El Fincho Rancho / Zig Zag ZooLoran Finch
Agate Beach, Oregon, United States
About the Artist/Site
Zig Zag Zoo, also known as El Fincho Rancho, was created as one man’s mission to beautify his home for his sick wife and eventually transformed into a beloved seaside attraction in Newport, Oregon. Loran Finch and his wife Helen moved onto the property near Yaquina Bay in 1968, marking a new chapter in the couple’s life following Loran’s previous roles as a sailor, cartoonist, furniture salesman and electric contractor.
Work began on the construction of Zig Zag Zoo as Finch adopted the role of caregiver for Helen, who had become ill as a result of medical malpractice. Not wanting to venture far from his ailing wife, Finch cast his attention on their immediate surroundings and began collecting and assembling various objects and artifacts that made their way ashore.
Before its destruction in the early 2000s, Finch’s Zig Zag Zoo was a key attraction of Newport, being described in the travel guide “In Search of Western Oregon” as a “mind-boggling collection of things from sea, land, and, for all its exuberant zaniness, sky.” Other reports of El Fincho Rancho recall the fishing paraphernalia, toilets, spare auto parts, lawn flamingos, and assorted pieces of decorated driftwood sculptures that simultaneously confounded and amazed anyone who stopped by Loran Finch’s labor of love.
~Nikki Ranney, 2023
Friedman, Ralph. In Search of Western Oregon. Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton Printers, 1990.
Jenkins, Robert N. “Coasting Through Oregon.” Tampa Bay Times, August 14, 1994. COASTING THROUGH OREGON (tampabay.com)
SPACES Archives Holdings
1 folder: correspondence, images
Map & Site Information
Agate Beach, Oregon us
Latitude/Longitude: 44.6752455 / -124.060439