Reedsport, Oregon was founded in 1912 when Warren P. Reed of Gardiner, Oregon realized that the Eugene-Coos Bay Branch of the Union Pacific Railroad was going to cut across property that he owned. Reed owned the 4000 swampy acres south of the Umpqua River and the heavily wooded hills beyond.
Reed diked the site, filled it with dredged materials and laid out the townsite. The town was named for his father, Alfred W. Reed. Merchants J.H. Kennedy and his partner Mr. Brown were among the first to open shop.
The town flooded repeatedly – worst in 1927 and 1964 after that, there were a series of dikes and gates built to avoid future problems. In 1935-36 the bridges over the Umpqua and Smith Rivers were completed and thus set the stage for increased traffic on Highway 101.
The downsizing of the timber industry, decreased commercial fishing catches, and the stagnation of the economy has led the town to go from a rough and tumble boom town to a slumbering retirement village. It is ripe for tourism and touristic development.