KNOW YOUR CANDIDATES
For the May primary election there are five (5) candidates running for Lincoln County Commissioner for Position 1, replacing Doug Hunt. They are: Greg Holland, Mitch Parsons, Casey Miller, Carter McEntee and Walter Chuck.
There are four (4) candidates for Lincoln County Commissioner, Position 3. They are: Kaety Jacobson, Ryan Parker, Mark Watkins and Randy Mallette.
One of the candidates submitted comments in both English and Spanish; the Spanish replies can be found below that candidates responses to each question.
RESPONSES TO ALL QUESTIONS FROM CANDIDATES FOR POSITION 1:
Greg Holland: No response received
Mitch Parsons: No response received
Carter McEntee: No response received
Walter Chuck: No response received
1. What will you do to improve the emergency notification system for Lincoln County in the event of a natural disaster (such as tsunami, earthquake or wildfire)?
Casey Miller: Currently, Lincoln County uses a “Whole Community Approach” to emergency and disaster notifications. It is an effective program and quality improvement will always be a priority. Emergency Management has a comprehensive website that both residents and visitors should study closely: Click Here for More Information
These are the county’s primary means of emergency notifications.
· Local Radio. Local radio is a valuable way to receive emergency notifications. Partnerships with our locally owned AM & FM radio stations remain vitally important. KSHL 97.5 FM, The Wave 93.7 FM, The Otter 110.7 FM, KYAQ 91.7 FM, Yaquina Bay Communications radio stations. For more specific details see the Emergency Management sections of Lincoln County’s website. The County’s EAS emergency messages interrupt local radio broadcasts if necessary to transmit information to the community.
Areas I want to improve: As tourists visit our community they should tune in and be aware of which radio stations are local. I will encourage the county and chambers of commerce to be messaging visitors so they realize these stations are important sources of information. Residents should all purchase handheld battery powered radios with extra batteries. I will be continually proactive in nurturing our relationships with local media and ensuring that our radio stations have the operational and sustainable staff and hardware they need to keep their broadcasts on the air.
· Lincoln Alerts. This program allows the community to receive county alerts on their land line phones, cellular phones and email. There are over 14,000 individuals signed up on this system. Lincoln Alerts also allows emergency responders to activate IPAWS (Integrated Public Alert & Warning System) and (EAS (Emergency Alert System) which sends out messages to local radio, television and to cellular/mobile phones.
Areas I want to improve: As tourists visit our community they can “op-in” to Lincoln Alerts. Both the county and chambers of commerce should be messaging that visitors sign up for this technology while they are visiting Lincoln County. Additionally, all residents should consider registering for Lincoln Alerts. The more signed up the better.
· Digital media/social media. The county uses its website to centralize its emergency messages. Then, it pushes out those messages onto other digital platforms including its own social media sites. It’s important for the community to realize that all emergency messages by the county’s emergency operations center originate on one online location. The website page(s) for a disaster are the official communication source.
Areas I want to improve: The county needs to increase its capacity for monitoring community information within its emergency operations center. This is called “media monitoring”. We need to “build our bench” and expand the numbers of trained staff to serve on our EOC. The internet and social media provide the community powerful means to communicate information to each other. This community information is also valuable to emergency operations. More community members are needed as official liaisons with emergency operations. I would like us to build a citizen program that has designated community members who are identified and trained to provide boots on the ground information.
Additional Improvements: Lincoln County needs continued advocacy, partnerships and training with its fellow jurisdictions. Preparedness is a continual process. Elected officials and staff come and go. As a county commissioner I will continually work with all our community partners to be trained and ready. Everyone needs a go bag… (Watch: Click Here for More Information)
2. What are the primary driving economic forces in Lincoln County? How would you balance economic forces with maintaining quality of life for Lincoln County residents?
Casey Miller: Lincoln County’s economic study (2010) identified our economic forces as: commercial fishing, marine science, fishing, tourism, timber, agriculture and “transfer payments and investment income” (social security payments, veteran’s benefits, Medicare-Medicaid, 401k’s, IRAs, and rents). These are the largest sectors that when combined create the total personal income of our county. (See Study)
A county commissioner is one voice of three that oversees the government’s day-to-day operations. County government provides many services that are the backbone to economic development occurring all over our county. As a County Commissioner my responsibility is to deliver a balanced budget and maintain the continuity of essential county services into the future. Additionally, it is the commissioners’ responsibility to echo the needs of our community into the many governing bodies that stimulate and support workforce development, transportation and various programs that impact the sustainability, growth, health of our people and natural resources. (Visit: Study)
Quality of life is a synthesis of our many perspectives and interests. Attaining balance begins with the deep recognition that our citizens are the stakeholders. Listening is a process of gathering our community’s collective wisdom and defining a shared vision that all can agree to. I believe we need to develop a countywide strategic plan that will assist the entire community in finding consensus for short term and long-term prosperity goals.
3. How will you support the goals of measure 21-203, including the 5-year phase-out of short-term rentals (STRs) in residential areas of unincorporated Lincoln County, as a means to help improve our long-term housing stock and neighborhood livability?
Casey Miller: The Board of Commissioners are charged with defending the will of the people as expressed in the election approving Measure 21-203. As a new commissioner, if measure 21-203 is still in litigation I will ensure that our government is doing everything it can to support its legal defense in LUBA. If 21-203 is upheld, then I will ensure that the county is making every effort to support the roll out of our measure and that the integration of ordinance #523 supports (not diminishes) the measure where possible.
Note, it is optional for the Commissioners to revise ordinance #523 to further reflect the will of the people. I see no reason that (ordinance #524, 525,526, etc.) cannot further create more restrictions on STR activity should that be desired by our community.
RESPONSES TO ALL QUESTONS FROM CANDIDATES FOR POSITION 3:
Mark Watkins: No response received
1. What will you do to improve the emergency notification system for Lincoln County in the event of a natural disaster (such as tsunami, earthquake or wildfire)?
Kaety Jacobson: The County’s current emergency notification system is Lincoln Alerts, you can sign up below.
Lincoln Alerts allows various agencies in Lincoln County to notify you of variety of situations from severe weather, missing persons, to distant water tsunami’s and wildfires. Continuing to fund Lincoln County Emergency Management is a critical part in improving emergency communications and response. People must be signed up for Lincoln Alerts to receive the information and Lincoln Co. Emergency Management department participates in many outreach events which help spread the word about Lincoln Alerts as well as other general emergency preparedness topics.
Beyond Lincoln Alerts, a critical part of our emergency response plan for large scale events is our call center. In my first term as a commissioner, I approved funding an expansion of our call center expanding the number of phone lines capacity. It was less than a year later that we implemented this improved call center capacity for COVID and then later in the year for wildfires. Beyond the expanded phone line capacity, it became clear during the Echo Mountain Complex Fire that the need for additional call center volunteers, especially those from various geographic parts of the county was critical. While working the call center myself on numerous occasions, I learned that volunteers from a particular community are a lot faster in understanding roads and locations in that community than someone who does not live there. During the Echo Mountain Fire I expedited many call center volunteer applications from North Lincoln County so that they could better help their friends and neighbors during the evacuation and in the days to follow.
During the fire I recognized that during major disasters we need more public information officers working for the county that can help get information out to the public, as information changes rapidly and requires more people power than our normal Public Information Officer staff can handle. I have started the process of working with partner agencies and internal departments to identify ‘reserve’ staff who have PIO skills and could be activated in case of a large emergency event.
Additionally, we need to work more closely with our media partners. Following the Echo Mountain Fire I tasked staff with making sure we had the home phone, cell phone, work phone, home address, work address, personal and work email, partner’s name and phone numbers for every major media partner in the county so that if we needed to wake them up in the middle of the night to make an emergency broadcast or send them to an event to help provide information coverage, we had every single option of getting a hold of them, including showing up at their house.
Also, I want to point out a factual error in your question. You ask about emergency notifications in the event of a natural disaster and gives an earthquake as an example. While there are agencies that monitor seismic events off our coastline, there is no earthquake prediction system, there will be no advanced notification system for an earthquake, science just simply is not there yet. You will know we are having a earthquake when the ground starts shaking. The earthquake is also essentially the warning system for a local tsunami event. There are emergency tsunami notifications that go out if communications infrastructure is still in place AFTER a local earthquake, but again, there is no warning system for an earthquake – the most reliable warning system for a local tsunami event is the earthquake that precedes it.
Espanol: ¿Qué hará para mejorar el sistema de notificaciones de emergencia del Condado Lincoln en caso de un desastre natural (como un terremoto, un tsunami o un incendio forestal)?
Kaety Jacobson: El sistema de notificaciones de emergencia actuales del Condado Lincoln es Lincoln Alerts, puede registrarse a continuación. Registrese para Lincoln Alerts aqui
Lincoln Alerts permite que varias agencias en el Condado Lincoln le notifiquen sobre una variedad de situaciones, desde clima grave, personas desaparecidas, a tsunamis en aguas distantes y incendios forestales. Continuando el financiamiento del Manejo de Emergencias del Condado Lincoln es una parte fundamental para mejorar las comunicaciones y la respuesta de emergencias. Las personas deben inscribirse en Lincoln Alerts para recibir la información y el departamento de Manejo de Emergencias de Condado Lincoln (Lincoln County Emergency Management). participa en muchos eventos de divulgación que ayudan a desarrollar el conocimiento sobre Lincoln Alerts, así como otros temas generales de preparación para emergencias.
Más allá de Líncoln Alérts, una parte fundamental de nuestro plan de respuesta a emergencias para eventos a gran tamaño es nuestro centro de llamadas. En mi primer mandato como comisionada, aprobé financiar una extensión de nuestro centro de llamadas ampliando la capacidad de la cantidad de líneas telefónicas. Menos de un año después implementamos esta capacidad mejorada del centro de llamadas para COVID y luego en el año para incendios forestales. Más allá de la capacidad ampliada de la línea telefónica, quedó claro durante el Incendio del Complejo Montaña Echo que la necesidad de voluntarios adicionales para el centro de llamadas, especialmente aquellos de varias partes geográficas del condado, era crítica. Mientras trabajaba en el centro de llamadas en numerosas ocasiones, aprendí que los voluntarios de una comunidad en particular son mucho más rápidos para comprender las carreteras y ubicaciones en esa comunidad que alguien que no vive allí. Durante el incendio de la Montaña Echo, aceleré muchas solicitudes de voluntarios del centro de llamadas del condado de Norte Lincoln para que pudieran ayudar mejor a sus amigos y vecinos durante la evacuación y en los días siguientes.
Durante el incendio, reconocí que durante los grandes desastres necesitamos más oficiales de información pública que trabajen para el condado y que puedan ayudar a hacer llegar la información al público, ya que la información cambia rápidamente y requiere más poder humano del que nuestro personal normal de Oficiales de Información Pública (Public Information Officer-PIO) pueden manejar. Comencé el proceso de trabajar con agencias asociadas y departamentos internos para identificar personal de “reserva” que tenga habilidades de PIO y podrían activarse en caso de un gran evento de emergencia.
Aún más, necesitamos trabajar más cerca con nuestros socios de medios. Después del incendio de la Montaña Echo, encargué al personal que se aseguraran de que tuviéramos el teléfono de la casa, el teléfono celular, el teléfono del trabajo, la dirección de la casa, la dirección del trabajo, el correo electrónico personal y del trabajo, el nombre y los números de teléfono de los socios de todos los principales socios de medios en el condado para que si necesitábamos despertarlos en medio de la noche para hacer una transmisión de emergencia o enviarlos a un evento para ayudar a ofrecer cobertura de información, teníamos todas las opciones para contactarlos, incluida la presentación en su casa.
También, quiero notar un error de hecho en su pregunta. Preguntas sobre las notificaciones de emergencia en caso de desastre natural y ponen a un terremoto como ejemplo. Si bien hay agencias que monitorean los eventos sísmicos frente a nuestra costa, no existe un sistema de predicción de terremotos, no habrá un sistema de notificación avanzada para un terremoto, la ciencia simplemente aún no existe. Sabrás que estamos teniendo un terremoto cuando el suelo comience a temblar. El terremoto también es esencialmente el sistema de alerta para un evento de tsunami local. Hay notificaciones de emergencia de tsunami que se envían si la infraestructura de comunicaciones aún está en su lugar DESPUÉS de un terremoto local, pero nuevamente, no hay un sistema de advertencia para un terremoto; el sistema de alerta más confiable para un evento de tsunami local es el terremoto que lo precede.
Ryan Parker: Whatever system we use should be app-based and be followed by an email notification sent in duplicate. Many parts of the County are dead zones for cellular phone reception.
I recently asked Sheriff Landers this very question. He recommended Everbridge, which is the system the State of Oregon Department of Emergency Management has developed. I personally use Nixle alerts, but Nixie notifications are not limited to emergencies. NOAA and USGS have earthquake notifications that can be sent to phones, but that is an opt-in.
I’d like to see Everbridge use the technology of the Amber Alert to send emergency information and alerts to every phone and craft a single clearinghouse app to send to phones and emails that includes:
· Evacuation Notices and Routes
· Distant, near-shore, and active earthquakes, tsunami, and active wildfire information, as it becomes available
· A blended response between Sheriff’s Office and the County Fire Districts.
As we learned in September 2020, our emergency notification system failed during the emergency evacuation for the Echo Mountain Complex fire near Otis. Evacuation from neighborhoods dense with vacation renters compounded the problem. They did not have access to a battery-operated CERT radio or a Wi-fi connection and, like the rest of us, woke up to the smell of smoke and vermillion-colored sky. An orderly evacuation was impossible in neighborhoods dense with vacation rentals like Roads End. Letters to the editor published in local media said it took five hours to reach Newport from Roads End along 101 because the traffic was bumper to bumper.
Emergency resources are scarce in Lincoln County as those living in neighborhoods populated with short-term vacation rentals (STRs or VRDs), such as Roads End, know. In several letters to Editor, Roads End residents reported it took 5 hours to reach Newport on September 8, 2020. This was before Ballot Measure 21-203 reduced occupancy and the requirement that vehicles be parked on-site only. Some STRs are on narrow gravel roads with overgrown rights of way. For both public safety and emergency response, these areas must be cleared of overgrown brush through a collaborative private landowner and county road department program. This program is clearly absent now.
In planning, the County must plan for the maximum licensed short-term rentals. On April 11, 2022, the number is 514. Because Measure 21-203 stops the issuance of new licenses, let’s assume the number of STRs never exceeds 514. Therefore, until phase-out is completed on November 19, 2026, and considering the STRS average two bedrooms, enforcing the maximum occupancy of two per bedroom excluding children under two, at least 2,056 people plus children under two would need to be evacuated or sheltered-in-place. This estimate does not include the STRs licensed by the cities or day visitors.
Almost all STRs are located in the residential neighborhoods along Highway 101. Although Measure 21-203 reduces the number of vehicles per licensed STR, I am very concerned about the health and safety problems this Board of Commissioners created by licensing so many STRs without regard for location. We cannot safely evacuate the vehicles of our coastal residents, 1,542 vehicles (the standard set by Measure 21-203), the vehicles licensed by the cities STR Codes, and those of day visitors, campers, and vacationers staying in our motels and hotels or Bed and Breakfast Inns.
During the Lincoln County League of Women Voters Forum, Candidate Casey Miller referred to the 2019 Housing Strategy Plan available on the County’s website. On page 16 of the Plan, the estimated total number of vacation rentals operating in Lincoln County is 2,155, broken down between 995 in unincorporated County and 1,160 in the five cities. The data sources were the cities of Lincoln City and Newport, and AirDNA. The Commissioners formally accepted the Housing Strategy Plan on July 24, 2019. Housing Strategy Plan
Randy Mallette: When I first read the question about what I would do to improve the emergency alert system, here in the county, I realized that I didn’t know all that much about it. Like most of us who have lived here along the coast I have heard the sirens as scheduled. So, I knew we had those. I also lived through the echo mountain fires. From that life experience, I knew we had alerts that could be sent directly to phones. And I knew the sheriffs, bravely, went into neighborhoods, to get people out, ahead of the flames. Beyond that, though, I really didn’t know much. So, I did what I do when I want, or need, to know more about something. Did some research: And I called the experts. In this case, the friendly ladies who run our emergency alert system/programs. They were kind and happy to explain to me all that the current systems can do and what programs they have in place currently. I was expecting to find a glaring hole that needed attention. Some shortcomings in the system that I could bring to this question and talk about addressing. I could find none. I was extremely pleased to learn just how robust and capable our current alert system really is. This should make all of us feel good. It’s really good news. What I will do to improve the systems, therefore, is form good working relationships with the people who run these programs and I will help them in any way I can. They weren’t just friendly, they were very knowledgeable in their field. If they suggest improving the system in some way, I’m going to make sure it’s brought before the commissioners for a decision. And I will advocate on their behalf.
2. What are the primary driving economic forces in Lincoln County? How would you balance economic forces with maintaining quality of life for Lincoln County residents?
Kaety Jacobson: The primary driving economic force in Lincoln County are “transfers”, or people coming here to live and bringing their money with them – often this is retirement income. The second largest driving force is the Commercial fishing industry, the third is tourism. There are differing impacts to our community from these economic drivers. The impact of retirees on the community can overall be seen as positive as many of them are active in our community, providing thousands of volunteer hours to many non-profit organizations. The fishing industry also has an overall positive impact on our community. They live and work in our community. Tourism, a more impactful driver requires a balancing act between the economic benefits and the quality of life for residents. One support to communities being explored by state elected officials is introducing a bill that would allow communities to spend their transient room tax on public safety. Transient room tax is the tax collected on every room and short-term rental stay in Lincoln County. There are both state and local rules on how you can spend that money and generally is has to be used for tourism promotion projects or tourism related facilities. The idea of expanding that to allow it to be used for public safety means that communities would have another tool to address the increased public safety demands that happen during the summer, and on peak holiday weekends. While the County may see a reduction in transient room tax from measure 21-203, I would still be very supportive of the bill in allowing communities to have the option to spend transient room tax dollars on some of the impacts of tourism rather than just tourism promotion.
Affordable housing is also a key piece of our economic infrastructure. Training programs, new businesses, expansion of our existing sectors as well as required community services (ambulance workers, teachers, etc) all require housing for their workers. Increasing housing at all levels, low income, workforce housing, and even market rate housing, will help our community continue to recruit workers for existing sectors as well as work on growing other sectors. An opportunity for growth currently is the marine science sector, which shows up at about 3% of our identified earned income sector. By working with OSU to push for the development of their own housing for students and faculty it will both allow growth of the science sector as well as getting current students off market housing, which then frees up those units for others.
Espanol: ¿Cuáles son las fuerzas principales impulsoras económicas en el Condado Lincoln? ¿Cómo equilibraría las fuerzas económicas con el mantenimiento de la calidad de vida de los residentes del Condado Lincoln?
Kaety Jacobson: La fuerza principal económica impulsora en el Condado Lincoln son las personas que se “mudan”, o las personas que vienen aquí a vivir y traen consigo su dinero; a menudo, se trata de ingresos de jubilación. La segunda fuerza impulsora más grande es la industria pesquera comercial, la tercera es el turismo. Hay diferentes impactos en nuestra comunidad a partir de estos impulsores económicos. En general, el impacto de los jubilados en la comunidad puede verse como positivo, ya que muchos de ellos están activos en nuestra comunidad y ofrecen miles de horas de trabajo voluntario a muchas organizaciones sin fines de lucro. La industria pesquera también tiene un impacto positivo general en nuestra comunidad. Viven y trabajan en nuestra comunidad. El turismo, un motor más impactante requiere un acto de equilibrio entre los beneficios económicos y la calidad de vida de los residentes. Un apoyo a las comunidades que están explorando los funcionarios estatales electos es la introducción de un proyecto de ley que permitiría a las comunidades gastar su impuesto de habitación transitoria en seguridad pública. El impuesto de habitación transitoria es el impuesto recaudado en cada habitación y estadía de alquiler a corto plazo en el Condado Lincoln. Existen reglas estatales y locales sobre cómo se puede gastar ese dinero y, en general, debe usarse para proyectos de promoción turística o instalaciones relacionadas con el turismo. La idea de extender esto para permitir que se use para la seguridad pública significa que las comunidades tendrían otra herramienta para abordar las crecientes demandas de seguridad pública que ocurren durante el verano y los fines de semana festivos de punto máximo. Si bien el Condado puede ver una reducción en el impuesto a las habitaciones transitorias de la medida 21-203, aún apoyaría mucho el proyecto de ley al permitir que las comunidades tengan la opción de gastar dólares del impuesto a las habitaciones transitorias en algunos de los impactos del turismo en lugar de solo la promoción del turismo.
La vivienda razonable también es una pieza de la clave de nuestra infraestructura económica. Los programas de capacitación, los negocios nuevos, el desarrollo de nuestros sectores existentes, así como los servicios comunitarios requeridos (trabajadores de ambulancias, maestros, etc.), todos requieren viviendas para sus trabajadores. El aumento de viviendas en todos los niveles, de bajos ingresos, viviendas para trabajadores y incluso viviendas a precio de mercado, ayudará a nuestra comunidad a seguir reclutando trabajadores para los sectores existentes, así como a trabajar en el crecimiento de otros sectores. Actualmente, una oportunidad de crecimiento es el sector de las ciencias marinas, que representa aproximadamente el 3% de nuestro sector de ingresos del trabajo identificado. Al trabajar con O.S.U. para empujar el desarrollo de sus propias viviendas para estudiantes y profesores, permitirá el crecimiento del sector científico y sacará a los estudiantes actuales de las viviendas del mercado, lo que luego liberará esas unidades para otras.
Ryan Parker: More than 2/3 of Lincoln County is in industrial timber production. So, forestry is our main economic driver. In addition, the commercial fishing fleet supports hundreds of jobs in our community. Government services, research facilities like HMSC, and local businesses, including hospitality, round out the mix. I want to create grants to support Lincoln County timber growers to get Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. We must find other pulp and stud producing trees that can thrive in a warming climate. Ash and pine have shown great potential in the Oregon coast range. Niche lumber markets pay many, many times more to the landowner and timber processor than standard silviculture clearcut plots do. This will keep many of the profits here in our county.
Tourism can overwhelm the County at peak season but provides a sizeable economic deliverable that I fully support. However, I think our system needs to rely more on an STR-specific tax because the Transient Lodging Tax is earmarked by state statute to by a 70 to 30 percent split under state law, to promote tourism. Additionally, I understand from others who have looked into this that TLT or TRT cannot be used to support emergency services even though the Lincoln County Code STR code requires Fire Districts to record STRs. Depoe Bay reports more dispatched call-outs to STRs as a possible explanation for longer response times.
The 70-30 split on what lodging taxes can be used for local impact mitigation needs to be amended by the state Legislature to help better small cities and rural counties fix roads and improve water, sewer, and other critical infrastructure. I think an amendment that would be fair would be 50-50. The AOC and LOC are working on concepts to codify such changes in the 2023 session. I hope the Board of Commissioners can continue to rely on our State Representative David Gomberg and Senator Dick Anderson as partners in this effort.
In the meantime, the County and the cities can consider an STR-fee like Pagosa Springs, Colorado. This tourist destination recently passed a monthly fee of $150 per bedroom for licensed vacation rentals. “Town Voters Narrowly Approve New STR Fees” https://pagosadailypost.com/2022/04/06/town-voters-narrowly-approve-new-str-fees/
Assuming the 514 STRs that are licensed rather than the 995 estimated in the 2019 Housing Strategy Plan, this would generate $1,480,320.00 for local impact mitigation needs in unincorporated Lincoln County. This figure does not include the cities were they to pass an STR fee.
Randy Mallette: The primary driving economic forces in Lincoln county are fishing, timber, tourism and fixed income transfers; such as retirees who choose to come live here full time. To balance economic forces with a high quality of life in our county, is quite easy, if approached correctly. All of our driving economic forces are also intrinsically tied to the health and beauty of our natural environment. This is also true in large part for that special quality of life only found here as a result of our forests and beaches. Both of which often feel like they come right out of a magical fantasy book or movie. And it seems they both may be full of magical creatures. And in truth, they both actually are. Maybe not the magic movie kind but, our forests and oceans are teaming with life. We want to ensure we take care of our natural environment to the best of our abilities because everything about our economy and quality of life here depends upon it. Other factors of course are housing, schooling, and safety and security for all citizens within the county. I won’t pretend to be an expert in any or all of those things. So, I will again, do my research and work with the experts and department heads to help them in every way I can. In an effort to keep our streets and open lands safe, I will again seek to help the sheriff and law enforcement in any way I can. If the sheriff says they need something, I’ll make sure we do all we can to get them what they need. I’ve said this before, we want good people, and their rights, protected and respected by the police. We want criminals arrested and properly prosecuted. A great deal of our quality of life comes from the level of safety and security we have within our communities. I would also work with department heads with all health and human services to try and help them in their missions with the homeless and less fortunate, as well. So many of us are feeling the pinch of this inflation. Things are beginning to cost much more. As a result people are really struggling right now. Many are just one missed paycheck away from being homeless themselves. Doing what we call triaging the bills. Trying to feed the kids. We can’t fix what they do or create in Washington. We can act as a community or collection of them to help each other get through tough times, though. In that effort, my family and I just bought some baby chickens. They are adorable. And actually quite sweet. Anyways, our plan is to raise the chickens and plant a good garden and donate as much as we possibly can to local charities and directly to people in need. I encourage anyone who can do something that would be helpful to others such as raising a garden on your own property or working to establish community gardens. Which, there again, all by themselves, community gardens tend to raise the happiness level within the community as well as a healthy sense of pride and accomplishment. It also helps to form strong bonds between neighbors and community members. All of these things raise the quality of life for people in our communities. (Believe it or not, this was my brief answer.)
3. How would you support the goals of 21-203, including the 5 year phase out of short term rentals in residential areas of unincorporated Lincoln County, as a means to help improve our long term housing stock and neighborhood livability?
Kaety Jacobson: The ballot measure is currently still in the legal process and has been transferred to the Land Use Board of Appeals. Continuing to support external legal counsel to defend both the ballot measure and other Short Term Rental related law suits is critical. It is not just defending 21-203 but all of the legal actions related to STR policies. For example, our ability to have a moratorium on all new licenses, which I was in support of and extended many times, has been challenged and we were successful in defending it. I have supported and will continue to support legal defense of the ballot measure and all STR related legal challenges.
During this time of legal challenge, it is difficult to have the kind of relationship and open communication I desire to have with 15 neighborhoods. Part of defending the ballot measure is keeping a tight case, meaning that we do not discuss legal strategy publicly, as we do not want the opposition to know what our strategy is. I am hoping once we are legally able to implement the ballot measure that Lincoln County can have regular implementation updates at our Board of Commissioners meetings as well as robust electronic communications with STR owners, 15 neighborhoods, and the public. Once implementation can occur, ensuring there are adequate resources for communication, implementation and enforcement of the measure will also be critically important and something I would support.
Espanol: ¿Cómo apoyaría los objetivos de 21-203, incluida la eliminación gradual de 5 años de alquileres a corto plazo en áreas residenciales del Condado Lincoln no-incorporado, como un medio para ayudar a mejorar nuestro suministro de viviendas a largo plazo y la habitabilidad del vecindario?
Kaety Jacobson: La medida del boleto electoral todavía se encuentra en proceso legal y ha sido transferida a la Junta de Apelaciones de Uso de Tierras. Es fundamental continuar el apoyo a los asesores legales externos para defender tanto la medida del boleto electoral como otras demandas judiciales relacionadas con el alquiler a corto plazo. No es solo defender 21-203 sino todas las acciones legales relacionadas con las políticas de Alquilaciones de Corto Plazo (STR). Por ejemplo, nuestra capacidad de tener una moratoria de todas las licencias nuevas, que apoyé y extendí muchas veces, ha sido cuestionada y tuvimos éxito en defenderla. He apoyado y seguiré apoyando la defensa legal de la medida electoral y todos los desafíos legales relacionados con Alquilaciones de Corto Plazo (STR).
Durante este tiempo de desafío legal, es difícil tener el tipo de relación y comunicación abierta que deseo tener con 15 vecindarios (15-neighborhoods). Parte de defender la medida electoral es mantener un caso cerrado, lo que significa es que no discutimos la estrategia legal públicamente, ya que no queremos que la oposición sepa cuál es nuestra estrategia. Espero que una vez que podamos implementar legalmente la medida electoral, el Condado Lincoln pueda tener actualizaciones periódicas de implementación en nuestras reuniones de la Junta de Comisionados, así como comunicaciones electrónicas sólidas con los propietarios de Alquilaciones de Corto Plazo (STR)., 15 vecindarios (15-neighborhoods y el público. Una vez que ocurra la implementación, garantizando que haya recursos adecuados para la comunicación, la implementación y el cumplimiento de la medida también será de vital importancia y algo que yo apoyaría.
Ryan Parker: This topic raises two issues for me: Democracy and Livability.
Let’s talk about livability first.
The lack of available and affordable near where Lincoln County residents work and play affects working families and retirees alike. We lose one long-term home for every short-term vacation rental (STR or VRD) that the governments licenses in unincorporated Lincoln Copy.
In my view, the group behind the Ballot Measure to phase out STRs by November 19, 2026 (5 years) and, in the meantime, take steps to reduce their impact in the neighborhoods made their case ten times over. I thank 15neighborhoods and the 10,080 residents who voted YES to phase out STRs.
STRs make no positive contribution to residential neighborhoods, whether in a city or an unincorporated county neighborhood. I proposed a phase-out of short-term vacation rentals in 2019 as a Newport City Councilor but lost on a 3 to 4 vote. I understood then that we lose one long-term housing opportunity for every short-term vacation rental licensed.
Workers need homes. Many “Jobs Available” signs are because appropriate housing is not available. We have two top-of-the-line hospitals that can’t be fully staffed due to the unavailability of housing even though their employees have good-paying jobs and have passed background checks. Last summer, Samaritan North advertised in the Newport News Times for temporary rooms in residents’ homes until staff could find long-term housing. The Lincoln County School District was trying to fill 6o vacancies as late as August 2021. A local veterinary clinic made an offer to a new veterinarian contingent on her willingness to live in the clinic and with her parents until she found housing. It goes on and on …
Commissioner Claire Hall once wrote:
“One of the most basic laws of economics is the law of supply and demand. In many communities, that number reaches seventy percent. Without accessible, affordable [workforce] housing, many places on the coast, in the Gorge and Central Oregon will become retreats for the wealthy, with service workers being bussed in from different locations.”
Testimony opposing SB 621, March 4, 2019.
Now, let’s talk about democracy.
Oregon is one of a handful of states with a direct Citizens Initiative Petition granted by our Constitution. Oregon’s Citizens Initiative Petition process gives direct legislative power to the voters to enact new laws and amend existing laws. According to our Constitution, when the STR Initiative Petition got enough votes to qualify as Ballot Measure 21-203 for the November 2 election and passed, it became the “law of the land,” according to our Constitution. The Commissioners and County Counsel agreed. But they have not acted like it is.
Almost immediately, the STR Owners asked the Circuit Court for a Stay. The Stay prevented the County from enforcing Measure 21-203. Six months later, the STR Ballot Measure was transferred to the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA), and the Circuit Court Stay would typically have expired but for the County.
When the STR Owners asked the LUBA for a Stay, the County agreed to “not oppose” a Stay. Therefore, until the LUBA judge decides otherwise, the County does not have to enforce Ballot Measure 21-203 as the “Law of the Land.” Is this because the County is not ready to implement 21-203 even though six months have passed?
These tactics weaken democracy and encourage distrust of elected officials, the political process, and the rule of law. I would not tolerate it. As your elected official, it will be my job to make policy and strategic decisions and hold staff accountable for implementation.
Most importantly, my staff and I would have worked with my constituents before they spent what must have been tens of thousands of hours to win on November 2, 2021. If County Counsel thought there were procedural problems with the Petition, I would have told County Counsel to work with the neighborhood leaders to fix these problems and create a product amenable to as many parties as possible. Why? Because I would be elected to restore livability by protecting long-term housing for owners and renters and preserving our residential neighborhoods.
Randy Mallette: As for 21-203. I think it should be abundantly clear, to anyone paying attention, to the issue that the voters have spoken. As commissioner, I will do everything I can to uphold the direct will of the voters. Commissioners are representing the people after all, correct? Now, I don’t know all the details. However I understand there is an upcoming court battle over the whole deal. I imagine the courts will rule in favor of the vote. But, again, I don’t know the details well enough to know that for sure. If, 21-203 is struck down, I would have to imagine, it would be incumbent upon we the commissioners (if I am elected) to consider a law from our chairs, which would essentially mirror the goals and intent of 21-203. On this issue, it should make no difference how any commissioner feels about it personally. It shouldn’t matter if we were for or against it ourselves. The decision was sought from the people on the issue. The people have already spoken. Any commissioner who would therefore not do all they could to uphold the will of the people, when it’s so directly expressed, should be recalled. Or, removed from office via the vote.
In addition to the second part of the question about long term housing, I would first like to mention affordable housing in relation to the passage of 21-203, I am not sure there will be much effect from that directly. I believe much work is needed in addressing the issue of affordable housing all on its own. And I do have some good ideas to explore on that front. Some that will also simultaneously tackle some of the homelessness problems by helping to get some people back off the streets. One of my favorite ideas also leads to construction jobs. It involves building nice starter homes and offering them to people in low income housing. Those with good histories of paying their bills, are paying at the top of the scale, and such. And who would like the opportunity to go from renter to owner. This would allow these people to then build equity in their own home ownership. If they decide to move and sell somewhere down the line, the county or, in some cases, municipality in which, the home is located would have first right of refusal. Meaning we (the county), whichever municipality, could then buy the home back at fair market value and begin the process with that home again.
All that said, 21-203 does in my estimation, play a role in increasing the housing supply for long term, year round, resident opportunities. Again, as commissioner I will do all I can to support and achieve that goal.
Thank you for your time and consideration. As well, thank you for this opportunity. I will always be straight forward and honest when answering questions for the people. I hope to have done that here for you. I believe the voters deserve to know exactly where candidates stand on issues important to them. I’m not a politician. I am just a regular guy. I am a loving and loyal husband and father. I am not afraid to give direct and sometimes brutally honest answers at the expense of a vote or two. I don’t like it anymore than anyone else here when a politician answers a question. But, In a way that leaves us all clueless as to where they actually stand on the issue in question. I won’t do that to anyone.