One incumbent and three newcomers are jockeying for two Manzanita City Council vacancies, each with four-year terms.
By Ann Powers
The candidates are:
- Scott Galvin
- Annie Naranjo-Rivera
- Mick Taylor
- Hans Tonjes
Galvin said he was picking up good vibrations when Manzanita started giving him excitations 32 years ago.
“Manzanita has a good vibe,” he said. “In 1984 I invested in our Manzanita lot because I knew then that this is where I wanted to retire.”
In 2009, Galvin built a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) home in Manzanita and became a full-time resident in 2012. He’s been involved with the Manzanita Tour of Homes, Pine Grove Community Center, Mudd Nick Foundation and the Emergency Volunteer Corps of Nehalem Bay.
He also initiated a petition to the Tillamook County Sanitation Department on behalf of the Classic Ridge residents. As a result, 60 lots were added to the city sewer system and eliminated those individual septic tanks.
Galvin is an Oregon native and graduated from Portland State University with a degree in business administration. He said he spent the last 20 years of his career as a project/construction manager in the semiconductor industry for Intel.
The municipal election newcomer said he’s running for city council to “ensure that the integrity and uniqueness of Manzanita will continue on into the future.”
In his free time, Galvin enjoys fishing, hiking, golf, snowboarding and traveling.
If elected, Naranjo-Rivera would be a newcomer to the council – but not to public service.
“I live to serve,” she said. “I am at my best when I am deeply involved in the hard work that it takes to build and sustain a community, using my capabilities to improve things around me.”
The decade-long area resident is a mother, business owner, activist, teacher, volunteer, children’s theater director, arts ambassador and self-described “dedicated public servant.”
She’s served on the Hoffman Center and Fire Mountain School boards and has done development work for the Lower Nehalem Community Trust. She’s also been involved with political organizing, worked on numerous campaigns and was elected to represent Congressional District 5 as a national Bernie Sanders delegate.
Naranjo-Rivera said the core issues facing Manzanita include emergency preparedness, affordable housing and environmental preservation.
Regarding disaster preparations, she wants the council to work proactively with the Emergency Volunteer Corps in creating a strategic plan for Manzanita.
“We have an obligation to prepare ourselves and our most vulnerable community members to face a natural disaster of the scope that we are expecting,” she explained.
On affordable housing, Naranjo-Rivera sited an example where a prominent local business closed its dining section due to a shortage of available housing for staff. She said the city has previously worked with the Northwest Housing Authority and she plans to expand on that and use “every available resource to find creative ongoing solutions.”
For environmental preservation, Naranjo-Rivera favors rethinking fossil fuel reliance and adopting more clean renewable energy sources.
In addition, she said she wants everybody’s voice to be heard and would gain community input through ongoing focus groups, community listening sessions and increase community participation.
Taylor decided to run for city council after learning about the city’s proposed marijuana ban and feeling the Bern. He said he’s against Measure 29-138 and pro-Bernie Sanders.
“If we keep taking the same actions we’re going to get the same results,” he explained. “Or, we can get involved, talk to our neighbors, buy local, think about the world we want to live in and manifest it.”
Taylor agrees with others that emergency preparedness and affordable housing are key issues.
“Our year-round businesses are suffering,” he said. “The number of people who can afford to live and work in Manzanita is insufficient for the demand. We need to increase long-term housing supply.”
Unlike numerous city officials, other candidates and residents, Taylor also believes a tri-city consortium of Manzanita, Nehalem and Wheeler is possible without Manzanita losing its uniqueness.
“One day it’s going to happen out of necessity,” he said. “Communities can and do unite and each neighborhood retains its own soul.”
Taylor graduated from Washington’s Evergreen State College and has been living in Manzanita with his wife, Jamie, for three years. He’s a business owner, Lower Nehalem Community Trust member and active with the Nehalem Bay Fire and Rescue Community Emergency Response Team.
He said he’s known since “a very young age” he wanted to live at the beach, and has been visiting and working in the region for several years.
The solo incumbent contender said short-term rental licenses is the number one issue facing Manzanita.
“Because it’s the main revenue source for the city, but can have a negative impact on neighborhoods with a high density of these homes,” Tonjes explained.
He also considers disaster preparedness planning and workforce housing as top concerns for the community that’s accustomed to a comfortable lifestyle. About 75 percent of the homes in Manzanita are second homes, with a median price tag of approximately $450,000, according to city officials.
“Manzanita is an extremely expensive real estate market,” Tonjes noted. “The supply of rental housing that a family with a median household income can afford is very limited and seasonal. Opportunities exist in future development to encourage the creation of options for workforce housing.”
The native Oregonian knows first-hand the challenge of finding affordable housing. He recalled how in his 20s he lived in a van for about one year to save enough money for a down payment on a seller financed lot in Necarney city.
That’s where he built his first cabin and went on to mixed-use development in Manzanita.
“My family never had enough money to stay in hotels here, much less own a vacation home,” Tonjes said. “I’ve seen this area from many vantage points and loved the view from all of them.”
In regard to an idea being floated among some North Tillamook County locals, Tonjes said he is opposed to a tri-village merger of Manzanita, Nehalem and Wheeler.
“My first impression is that someone is trying to consolidate power,” he said. “I am very wary of any group, party (or) religion that tries to increase their power. I would not want to risk losing (Manzanita’s) qualities on a social experiment.”
Tonjes and his wife, Aina, are local business owners. They have a son, Alek, and the family enjoys the outdoors and volunteerism.
When Manzanita voters cast their ballots, they’ll be asked to consider Measure 29-138: Prohibition of Marijuana Businesses in Manzanita City Limits.
The ballot question reads, “Shall Manzanita prohibit medical marijuana processors, medical marijuana dispensaries, recreational marijuana producers, processors, wholesalers and retailers in Manzanita?”
Following the legalization of recreation marijuana, the state Legislature allowed local governments to prohibit the sale and processing of marijuana within city limits via voter approval. The Manzanita City Council adopted an ordinance last August to include the ballot question in the November election.
“Some persons see no harm in allowing marijuana facilities within the city,” Manzanita City Manager Jerry Taylor wrote in a memo to the council. “Others would argue that it is not right to allow stores selling a product that is still considered illegal by the federal government. There are good arguments on both sides of this issue. But the bottom line is that this is an issue that calls for resolution by a city vote.”
Under a grandfather clause, state law allows continued operation of medical marijuana processors and dispensaries already registered that have successfully completed a local land use application process.
Oregon Coast Cannabis, Manzanita’s single pot dispensary, is grandfathered and would be permitted to stay open as a medical marijuana facility only, beginning Jan. 1, 2017.
With recreational sales to tourists being a bulk of its sales, the measure would be a major financial hardship for the business, according to co-owner Hannah Hayes.
“We would definitely operate medically as long as we could,” she said. “But that would definitely entail some cutbacks on employees. For longevity, operating as just a medical dispensary would be exceedingly difficult.”