No matter how you approach it—down 101 from Tillamook, Ore. or north from Depoe Bay Salishan comes as a shock. After miles of beer joints and tourist cabins, there—suddenly—is something worthy of its landscape, a resort community that doesn't abuse the view but instead preserves and even enhances this stretch of Oregon coast. Salishan is one of a handful of really distinguished new vacation communities to be built in America. It has been developed by John Gray, a native Oregonian who made a fortune manufacturing saw chains. Gray is dedicated to preserving the beauty of his state—as if in recompense for the scars a chain saw leaves. His investment—a natural bird sanctuary, a golf course and the extraordinary comfort of an inn at the center of a community that now includes 100 vacation homes—is way out of line for a fast-money resort. But at Salishan fast money obviously is not the idea.
A shingled row of condominiums, designed by Blair and Zaik, provides a dramatic accent near the edge of the sea. Setbacks not only provide shelter from the wind but privacy for a row of adjacent dwellings. Tennis courts are free for homeowners.
The Lodge (top) was designed by John Storrs. Its setting is a sea of yellow broom. The dune condominiums are of cedar siding, bleached as silvery as the jackstraw maze of redwood and cedar logs that drift up from the California lumber camps. Beachcombing is one of Salishan's most rewarding pastimes.
A child's playground contains a miniature Mt. Hood of bleached pilings, one of the rare evidences of man-made landscaping at Salishan. All planting is native to the Oregon coast, and the only "gardens" are in pots and boxes on decks of houses.
Residents fish for steelhead in Drift Creek and cast for flounder on Siletz Bay. By the summer, the hotel will have its own smokehouse and will smoke guests' salmon in exchange for half the catch. The hotel's share will be served as cocktail fare.
The motor inn, with an architecture best described as Northwest-Orient modern, has 126 isolated units, connected by covered walkways. There are a swimming pool and sauna and one of the best restaurants to be found between San Francisco and Seattle.
Houses stretch along the 2½ miles of beach or overlook the ups and downs of the 18-hole golf course. There is a design committee to control Salishan architecture, and it has approved a $10,000 gem of a vacation house as well as $100,000 spectaculars.