Year in review on the North Coast

As the sun sets on 2018, the New Year is a time to toast your glasses and reflect on the past year. Before we usher in 2019, we decided to take a look back at some of the most newsworthy stories in North Tillamook County of this past year.


Josi unveils run for state legislature
After considerable reflection on my 20 years as a Tillamook County Commissioner, it is time to announce what my plans are for the future.
I have decided not to run for reelection as Tillamook County Commissioner when my term expires on Dec. 31, 2018. This was a very difficult decision for me to make because I love being a County Commissioner. Not only do I enjoy working with Commissioners Baertlein and Yamamoto, but I am honored to serve the citizens of Tillamook County and to work alongside the county’s dedicated staff. Being a County Commissioner has been a truly meaningful experience.


99-year lease approved for Salmonberry
An 84-mile trail that connects Tillamook and Banks is a dream for many people. But, who would own it? Manage it?
On Feb. 2, the Salmonberry Trail Intergovernmental Agency (STIA) met at the State Capitol in Salem and voted to approve a 99-year lease with the Port of Tillamook Bay(POTB).
The completed Salmonberry Trail will connect eight cities and two counties, passing by the Oregon coastline, fisheries, farmland and the rugged Oregon Coast Range. The route follows the POTB Railway, which closed in 2007 after massive storm damage.
However, the approved lease agreement between STIA and the POTB for the trail along the railway has raised concern from the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad (OCSR).
OCSR believes the STIA would be granted power “to not only block all new leases, but also allow them to prevent automatic renewals of current use agreements they believe interfere with their plans.”


ABC Studios films television pilot in Manzanita and Sand Lake
A bank robbery is happening at Pine Grove Community House today.
Manzanita City Council unanimously approved a one-time special event permit for ABC Studios to film a television pilot for an Oregon-based police drama March 7 – and it’ s set to film along Laneda and Ocean Avenue March 13- 14.
“The cost to the city is virtually nil,” City Manager Jerry Taylor said. “In fact, we will be getting a little money from the rental of Underhill Plaza.”
Film crews are renting Underhill Plaza for $5,000 a day as part of their permit and, according to Loca¬tion Scout Mathew Noack, filming will intermittently close Laneda and Ocean Avenue during the two days.


Oslund takes helm at the City of Wheeler
The City of Wheeler has a new City Manager. Angela Oslund has been on the job about one month now, and she is already reaching out to other community and area leaders and listening to the citi¬zens of Wheeler about anything that affects the small city in north Tillamook County.
She succeeds Geoff Wullschlager who took a job in January as the assistant city manager of Garibaldi.
For the past couple of years, Oslund worked in the private sector as a consultant. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from Portland State University in Civil Engineering in 2008 and a masters degree in Arts and Leadership from Gonzaga University in 2017.


Boathouse re-opens, revives local history
For “Pat” Patterson, the past came alive again in Garibaldi June 21.
He sat against the wall in his wheelchair watching all the activity and actively told visitors of life at the lifeboat station.
Decades ago, he served at the U.S. Coast Guard’s Station Tillamook Bay during World War II. He returned to his former duty station, the boathouse in Garibaldi, to be the guest of honor when the members of the Garibaldi Cultural
Heritage Initiative staged a grand ‘re-opening’ of the old boathouse.


County forms committee to hear short-term rental grievances
Tillamook County’s housing shortage has brought the issue of short-term rentals into debate.
In order to help the Tillamook County Board of Commissioners address the concerns of the public about the high number of short-term rental properties, the Board approved the formation of the Tillamook County Short- Term Rental Committee on July 18.
“This is something we’ve had ongoing conversations about,” Sarah Absher, director of the Department of Community Development, said. “I’m very excited to get started with this committee on helping to better address the concerns the County has been receiving in relation to short-term rentals.”


$1.8 million fine leads to lawsuit in federal court
The City of Manzanita is sending a message to short-term rental violators, and it plays to the tune of $1.8 million.
A Manzanita property owner who was fined $1.8 million for operating a vacation rental without a license is now suing the City of Manzanita, claiming the enforcement is unconstitutional. Sandra Petersen, owner of the home on Edmund Lane, which she named the R&R Retreat, claims to have used it only as a vacation home for family and friends.
The City of Manzanita gifted Petersen the hefty fine last October, stating she was in violation of the short-term rental ordinance by operating without a license and not paying lodging taxes. This comes after Manzanita Mayor Mike Scott said the city is looking to identify and prosecute the short-term renter violators in an effort to enforce the 17.5 percent cap on licenses.


City Manager takes reins in Manzanita
Jerry Taylor has been conduct¬ing the City of Manzanita for 22 years. Oct. 1, his symphony will come to an end.
“I’ve always likened this position to a musical conductor,” Taylor said. “I can’t take credit for projects. My role is to assemble the pieces and help make some¬thing great.”
With Taylor stepping down from a position he has held since Bill Clinton was president and the Olympics were in Atlanta, a pair of city councilors and Mayor Mike Scott approved of the contract Sept. 20 for Assisotant City Manager Cynthia Alamillo to take the reins as city manager. ¬
“I’d like to extend a very heartfelt ‘thank you’,” Alamil¬lo said. “I am very grateful and happy. It’s a challenging position but something I’m really looking forward to and getting to know Manzanita and the community more.”

County approves Sammy’s Place property purchase
After hearing public testimony on Sept. 19, the Tillamook County Commissioners approved the purchase of nearly three acres on Thompson Road in Nehalem by Sammy’s Place.
“We have a vision for people living with disabilities to live alongside those that don’t,” Sammy’s Place President Julie Chick said. “This type of living in the county is scarce…we’ve been waiting for years and waiting for a piece of property that would be close to services and in its zoning allow for this type of use.”
The vote was 2-1; Commissioner Tim Josi was the only one opposed to the purchase.
“I think the proposal is rushed,” Josi said. “I don’t think we’re doing Julie Chick any favors in moving forward with this.”


Bell winner in commissioner position 3 race
Throughout the election season in Tillamook County, the dominant topic of discussion has no doubt been the race for County Commissioner, Position Three.
With nearly 56 percent of the vote, Mary Faith Bell won the hotly contested race over Adam Schwend for that commissioner spot as Tillamook County had almost 69 percent in voter turnout.
Bell said her victory left her feeling humble and honored to have been elected, and that she is eager to get to work starting Jan. 2.
“I am deeply grateful to everyone who supported me and voted for me,” Bell said. “This victory belongs as much to everyone who helped me as it does to me. There was a small army of people working on my campaign, many of whom I didn’t ask, and some of whom I didn’t know, they just volunteered.”

City of Manzanita to harvest Alder Creek Watershed timber
The City of Manzanita will harvest 62 acres of their property in the Alder Creek Watershed; in hopes of netting $460,000.
“The city has been using this as a revenue source over the last 20 years,” City Manager
Cynthia Alamillo said. “[This] has been used rarely: only when the City needs it.”
The City owns 130 acres in Alder Creek and previously harvested parts of it in 1996 to fund the blue reservoir and in 2007 to fund various street projects.
The proposed harvest would help finance the City’s plans to develop new city administration offices, police station and emergency preparedness center.


Housing Commission meeting marks historic day for Tillamook County
It’s a story Sarah Absher had never shared publicly.
“When my daughter was nine years old in 2010, we lost our housing,” Absher, director of Tillamook County Community Development said. “I was a single mom, working professional. I al¬ways worked for the County with a good paying job. Yet, we could not find housing.”
After extensive searching with no luck, Absher and her daughter were forced to move in with her parents in Lincoln City.
“One day I got a call from South Prairie [Elementary] School that my daughter had mentioned that we were living in Lincoln City with grandma and grandpa; and I would need to en¬roll her in school in Lincoln City. It was the most divesting moment during that time.”
Luckily, after three months, Absher and her daughter were able to find housing in Tillamook County.
Their story is not uncommon.
Over the last ten years, housing in Tillamook County has grown scarce for people of all economic incomes.
So, what’s being done about it?
The forming of the Tillamook County Housing Commission.
“This is another milestone for housing in the County,” Til¬lamook County Commissioner Bill Baertlein said. “Six months into my first term I started, so we’re going on four or five years working on housing in Tillamook County.”
Dec. 6 was the first meeting.

Commissioners do not extend CARTM’s contract
It was a somber moment after the vote was taken.
The Tillamook County Com¬missioners did not vote in favor of extending their contract with CARTM past Dec. 31, 2018.
“I’m at a loss for words,” Michael Maginnis, CARTM Treasurer said at the workshop with the County Com¬missioners on Dec. 14.
And then, the room was silent.