The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current, April 05, 2017, Page 10A, Image 10

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Mushen: Meeting was littered with arguments, accusations
Continued from Page 1A
about whether individual com-
missioners should have con-
tact with the agency’s attor-
ney, Mushen tried to vote but
began making unintelligible
“I’m sorry. I’m not feeling
well,” Mushen said , struggling
to speak.
Discussion on whether to
vote continued until Port Exec-
utive Director Jim Knight
called a short recess and took
Mushen out into the hall.
“Commissioners, we need
to adjourn,” Knight said after
coming back into the room.
“For the health and well-be-
ing of Commissioner Mushen,
let’s please adjourn this
meeting. ”
The meeting ended as
Mushen, able to speak clearly
again, sat down and waited
for paramedics to come to the
Port’s Pier 1 offi ces. Mushen
was stretchered to a wait-
ing ambulance and taken
Knight visited Mushen in
the hospital this morning.
“They’re still running more
tests, but they’re keeping him
until they can get his blood
pressure under control,” he
“That was about as bad a
commission (meeting) as I’ve
seen in my 2 1/2 years,” Knight
He said Mushen told him
Tuesday’s meeting, which was
approaching three hours when
it was cut short, was one of the
most stressful he has ever pre-
sided over. The meeting was
littered with arguments and
accusations, largely driven by
C ommissioners Bill Hunsinger
and Stephen Fulton, as Mushen
attempted to maintain order.
Knight said there is a direct
connection between the stress
of the meeting and Mushen’s
condition. “I hope this is a
wake-up call to Commissioners
Fulton and Hunsinger to act in
a calm, professional manner,”
Knight said.
He said the next step is to
see whether to still hold a Bud-
get Committee meeting sched-
uled for April 12 , which was
called after accusations by
Hunsinger and Fulton against
the Port’s fi nancial staff over
cost overruns on the Port’s Pier
3 stormwater system.
Hunsinger said today he
agreed that the meeting was
“I think that attorney kind
of contributed by telling people
she was the smartest woman in
the room,” Hunsinger said of
During a series of votes
on the Port’s bylaws, Hunsinger
had attempted to adjourn
the meeting. He and Fulton
argued that Eakins had not
provided a full copy of what
the Port’s bylaws used to
say, compared to the changes
she was proposing. Eakins,
who represents about 70 spe-
eral ports, had argued that
the changes were minor and
meant to create legal, effi cient
Man Cave: Bales obtains permits from Oregon Liquor Control Commission
Continued from Page 1A
hangar, owned by retired den-
tist and aviator Philip Bales,
an “unlicensed speakeasy”
and called on the Port to fi nd
out where its insurance carrier
stands on the issue.
Port Executive Director
Jim Knight and Port c ounsel
Eileen Eakins cautioned the
Port Commission not to speak
specifi cally about Bales’ han-
gar. Knight recently asked
the Clatsop County Sheriff’s
Offi ce to investigate Fulton’s
allegations against Bales’ club.
Jensen said he spoke with
staff at WHA Insurance and
Special Districts Insurance
Services — the Port’s brokers
— and found no exclusion of
coverage because of alcohol.
“Well that’s 100 percent
contrary to what Jake Stone
and Nathan Cortez (from
WHA) told me, that we have
no coverage for drinking at the
airport,” Fulton said.
“Do you not require … the
people who are leasing from
you to pay liability cover-
age, as well?” Eakins asked,
to which Jensen responded
Eakins said that if the Port
was sued because of an alco-
hol-related event, the Port’s
insurer would go after the
tenant . “So, in fact, you’re
doubly covered ” she said.
Although Knight has said
Bales’ lease is not violated
by the Man Cave, Fulton and
Hunsinger have continually
argued the permitted use is
clearly for airplane storage
only. Hunsinger has said other
tenants were kicked out for
lesser violations.
“We know that on Port
properties, or private busi-
nesses, (people) host par-
ties, holiday parties that serve
alcohol,” said Commissioner
John Raichl, a former Clat-
sop County s heriff and an avi-
ator at the airport along with
Campbell. “We know that
almost, probably a third of the
vessels on our properties …
that moor here have alcohol
on board. Why is it selective
to this one property? Why not
all of the activities throughout
the Port? I’m not understand-
ing what your agenda is here.”
Fulton said he heard there
was more than casual use at
the Man Cave, in which Bales
has two taps supplied from a
kegerator. On a previous tour,
Bales showed The Daily Asto-
rian the permits he obtains
from the Oregon Liquor Con-
trol Commission for the kegs.
Gearhart: One-time application period ended in December
Continued from Page 1A
“If you deprive people who
have bought their homes or
owned their homes for a very
long time, the ability to rent
there, you are causing great
fi nancial harm to their offspring,
No. 1,” Gearhart homeowner
and petition advocate David
Townsend said today. “You’re
hurting existing homeowners,
existing residents, and it’s done
in a very spiteful way by a few
people, the former mayor and
council members because they
really want to get rid of vaca-
tion rentals in Gearhart.”
The result, he said, will be “a
huge economic hit.”
“If you shut down vacation
rentals in Gearhart, people don’t
come there,” Townsend said. “If
people don’t come there, they
don’t frequent and use the busi-
nesses that exist in Gearhart. So
all of the businesses are hurt in
To apply for a permit, res-
idents faced a requirement to
establish grandfather status by
requiring proof that lodging
taxes were paid on the vaca-
tion rental property prior to the
end of the 60-day registration
The 60-day, one-time
application period ended in
Applicants — 84 to date,
according to City Administrator
Chad Sweet — have until June
14 to complete the registration
Homeowners who did not
apply for a permit and continue
to rent are considered in viola-
tion of the ordinance and sub-
ject to a $500 fi ne for each day
of offense.
The initiative petition seeks
to undo major aspects of the
rules, which are also being chal-
lenged at the state’s Land Use
Board of Appeals.
“We’re trying to take
things back where the same
thing applies to everybody,”
Townsend said. “The big thing
is allowing people when they
sell their homes to allow peo-
ple to pass along their rental
Featuring boys and girls
high school teams
from throughout the
Columbia-Pacifi c region
The Daily Astorian/File Photo
Gearhart City Administrator Chad Sweet reviews applica-
tions for short-term rental permits in December.
permits, as long as they comply
with all the rules.”
Repeal and replace
The repeal would remove
the limitation on the number of
vacation rentals. Permits could
be transferred to new dwell-
ing unit owners, a change from
rules which call for elimination
of short-term rental licenses
through attrition.
Maximum occupancy, cur-
rently at two people over the
age of 2 per bedroom, would
change to two people over the
age of 12 per bedroom, plus
three additional people over the
age of 12 per dwelling unit, with
no limit on children under 12.
The petition seeks to elimi-
nate requirements for off-street
parking, residential appearance,
and garbage services, as well as
eliminate septic sewer capac-
ity inspections and cesspool
The initiative would repeal
30-minute response time from
rental property representatives,
a condition Townsend called
“If it’s a problem where
nobody needs to be there
until the next day, why does
somebody need to be there?”
Townsend said. “It’s a death of
1,000 cuts.”
Signatures needed
If the draft ballot title is not
appealed within seven days,
Sweet said, petitioners will then
need 175 signatures to put the
measure on the November bal-
lot, a number representing 15
percent of registered voters at
the time of the fi ling date.
Signatures must be submit-
ted by July 8 and verifi ed by
Aug. 10.
If verifi ed signatures are not
obtained by that date, petition-
ers could continue their signa-
ture drive and fi le for an elec-
tion within a two-year period,
Sweet said.
In the meantime, the city’s
short-term rental rules will con-
tinue to be enforced.
As of March 30, Gearhart
has taken in about $64,000
in rental fees and “closer to
$90,000 ” in lodging room tax,
Sweet said.
Taxes and fees are depos-
ited in the city’s general fund
before being split into different
The fi rst year, revenue is
designated for code enforce-
ment and legal fees, Sweet said.
In the future, funds may be
split between police, fi refi ght-
ers, code enforcement, parks
and maintenance associated
with tourism, he said.
Other parties — or the city
— could provide competing
“Once we’ve gotten to the
point where they’ve got enough
signatures, this initiative will
go to the council and the coun-
cil will decide whether to go to
the November ballot, accept the
initiative as it is, or fi le a count-
er-initiative,” Sweet said.
Sigler said the proposed
repeal “is reasonable and is tak-
ing into consideration freedom,
fairness and reason.”
“My children can’t even
apply the way the ordinance is
written right now,” Sigler said.
“I fi nd that very offensive. I
want them to have as many
options as possible so they can
keep this home and enjoy it.”
Fulton continued his argu-
ment Tuesday that insur-
ers told him the Port is at risk
because of alcohol-related lia-
bility. “They specifi cally told
me something different than
what Mr. Jensen’s reporting,
and I think we should get to
the bottom of that.”
Jensen reiterated that con-
tact with insurers should be
from Port staff, and Eakins
“That’s part of the problem
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here,” Jensen said.
“I don’t believe it is,” Ful-
ton said.
“Yes it is,” Jensen replied.
“I talked to Nathan and Jake,
and they had a real issue with
being contacted by commis-
sioners. It puts them in a very
uncomfortable position.”
Fulton asked that the insur-
ers write a letter stating the
Port has no alcohol-related
exclusions, to which Jensen
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