By Oceansiders United*
In late 2021, more than 200 members of the Oceanside Neighborhood Association (ONA) voted overwhelmingly (62% to 38%) to endorse incorporation. On December 14, 2021, the ONA Board received an “offer” from Beaverton resident Yuriy Chanba, a vacation home owner in the Avalon neighborhood. It contained this threat: “[T]his is a communication of an offer. You drop our neighborhoods from consideration just as you did [The] Capes, we stay friends, and we make no efforts to sidetrack your project for the Village. … Now, if you decide not to drop our areas, we have no option, but to fight your proposal very deliberately, every step of this multi-step process. We will not fight for just exclusion of our neighborhoods, but for bringing the whole project down. [W]e will put up a vicious fight.” The ONA declined this “offer.”
True to his word, Mr. Chanba subsequently created “Oceanside True Friends PAC” as a vehicle to carry out his vendetta. Since then, it has doggedly waged a vicious campaign against incorporation that is truly remarkable for its shameless reliance on false narratives, divisive insinuations and outright fabrications. The September 22, 2022, op/ed from “True Friends” is only the most recent example of their readiness to push fiction over fact in pursuit of a grudge.
- FICTION: Second home owners have “no say” on incorporation because they cannot vote on the measure. FACT: Petitioners did not write the election laws, but they did give second home owners a meaningful “say” on incorporation. Before filing the petition, the incorporation proponents promised to drop the entire initiative unless ONA members endorsed it (which they resoundingly did). They offered the ONA this potential veto because its membership is split between part- and full-time residents, and because the County recognizes the ONA as Oceanside’s official representative on land use matters. In this way, petitioners purposefully gave second home owners the chance to participate in an up-or-down vote that mattered, even though they could not vote in the eventual election.
- FICTION: The proponents included “outer” Oceanside neighborhoods because they “need the tax dollars of property owners outside the village.” FACT: This is sheer demagoguery shrewdly designed to pit neighborhood against neighborhood. It was Tillamook County that formally recognized the unincorporated community of Oceanside as a single, “urbanized” community in its Comprehensive Land Use Plan two decades ago. More importantly, residents from the “outer” neighborhoods have always played a key role in Oceanside’s civic institutions. Now someone suggests a tax to support the community and the organization that calls itself “Oceanside True Friends” suddenly wants nothing to do with Oceanside.
- FICTION: The proposed budget provisions “do little to provide for the budgeting of” the new city’s anticipated services and needs. FACT: The petitioners extensively researched and prepared an “Economic Feasibility Plan” with projected budgets as required by law. It documented that the City of Oceanside would enjoy revenues of $1 million a year, which is ample for a city of 300 residents. During six months of hearings, the economic plan was validated by the County Treasurer, Public Works Director and Community Development Director and unanimously approved by the County Commissioners. In so doing, the Commissioners rejected the same vague and uncorroborated criticisms that True Friends still persist in pushing. Notably, the opponents COULD HAVE APPEALED the Commissioners’ decision, but they didn’t.
- FICTION: The outer neighborhoods deserved to be excluded from the proposed city for the same reasons as The Capes, which only escaped because they hired a lawyer. FACT: Combining envy with an implied disdain for lawyers is a clever tactic, but in this case, it is bunk. Everyone who actually paid attention at the county hearings knows the County Commissioners rejected the attempt to artificially carve Oceanside into pieces because the zoning in those excluded areas would have reverted to severely restricted “farm” or “rural residential” land use classifications that existed before Oceanside was created. That would have decimated their property values and development rights. It was the state and county land use officials, not the lawyers, who pointed out that The Capes (and only The Capes) was historically zoned in a way that would keep that from happening if they were excluded.
- FICTION: The county held hearings to “gauge the desire for incorporation” and then disregarded a majority of letters that opposed incorporation. FACT: True Friends either misunderstood or is misrepresenting the purpose of the hearings. Mr. Chanba (who introduced himself as being “from Beaverton”) did in fact pepper the Commissioners with comments and letters opposing incorporation, as did others. But, as Commissioner Mary Faith Bell emphasized, “I just hope that people understand that … the decision we make today can’t be based on how many public comments we received ‘for’ or how many we received ‘against.’ [It must be] based on whether or not we believe that the [incorporation] proposal is feasible.” (7/28/2022 audiotape at 34:10) As noted above, the ONA membership overwhelmingly voted to ENDORSE incorporation at a meeting held for exactly that purpose. That vote was a far more legitimate indicator of public support.
- FICTION: “Taking a part-time vacation community and forming a city to address locally isolated, community concerns is not a smart or fiscally sound long-term resolution.” FACT: This is beyond arrogant. The 300 full time residents of Oceanside did not forfeit their right to form a city to address their “community concerns” merely because some non-residents consider it their own, private “part time vacation community.” Oceanside is a community with civic pride and residents who lead real lives. It’s not just a resort.
Incorporation is an opportunity for Oceansiders to come together for an informed choice about our future. We trust that they will focus on the facts that and not be diverted by the inflammatory fictions being spread by “Oceanside True Friends” in the pursuit of a personal grudge.
*For more information, go to www.oceansidersunited.com