
housing units.

• The population is well distributed among
the age cohorts, with average racial/ethnic

• There are 1,688 occupied housing units,
with 53% owned and 47% rented, with
building ages well distributed and primarily

• Housing is 91% single family and includes
almost 10% multi-family residences, and
18 apartment buildings.

Simpson Heights Neighborhood

• Total population (2010) in the neighborhood
is 1,101, with a total of 553 housing

• The population is well distributed among
the age cohorts, with average racial diversity.

• There are 513 occupied housing units, with
41% owned and 59% rented (the highest of
the neighborhoods), with buildings constructed
mostly before World War II, and
with functional utility standard.

• Housing includes 5% multi-family residences,
and six apartment buildings.

Telegraph Hill – Mingus Park Neighborhood

• Total population (2010) in the neighborhood
is 1,566, with a total of 809 housing

• The population is well distributed among
the age cohorts, with low racial diversity.

• There are 723 occupied housing units,
with 53% owned and 47% rented, with a
mix of older and pre-1990s buildings of
functional utility.

• Housing primarily single-family (97%)
with 3% multi-family residences, and 11
apartment buildings.

West North Bend Neighborhood

• Total population (2010) in the neighborhood
is 3,046, with a total of 1,372 housing units.

• The population is well distributed among
the age cohorts, with average racial diversity.

• There are 1,276 occupied housing units,
with 539% owned and 41% rented, mostly
built in the 1950s – 1970s, most of functional

• Housing includes 5% multi-family residences,
six apartment buildings, one government-
subsidized multi-family residence, and
two retirement communities.

Figure 2: Population density by 2010 Census Block. . Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 Census Redistricting Data (P.L. 94-171)

Figure 12: Housing density by 2010 Census Block. . Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 Census Redistricting Data (P.L. 94-171)

Appendix A: Coos County population trends and projections, 1930 – 2050.

Appendix B: Methods to allocate population and housing to split U.S. Census Blocks

There are twelve blocks in the neighborhoods determination where 2010 U.S. Census Blocks were divided to make more logical configurations (Table B1). However, population and housing densities are not uniform among these divisions, so a determination was made on how to apportion them. The block divisions will remain where they are logical, but the population and housing will be apportioned according to the following procedures. Some blocks were split prior to the latest neighborhood assignments, and with the final determination of boundaries these split blocks are in the same neighborhood. In these four cases, the geographic file will be edited so the original census block is replaced with no split. GEOID10 (Table B1) Blocks 41011005045011, 41,011,5045014, 410110005045040, and 41011005045052 fit this situation, and in two of the blocks there are no people or occupied houses.

For block splits resulting in two different neighborhoods, the primary determinant is that neighborhoods do not cross city limits, and areas that are within the county but surrounded by the two cities are allocated to a neighborhood within the city, based on residences’ mailing addresses. GEOID10 Block 41011004006013 fits the case where there is a sliver of the City of North Bend extending south into the Hospital Park – Milner Crest
neighborhood in the City of Coos Bay. There are two complete blocks outside the city but north of Empire Lakes that were put into the West North Bend neighborhood based on their mailing address.

In other cases, there is a preponderance (± 90% in PCNT AREA of Table B1) of the split block in one neighborhood, and a negligible amount in the other(s). Upon examination of the aerial image it is apparent that virtually all the residences are within one of the split blocks, so all the population and housing statistics are allocated to the predominant neighborhood. GEOID10 Blocks 41011000504037, 410110007008023, and 41011007008044 fit this case. GEOID10 Block 410110005044010 is placed in the Empire rather than Radar Hill-Ocean Boulevard neighborhood because there are apartment buildings in the Empire section and only seven residences in the Radar Hill portion of the block.

The remaining two split blocks are more difficult because the blocks are split almost evenly between two different neighborhoods. GEOID Block 410110007003000 has no discernable break between the adjacent neighborhoods, and in addition Milner Crest School ends up being in the Mingus Park neighborhood. My recommendation is to put this block entirely
into the Telegraph Hill-Milner Crest neighborhood. Even more difficult is GEOID10 Block 410110007006004 which is split between the Central Coos Bay and the Englewood neighborhoods (Figure B1). It is unfathomable why the census designated this as a block, since the north end is up behind Marshfield High School and extends north to Blossom Gulch, west of South 10th Street, and south to parts of California Avenue. There are too many houses to class it as “Non-neighborhood” so this may be the only block where a split makes sense.

Table B1: Split U.S. Census Blocks in the project area neighborhood file (11/10/2014).

Figure B1: Census Block 6004 split by neighborhood.