The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current, August 09, 2022, Image 1

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    150TH YEAR, NO. 17 // TUESDAY, AUGUST 9, 2022
gets boost
Bob and Cindy
Magie restored
the historic
property off
State approves
money to expand
The Astorian
At a historic property
downtown, a tug of war
over vacation rentals
A couple wants the city to recognize the conversion from long-term housing
The Astorian
hen Bob and Cindy Magie pur-
chased a historic property near
downtown in 2015 from the
Lower Columbia Preservation Society, their
goal was to restore and rent out the buildings .
Using 20 years of retirement savings
as the down payment, the couple said they
brought the two cottages and four plex on
Exchange Street, known as the Gilbaugh
Apartments, back from the edge of falling
Over time, the long-term housing transi-
tioned into vacation rentals.
Earlier this year, after seeing a list-
ing online, the city sent the Magie s a let-
ter notifying them that using the apartments
for vacation rentals was in violation of the
city’s homestay lodging ordinance. The city
ordered the couple to stop.
But the situation remains unclear.
The Magie s maintain that the vacation
rentals are legal and that the city has been
inconsistent in communication. The city is
still looking at the facts to determine whether
the business is operating legally, but is also
concerned about the loss of residential hous-
ing units.
H aving purchased the property with the
intent of converting all the units into vaca-
tion rentals and already investing a signifi -
cant amount of money into the restoration,
the Magie s are frustrated.
“This is not fair and feels like theft,” the
couple said in an email.
‘Fairly complicated’
Astoria adopted a homestay lodging ordi-
nance in 2018 that does not allow rooms
to be rented as vacation rentals unless the
owner lives on the property and obtains a
license . The ordinance grew out of concerns
about illegal short-term rentals and the mar-
ket forces putting the city at risk of losing
more of its limited housing stock to tourism.
Although the Magie s property is in a
commercial zone that allows hotels, the
ordinance prevents structures occupied as
residential housing after January 2019 from
being used for vacation rentals. Structures
that were originally constructed as residen-
tial housing also cannot be used for vacation
See Tug of war, Page A6
‘I’m always a fan of the extra weird’
Commercial fi sherman
one of the ‘bubble guys’
The Astorian
n overcast days when the
weather is just right, peo-
ple walking downtown may come
across gigantic bubbles dancing in
the wind.
If they follow the trail of iri-
descent shapes back to the source,
they’ll likely fi nd Gavin Lampert
in a wacky costume letting a
breeze catch onto the solution from
his homemade wand.
Lampert is known around Asto-
ria as one of the “bubble guys”
because he likes to go out with his
friend and “rip a few bubs” in his
free time .
“It just brought me a lot of joy,”
he said. “I was having fun and then
I started realizing how many other
people it brought joy to.”
He’s been blowing bubbles
since the beginning of the year.
Astoria is an ideal place for his
craft with its cloud coverage and
frequent light breezes. If it’s too
hot or windy, the bubbles will
The people are also more
responsive to his bubble-blow-
ing than people in other cities,
Lampert said.
Despite only moving to Astoria
this year , he said he’s met a tremen-
dous amount of people through a
shared love of bubbles .
“I feel like it just cuts down on
that social anxiety,” he said. “It’s
like a way for somebody to walk up
and start a conversation, you know.
And so I feel like that helps a lot.”
Lampert has bubbles down to
a science. His homemade solution
he calls “ bubble sauce” is specif-
ically formulated to create giant
“It is a secret recipe,” he said. “I
can tell you the main ingredient is
dish soap.”
See Bubble guy, Page A6
The Northwest Oregon
Housing Authority was
awarded key state funding
for a project that will dou-
ble the size of the Owens-
Adair, an aff ordable hous-
ing complex for seniors
and people with disabilities
near downtown.
The state’s Housing
Stability Council on Fri-
day approved $1.9 million
in low-income housing
tax credits for the housing
authority, advancing the
project forward. The hous-
ing authority provides crit-
ical housing assistance to
low-income residents in
Clatsop, Columbia and Til-
lamook counties.
The new four-story,
50-unit apartment proj-
ect called the Owens-
Adair Annex will mir-
ror the building on 15th
and Exchange streets. The
$22.6 million annex is
expected to serve low-in-
come seniors and peo-
ple with disabilities earn-
ing 30% to 50% of the area
median income.
Elissa Gertler, the exec-
utive director of the hous-
ing authority, said she is
grateful the project was
selected in the competi-
tive funding process. She is
appreciative of the state’s
understanding of the sig-
nifi cant need for supportive
housing in Clatsop County.
“We are excited to
work with the commu-
nity and with our devel-
opment partners to bring
50 units of much-needed,
deeply aff ordable housing
for seniors to downtown
Astoria, as recommended
in the city’s c omprehen-
sive p lan,” Gertler said in
an email.
“NOHA is also very
excited about our partner-
ships that will help us build
and manage the Owens
See Funding, Page A6
Disrespect helped
drive resignations
during pandemic
Survey examined worker perspectives
Oregon Capital Bureau
More than a quarter of
Oregonians have quit a
job in the past two years, a
new survey from the Ore-
gon Values and Beliefs
Center found.
who quit their jobs, the
most common reason why
was that they felt disre-
spected at work.
Some Oregonians said
the pandemic pushed
issues with their employers
— or with work — under a
Shannon Richardson
quit her job with the state
after 11 years and moved
to the nonprofi t sector .
“It was like this period
of upheaval was also a lit-
tle bit of a reckoning,”
Richardson said. “I think
we’re all a little bit afraid
to disrupt our daily lives,
and then suddenly, our
lives are disrupted for us
and we see the possibility
in that.”
Richardson lives in
Linn County with her part-
ner and two children.
When the pandemic hit,
Richardson felt her work-
place didn’t adequately
respond to the need for
fl exibility,
which “disproportionately
impacted working parents
and particularly working
See Disrespect, Page A6
Gavin Lampert blowing bubbles downtown.