TILLAMOOK COUNTY PIONEER’S QUESTIONS FOR CANDIDATES: City of Oceanside (proposed) City Council

It’s election time – and in Tillamook County there has been an increase in participation in our government process with many races having multiple choices. The Pioneer is proud to provide this opportunity for our community to make informed voting choices and learn about the candidates. Tillamook County Pioneer’s Questions for the Candidates – November 2022. We will post the candidate’s answers (that we received) in all the national, state and local races, including those from candidates in uncontested races. These questions were gathered from a diverse array of Tillamook County citizens, and provides an opportunity for constituents to compare candidates answers directly.

If Oceanside voters approved incorporation, then a city council will also be elected. Here are the candidates for City Councilor Positions for the proposed City of Oceanside – vote for 5: Blake Marvis, Cynthia Miller, Jerry Keene, John Prather, Sharon M. Brown, Craig Wakefield, Gill Wiggin, Bruce Jaeger, Simeon Dreyfuss

Blake Marvis

What is your vision of a thriving community?

As a second-generation Oceanside resident who plans to live and raise a family here, I care deeply about the community and Oceanside’s future. My vision of a thriving community is one where the Oceanside community has autonomy to make its own decisions and chart a path into the future that benefits our community. I envision a community that: (1) has improved road maintenance, including local access roads; (2) sound fiscal budgeting, including reserve funds for unexpected and long-term projects; (3) utilizes TLT revenue to benefit Oceanside, while maintaining a livable community by holding STRs accountable; (4) has improved beach access and new public trails; (5) allows the community’s voice to be heard on new development projects, rather than relying on the county who largely ignores our concerns; and (6) has a city government that is comprised of our neighbors and takes the community’s concerns legitimately.  These are the pillars of a thriving Oceanside.

If elected, what would you do within your position to advance this vision?

Building a city from the ground up is no small task. While a thriving Oceanside is the goal, it will be a long process to get there, one full of tedious “in the trenches” work that must be done to ensure the City can function properly. With my legal knowledge as a foundation, if I’m elected to City Council, I will ensure that the City first passes the necessary operating ordinances and comprehensive plans to function properly.  Then, I would rely on community input to craft solutions to bring us better roads, better STR regulation and accountability, more public trails and recreational projects, and ensure this is all done within the fiscal abilities of the City.

Please provide a SWOT analysis of your municipality/district:

Strengths – strong community involvement, a community of professions with an array of experience, already existing special districts and services allow for the City to focus on limited responsibilities such as land use and emergency preparedness.

Weaknesses – without a city structure, there is no real ability to obtain grants for emergency preparedness, land use issues are left to the county and often overlook the concerns of the community, many roads are left unmaintained due to them being considered “local access” by the county, there is no ability to directly control STRs and the community loses the ability to use the TLT revenue it generates to its own benefit.

Opportunities – the biggest opportunity Oceanside has to address the issues and changes it faces is to incorporate as a city. The financial soundness of incorporation has been vetted extensively, including by the County treasurer, director of community development, and Board of County Commissioners. All found that Oceanside’s incorporation was feasible. In fact, incorporation is the only opportunity for Oceansiders to address the many concerns we have regarding STRs, commercial and residential development, road maintenance, and emergency preparedness.

Threats – the biggest threats facing Oceanside all boil down to the community not having direct control over its future. More commercial and residential development is coming to Oceanside whether we incorporate or not. STRs will likely continue to proliferate, which impacts the livability of our community, and drives up home prices to such an extent that only large investors have the capital to purchase a home, leaving families in the dust. Additionally, the looming threat of an earthquake and tsunami mean that we need to have a resilient community prepared for a disaster, but currently there are no funding sources for Oceanside to utilize to prepare for such an emergency. These threats are real and incorporation is the best way to take our future into our hands.

Let’s focus on the positive things going on. Tell our readers about what you will do, if elected to make positive contributions to the community.

 If elected to City Council of Oceanside, I believe the most positive way the Council can contribute to the community is to ensure that everyone’s concerns are being listened to and considered. Too often people are disillusioned with their elected officials and don’t feel they have any influence over their decisions. This will not be the case in Oceanside. Rather, public input will be sought out and welcomed. This is especially true as our community is small enough where the concerns of each individual can actually be heard. Additionally, I plan on working close with the Oceanside Neighborhood Association so that not only the concerns of residents will be heard, but he concerns of those who own property in Oceanside as well.

There are many challenges facing our community. What are the issues you think are NOT being adequately addressed?

STR regulation, road maintenance (including local access roads), emergency preparedness (for both short-term storm issues and long term tsunami/earthquake concerns), and increased development without considering the impacts to the community.

If elected, how would you work to address these issues?

I would rely on community input to first determine how the community feels about these issues. I would then take that input to find solutions that address the community’s concerns and present options for how the City can manage and address issues like STR regulation and emergency preparedness. Then, after input on these options, I would work with other council members to pass regulations and ordinances that address such concerns. For example, if the community wanted to set up a emergency stockpile of first aid kits, food, and other emergency materials, I would investigate grant funding opportunities for this and get approval through the city council to apply for such grants or find ways to fund such a project directly.

What is your experience in municipal government service?

I don’t have any direct experience in municipal government service, but as a practicing litigation attorney, i’ve both brought and defended municipal lawsuits related to violations of ordinances, land use restrictions, and personal injury claims. As a result, I have a deep understanding of how to anticipate and manage potential litigation against a city and understand the legal necessities of forming a city.

Jerry Keene

Vision for a thriving community.

One of the most exciting prospects of forming a new city will be the opportunity for Oceansiders to come together and forge such a vision.  For me, the key elements will be (1) laying a foundation for long term financial stability; (2) planning procedures inclusive of both part time and full time residents, and (3) structuring policies in a way that ensures livability is at least equal in priority as economic interests.

SWOT (P)

Strengths:  Oceanside has already established stable, publicly managed entities to provide sewer, water, fire/emergency protection and a community hall.  In addition, our 130-plus short term rentals generate more than $600,000 in TLT revenue and operator’s dues that the new city will be able to capture and put to work in our community. That will enable a new municipal government to operate with a lean staff with sufficient resources to focus on unmet needs, like roads and visitor management.

Weaknesses:  Half of Oceanside’s property owners are absentee or part time residents, and the great majority of residents are retired and over 65 years old. Attracting their interest and involvement in a municipal government is our greatest challenge and greatest opportunity.

Opportunities:  As stated above, Oceansiders are mostly retired and at a stage where civic engagement takes a back seat to relaxation, travel and family interaction. At the same time, their extensive experience and skills in a variety of professions and trades represent an invaluable reservoir of talent if we can engage them – as the Oceanside Neighborhood Association (“ONA”) has successfully done in recent years.

Threats:  Oceanside’s rustic village atmosphere charms everyone who visits it, including investors and tourists.  Structuring city institutions and processes to manage that growth will be our most urgent task.

Plans: During my five years as ONA President, among other goals, I focused on establishing positive relationships with leaders and institutions, both inside our community and outside it. As a City Councilor, I would work to leverage those relationships in a way that helps our new city get up and running successfully.

 

What’s not being addressed?

Oceanside’s local roads have not been the county’s highest priority for its scarce resources over the past 20 ears. That is probably the most pressing need.  Short term rental management comes in a close second.

Plans to address it.

Oceanside is projected to capture $600,000 a year in TLT funds that now go to the county, of which 30% will be available for roads and other general services.  Those funds, combined with state revenue sharing (gas tax) and ODOT paving grants, should provide ample funds to construct a road maintenance program that more than doubles the $27,000 a year that the county currently spends on Oceanside’s roads.

 

Civic Involvement.

I served as Oceanside Neighborhood Association President for 5 years and currently serve as Vice President.  During that time, I organized a revision of the Oceanside Community Plan, developed an effective e-mail newsletter program, initiated Zoom meetings for safety and to increase participation, initiated a local emergency preparedness program and worked with County and State Park officials to design and fund installation of the new beach access.  I am also President of the Oceanside Protection Society 501(c)(3) community foundation, which I revived in 2019 to engage in fundraising for local improvements.  I have also served as an informal legal advisor to the Oceanside Community Club Board of Directors.

 

Sharon M. Brown

What is your vision of a thriving community? 

If elected, what would you do within your position to advance this vision?

My vision for a thriving Oceanside is a community that recognizes and celebrates the unique small-town community while recognizing we are a beautiful destination for visitors and tourists.  Working to respect the interests of residents and visitors is critical to a thriving community.  If elected, I would listen to the interests of all parties.  A City of Oceanside is in a better position to make that balance based on our unique characteristics and needs, rather than relying on the County to do so for us.

 

Please provide a SWOT analysis of your municipality/district:

Strengths – Oceanside has a history of community involvement and volunteerism through the Oceanside Neighborhood Association, the Oceanside Community Club, and the individual and group efforts of our residents and visitors. 

Weaknesses –  Oceanside includes several different neighborhoods with different structures, and sometimes those differences cause us to look at issues differently.  I will strive to listen to the different issues and opinions, and work to benefit Oceanside in all areas.

Opportunities – Right now, our biggest opportunity is to take control of our future by incorporating as a City.  This allows us – our residents – to have a much larger and more direct say in what happens in our City.

Threats – In my opinion, the threats to Oceanside are primarily from fear of change and unwillingness to proactively address the changes that are coming to our community from increasing development, tourism, and other external pressures.

 

Let’s focus on the positive things going on. Tell our readers about what you will do, if elected to make positive contributions to the community.

Oceanside is growing at a faster rate than ever, and our proportion of short-term rental properties has significantly increased, putting pressure on our community despite the pause recently by the County Commissioners.  We understand growth brings pressure on things like roads, services and our quality of life.  Recent surveys of residents confirm the great majority of residents do not want to ban these rentals but rather have effective regulation and enforcement of rules that will encourage peaceful coexistence rather than conflict.  The City of Oceanside has the opportunity to decide the appropriate conditions and rules as well as provide direct enforcement.  Similarly, the City will also be able to prioritize local needs for roads, land use planning, and emergency planning in a way that working with the County has not allowed in the past.  I will work personally to hear the opinions and concerns of all residents and create a structure that will take Oceanside into the future with security and stability.

There are many challenges facing our community. What are the issues you think are NOT being adequately addressed? 

If elected, how would you work to address these issues?

 Currently as an unincorporated community, Oceanside must rely on the County to handle many of our services and needs.  We are basically competing with the other unincorporated communities in Tillamook County for scarce resources and staff time.  Roads in our community are a good example, and the Tillamook County Public Works Director Chris Laity agrees a City of Oceanside is in a great position to take over those duties and prioritize those which the community deems appropriate.  As a City, we are also eligible for funding sources not available to unincorporated areas.  This is but one example of the many areas our City can improve on over the services currently provided by the County. 

What is your experience in municipal government service?

I have spent most of my career working in different government service, through state, county and city organizations.  I spent five years working directly for the City of Hillsboro in the Police Department, and worked very closely with city council in that position.  I have been responsible for creating budgets and administering them after adoption, as well as applying for large-scale grants and administering them after approval.  I spent the last year investigating and researching the potential for Oceanside to successfully become a City, and if the voters agree I believe I will be a responsive and responsible voice for the community on the Oceanside City Council.  Thank you for this opportunity to tell you a bit of my story.

Gill Wiggin

What is your vision of a thriving community? 

A thriving community is one that works together to find solutions to everyday problems while also planning for problems that may be on the horizon. But “problems” and how we deal with them are only one aspect of a thriving community. Thriving communities create. They create cultural events and social gatherings that bring people together to break bread or learn something new. They create healthy environments and activities for kids to enjoy within their community so they learn what being part of a community truly means. They create infrastructure that addresses daily needs and is thought through to address the daily needs of future generations as well. Thriving communities work to build a better future, not just for themselves, but also for those that come after.

If elected, what would you do within your position to advance this vision?

If elected I would keep a future-focused mindset as we construct the backbone of our city, working to make a city government that can be built as we grow. I will work to pass legislation that encourages family housing and brings young families to our community and help to balance our generational demographic. I will advocate for a roads program that not only helps to improve road quality but also creates safe walkable paths to our outlying neighborhoods to help connect our community. I will utilize my community organizing experience to identify problems unique to individual neighborhoods and work with them to find solutions.

Please provide a SWOT analysis of your municipality/district:

Strengths – Oceanside has a uniquely high density of skilled professionals and passionate locals who are dedicated to improving our community.

Weaknesses –  Currently Oceanside has zero local control and decisions are made by people who don’t have to live every day with the consequences of their decisions.

Opportunities –Incorporation and the potential for local control over our own future as a community.

Threats – Special interest groups like Airbnb and Vacasa ruining housing opportunities and turning Oceanside into an investment opportunity instead of a community.

Let’s focus on the positive things going on. Tell our readers about what you will do, if elected to make positive contributions to the community.

My goals if elected are fairly simple: improve the roads which have been neglected and deprioritized for decades, work to create safe, walkable neighborhoods for our community and visitors, reign in short term rentals and prioritize family housing instead, and work to build a city government that listens to and works for the community.

There are many challenges facing our community. What are the issues you think are NOT being adequately addressed?

Roads, housing,short term rental and tourism management, walkable neighborhoods, and accountability of our representatives.

If elected, how would you work to address these issues?

Oceanside incorporating presents a unique opportunity for our community. I will work to plan for the future our community wants while we build our city, and at the same time focus on addressing the issues which have plagued us for years. In regard to roads I will work to create a budget for annual road maintenance cycles, starting first with the roads which have suffered most from years of neglect and seek outside grants to increase these budgets without undue burdens on the taxpayer. Short term rentals and tourism management is arguably one of the biggest issues affecting Oceasiders daily. Whether it’s due to parking, trash, housing or noise, the tourism industry has had a dramatic impact on the quality of life for our community and requires new systems of accountability to address it since the current systems obviously aren’t working. I hope to introduce a more accessible online system for filing complaints and clearly articulated consequences for those rentals which cause problems.

What is your experience in municipal government service?

While I don’t have experience working directly in municipal government, my job with Missoula Institute for Sustainable Transportation(a small non profit) often involved working directly with city governments and the university transportation network to advocate improvements to bicycle infrastructure around Missoula. In this job I developed relationships with city councilors to better advocate these improvements but was also familiarized with the various bureaucratic red tape involved with navigating county and state laws to get these projects done. As community organizer working with Missoula’s houseless population I worked with others in my community to help solve problems when city efforts, or concerns, fell short. This work included organizing weekly meals, getting much needed supplies like sleeping bags and warm clothes to people living in encampments, and organizing and staffing an emergency warming shelter during a particularly cold Montana winter. All of this work required the ability to identify assets within the community and foster valuable relationships to get the work done.

Bruce Jaeger

Critically Important!

First and foremost I am encouraging all voters to vote against incorporating Oceanside.

The principal reason, our population and budget size are inadequate to support a city structure that would effectively represent members in all neighborhoods, control the special interests of a few, and demonstrate a fair level of oversight in our processes.

Second, I am concerned with what we would be losing from the County in support. A more robustly funded and supported neighborhood association, in partnership with the county, would better meet our community needs without the added bureaucracy, financial risk exposure, and administrative costs found in city government.

Finally, it is my opinion that three united votes on a council of five members opens the door to the promotion of special personal interests over the needs of the community. This lends itself to coercion, excessive control of authority, and too limited oversight. The result will likely lead to a divisive community.

What is your vision of a thriving community?

A thriving community is one where the members of the community are heard, respected, and engaged in the needs of the community.  The citizens of a thriving community recognize, appreciate, work to maintain, and sustainably utilize the natural resources contained within.   The leadership of a thriving community looks to hear all voices, recognizes the value a diverse and engaged citizenship provides, and acts on behalf of them, recognizing the community has entrusted their voice to him/her in stewardship.

If elected, what would you do within your position to advance this vision?

I will nevertheless do my best if elected as a city council member to represent all property owners fairly, demonstrate fiscal responsibility, and work diligently in a sincere effort to unite and sustain this community. Each of the individual neighborhoods that make up greater Oceanside have different characteristics, different legal issues and different needs.  It is important, therefore, to get representation on an Oceanside city council from someone outside of the village area with a different perspective and set of priorities.  We live in a beautiful region of the state, and I would like to see us keep it that way!

 

Please provide a SWOT analysis of your municipality/district:

Strengths – Incredible natural resources, Very accomplished and engaged citizenry, relaxed and accepting neighborhood communities, and excellent county expertise and financial support when requested.

Weaknesses – Some failing infrastructure that needs attention and non-inclusive leadership in community governance.

Opportunities –It has been made very apparent to me in working with the community on ballot measure 29-167 that we have a tremendously accomplished and engaged citizenry ready to help, and looking for leadership and task/project management support.

Threats – The political division the incorporation proposal has created in the community poses a threat to our serene community life.  We need to listen to the community decision on Nov 8th and move to reunite our citizens, addressing our needs in a practical, fiscally responsible, and realistic manner.

 

Let’s focus on the positive things going on. Tell our readers about what you will do, if elected to make positive contributions to the community. 

Again, it is my goal that your readers, who are registered voters in the identified area, vote “no” on the incorporation of Oceanside.

Again, if elected and Oceanside incorporates, I will do my best as a city council member to represent all property owners fairly, demonstrate fiscal responsibility, and work diligently in a sincere effort to unite and sustain this community. Each of the individual neighborhoods that make up greater Oceanside have different characteristics, different legal issues and different needs.  It is important, therefore, to get representation on an Oceanside city council from someone outside of the village area with a different perspective and set of priorities.

There are many challenges facing our community. What are the issues you think are NOT being adequately addressed? Some failing infrastructure in the village and inclusive neighborhood representation in the community neighborhood association.

If elected, how would you work to address these issues? The failing infrastructure identified in the village needs to be addressed with the county partners and a path forward created to resolve the issues.  A neighborhood association needs to be composed of representatives from each neighborhood, with active attention given to all voices.

What is your experience in municipal government service?

I worked on the financial end with governments and special districts, including bond issuances and budget analysis.

13-years, JPMorgan Chase Bank, NA. VP & SRM, Government & NFP Banking, OR and WA

25-years, US Bank, VP & Senior Business Banker, Oregon and SW Washington

Management Leadership Team JPMorgan Chase

Charitable Givings Team, Contributions Committee, Community Investment Team JPMorgan Chase Bank NA