Special Affects: Hollywood in Manzanita results in neutral experience

While the response was mixed in Manzanita on the March 13-14 ABC Studios filming, City Manager Jerry Taylor says the Pine Grove Community House was happy with the outcome. The center was compensated fairly and even got a new coat of paint on its trim. Citizen photo by Jordan Wolfe

All day March 13, a speedy red getaway car zoomed down Laneda Avenue, tailed by an Oregon State Trooper, only to be foiled at the last minute by the local pink trolley.
By Jordan Wolfe
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Hollywood came to Manzanita and the response was mixed.
“The experience was kind of neutral – not terrible, not great,” City Manager Jerry Taylor said. “The City had, to gently put it, miscommunication with the production company.”
ABC Studios completely shut down Laneda Avenue from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. March 13 to film a television pilot for “Staties,” a police procedural set in a quirky Oregon Coast town with equally eccentric characters, in contrast to the original plan to close access for around five minutes at a time.
“You can’t just close our main street for that long,” Taylor said.
During the March 7 city council meeting, location scout Mathew Noack promised the production company would be very considerate of the city.
“We’re aware of concerns of not overrunning the town,” Noack said March 7. “Say, if you were trying to get through town and we just started rolling, we would ask for five minutes. It’s part of the ebb and flow to get everyone to where they need to be.”
However, pedestrians and drivers during the day of filming were trapped on the north and south sides of Laneda Avenue for upwards of half an hour at times as film crews shot the same chase scene down Manzanita’s main street more than two dozen times throughout the day.
“I understand why they had issues,” Taylor said, “It took a relatively long time to close it back down.”
He added there was miscommunication with AAngels Traffic Control, the local company ABC Studios hired to manage Laneda’s closure during filming. Taylor said there was a mix in quality of the flaggers, which resulted in issues for some people.
The chaotic atmosphere March 13 spurred the closure of many businesses along Laneda Avenue.
“Some businesses had very bad business days,” Taylor said.
The City of Manzanita also didn’t profit as much as they hoped with the production and weren’t compensated their original asking price, according to Taylor.
“We asked for $5,000 a day for the use of Underhill Plaza. The film company came back and said that was way beyond market and gave us $3,000 total for the two days,” Taylor said, “The city didn’t get a whole lot out of it either.”
Another economic impact was asked of the city – housing the film crew.
“People said, ‘Why didn’t they stay in Manzanita?’” Taylor said, “They wanted a block of 60 hotel rooms. Manzanita doesn’t have the rooms to be able to house those people. Cannon Beach doesn’t have the rooms to be able to house those people. So, they stayed in Seaside.”
This experience with ABC Studios is spurring a new conversation with the city about the approach to this scale of activity in the future.
“Staff said to think about rules and our approach. We’re going to develop new special event rules and be very clear up front,” Taylor said. “If the pilot goes to series, we know what we will talk about,”
Within six months Taylor expects to see these new rules solidify. He added there is no rush in this moment because the city highly doubts any new proposals for filming will be coming toward the city in that timeframe.
“Some people said we should never film in Manzanita again because they don’t want to attract attention,” Taylor said.
But people have been filming in the city for years.
“We’ve had people using the city all along – for things like car commercials – but they never closed Laneda. They would film along Ocean Avenue or one of the side streets,” Taylor said. “The bottom line is we don’t mind if people come and film on our sidewalks, just don’t close down our main street.”
However, there remains one reminder of the time Hollywood came to Manzanita.
“The Pine Grove folks were very pleased,” Taylor said, “The building had its outside trim painted by the production company. They offered to paint it back and Pine Grove said, ‘No, we kind of like it.’”

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