PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A picturesque suspension bridge along the Oregon Coast Trail collapsed into Necarney Creek in Oswald West State Park on Dec. 27, after it was struck by several falling trees during a severe storm.

Oregon State Parks spokesperson Chris Havel told KOIN 6 News that the bridge was severely damaged during the storm and that it is likely a total loss. Crews are still clearing the park of the numerous trees that were downed by the severe December weather.

Havel said that a full assessment of the bridge will be completed when crews are able to remove all the trees from the area.

“Trees fell on it and dislodged a bridge anchor on at least one side,” Havel said. “Because of the number of downed trees still covering the bridge landings, we can’t do a full assessment of both north and south sides where the bridge connects to the trail.”

The bridge shortly after it was damaged by falling trees. (Craig Andes)

Rockaway Beach man Craig Andes said that he walked across the bridge several hours before the storm brought the surrounding trees crashing down. When he returned on his hike out, the bridge was in pieces.

“I’ve walked across that bridge 1,000 times,” Andes said. “When I walked across the bridge that day, I said to myself: ‘I wonder what the odds are that a tree falls across this bridge?’”

The damaged bridge isn’t the only discovery the local fisherman has made during his years of hiking the Oregon Coast. In 2013, Andes found the remnants of the famed “Beeswax shipwreck” — a 300-year-old Spanish galleon — while exploring the sea caves of Manzanita. 

Archaeologists, law officers, and search-and-rescue personnel execute the risky emergency recovery of 17th-century shipwreck timbers from the Oregon coast. They are believed to belong to the Santo Cristo de Burgos, a Spanish galleon that disappeared en route from the Philippines to Mexico in 1693. (Photograph by Balazs Gardi, National Geographic)

Thanks to his expert knowledge of the park, Andes said that he was able to go around the damaged bridge. Havel said that hikers can still get to the beach by crossing Necarney creek on foot. However, Oregon State Parks recommends that hikers wait for gentler summer conditions.

“A suspension bridge is still the best solution for this spot, but until we can get in there and look at the landings, we can’t start working on a timeline and budget to replace it,” Havel said. “We have trail and building damage at several parks from these last few weeks of fierce weather, so we’ll be juggling a batch of major repairs.”

The now-crushed suspension bridge was first built in 1990. It’s unclear at this time if a new bridge will be built in its place.