Eleven candidates are running for five council seats, including the mayor’s, in Rockaway Beach’s Nov. 8 election.
By Ann Powers
Voters will also decide a ballot question asking if the city should impose a three percent marijuana sales tax on top of the state’s soon-to-be permanent 17 percent pot tax effective Jan. 1.
Rockaway Beach Mayor
Mayor Joanne D. Aagaard doesn’t have much to sweat as voters cast their ballots in the upcoming election. She’s unopposed in seeking reelection to her second term with an extensive civil service resume.
“I am retired and have worked in government most of my adult life,” she said.
Aagaard retired from the City of Tillamook in January, 1997 after a 20-year public servant career. During that time she was the assistant city recorder, treasurer and a municipal judge. In her retirement, she was appointed to Tillamook County Justice of the Peace and as Rockaway Beach Municipal Judge.
In her second mayoral term, she said she would continue to address Rockaway Beach’s top concerns she defined as, “affordable housing, parking and just about the same problems for all small towns in Tillamook County.”
She added that Rockaway Beach has limited area to solve the housing and parking issues, but those concerns still need to be reviewed.
Candidates running for open city council seats, all four-year terms, are:
Position 1 – Nathan Beeman (incumbent)
Position 2 – Emma Poulsen, Susan Wilson (incumbent)
Position 3 – Penny Cheek, Geoffrey Grace, Kristine Hayes, David Jeffers, Patrick McIntire (open seat, no incumbent)
Position 5 – James Doyle (incumbent), Brian Poulsen
City Council Position 1
Beeman is afforded the same election luxury as the mayor – he’s running unopposed.
The incumbent was appointed to his current city council position last July.
According to Beeman’s candidate filing, he’s worked for U.S. Bank, Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad and for Banay 5, an urban spa and health facility in Seattle.
He attended Orange Coast Community College and Pacific High School, both in California.
City Council Position 2
Prior to living in Rockaway Beach, Poulsen lived in Seaside where she was active with the Chamber of Commerce.
“If elected, my goal is to implement Seaside’s model of collaboration which will pull the community together so that we can accomplish more and carry the same voice in the community,” she said.
Poulsen said the top three issues facing Rockaway Beach include tourism growth, an increase in theft and other small crimes, as well as needed roadwork.
“Having policies in place that regulate vacation rentals, enforcing licensing of non-licensed vacation rentals and providing more clear guidelines on the capacity of vacation rentals based on the availability of parking on the property may bring a little more order in town,” she said. “Instituting neighborhood watch in every neighborhood, with organized volunteers who can assist the city and the police department in keeping the crime under control.”
Poulsen added she advocates better management of road-related agencies and securing grants for necessary street improvements.
Poulsen and her husband Brian (also a council candidate) own and operate the Sand Dollar Restaurant & Lounge in Rockaway Beach.
The incumbent has been a Rockaway Beach civil servant for the past seven years. In addition to the council, Wilson served on the city’s tourism and budget committees.
After working in the legal field for nearly 30 years, she said she retired, became a Lions Club member and opened a Rockaway Beach business for women’s apparel and gifts called Et Cetera.
“I bring experience to the position,” she said. “I enjoy dealing with the issues that come up with the constituency. I know where to go to get the answers and that eliminates a lot of frustration for the constituents.”
Wilson said her top priority as a council member is effective use of the Transient Room Tax (TRT) to help stabilize the local economy.
“Because we are a tourist-based economy we have to put a real emphasis on developing a stable economy during the shoulder months – versus a fight or flight economy,” she said.
City Council Position 3
The 10-year Rockaway Beach council hopeful served on the city’s planning and tourism commissions, the Senior Meals and Tillamook Rotary Club boards and is a Lions Club member.
The retired real estate agent/broker has also been active with the National Master Builders Association, Zonta Business Women’s Association, the founder of the Special Olympics Race of Champions in Tillamook County, and a business owner since 1978.
“I have watched our city struggle with issues our residents feel strongly about and I hope to be able to assist our leadership in moving forward in the right direction,” Cheek said. “I believe that with my experience in management and my organizational skills, I would be a asset to our city as well as the citizens of Rockaway Beach.”
The political newcomer and current emergency responder names public safety and emergency preparedness as key issues for the coastal community, and says he has the experience and knowledge to get things done in these areas.
“I feel that I bring expertise to an issue that needs to be addressed in our town – that issue is public safety and emergency preparedness,” he said. “I can achieve this by making sure that our police, fire, and public works departments are all working together and that they all have the best training available to them; as well as forming a strong and well-trained CERT team.”
Grace has been a Rockaway Beach resident since 2007. He joined the city’s volunteer fire department in 2011, became an EMT-B in 2013, started working for Tillamook Ambulance in December of 2014, and is currently going to school to become a paramedic and earning a fire science degree.
Hayes says Rockaway Beach’s main issues are lack of unity, cooperation and planning for the future.
“I believe we can fix these by bringing our community together, cooperating with other entities around us, focusing our businesses toward education and ecology-based tourism,” she said.
The 30-year resident has volunteered on the Rock Away Beach Administration and Planning, Nature Preserve and Beautification committees. She was also the first chairperson for the city’s Tourism and TRT committees and has done grant work for the Rockaway Beach Wayside and the Visitor Center Caboose and Depot.
“I actively work in service for our community nearly every day of my life whether it be Chamber, Lions, the Neah-Kah-Nie Booster or the many Facebook groups I administer,” Hayes said. “The only thing I love more than our community is my family.”
Hayes co-owns SAI Design and Build with her husband.
If you go to David Jeffers’ Facebook page, it’s quickly apparent he’s a Chicago Cubs fan. And he’s hoping to do the same thing the Cubbies just did – win.
While Jeffers won’t be winning a World Series, he is looking to be the victor for Rockaway Beach’s City Council Position 3 vacancy.
“This is my public service,” he said. “I’m a young person. I’m in my 50s, I’m retired and I have all the time in the world to do this.”
Jeffers said affordable housing for tourism workers is the city’s primary concern.
“It’s been said there is no land to develop for affordable housing,” he said. “I think it’s because there are no incentives for people who own rental properties to provide year-round housing to the staff that supports that industry. There could also be better wages.”
Born and raised in San Francisco, Jeffers lived in Seattle for 40 years before retiring to Rockaway Beach 18 months ago. Since moving to the area, he’s become involved in the Lions Club and has helped with that organization’s efforts to do sight and hearing checks at local schools.
McIntire retired from the state after a 30-year career dealing with environmental, economic and legislative issues. He has graduate degrees in wildlife ecology.
“This background gives me an ability to understand and solve complex problems while considering the positions of a diverse constituency,” McIntire said. “Rockaway Beach is known as a tourist town, but has a diverse, full-time citizenry with different needs than weekend visitors.
The 14-year local said top concerns for the coastal community are infrastructure and resource issues including street surfaces, the water system and affordable housing.
“I would suggest that Rockaway adopt a strategy of regional planning to produce sustainable solutions,” he said. “Create regional alliances with neighboring communities and the county to solve current and future economic and environmental needs.”
McIntire is married with four grown children and six grandchildren.
City Council Position 5
The incumbent is on the Neah-Kah-Nie District 56 Budget Committee, Senior Meals Board of Directors and Nedonna Beach Neighborhood Association Board of Directors.
Previously, he was on the Forest Grove School District Board of Directors for 16 years, the Washington County Intermediate Educational Service District Board of Directors for five years, and the Forest Grove Parks and Recreation Commission for 13 years.
“Throughout all of my adult life I have been involved in my community,” Doyle said. “In all of my prior years of elective offices, I have learned you have to keep an open mind and be willing to listen to the needs of the community.”
He said Rockaway Beach’s key concerns include:
• Tourism Marketing Plan;
• Nature Preserve;
• Washington Street and U.S. Highway 101 crossing;
• Completing the Rockaway Beach Emergency Operations Plan, and;
• Addressing the “day-to-day” issues from staff and community members
Doyle is retired after a lengthy career in banking, real estate and owning his own company for 32 years. He is a graduate of Portland State University and has been married to his wife, Cecile, for 52 years. The couple has two children and four grandchildren.
Poulsen is married to Position 2 candidate, Emma Poulsen. And like his wife, he said he wants to make a positive impact in the community.
“I think I can make a difference,” he said. “I’m a do-er.”
If elected, he said his enhancing and upgrading local tourism opportunities would top his to-do list on the council. One way to do that would be using TRT funds to buy a large tent for community activities.
“That way you can have activities when it’s mild and in the rain,” he noted. “It extends the tourism season.”
He and Emma own and operate Sand Dollar Restaurant & Lounge in Rockaway Beach. Brian is a member of his homeowners association, graduated from the University of Washington and earned a master’s degree in business at City University.