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About Cannon Beach gazette. (Cannon Beach, Or.) 1977-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 9, 2018)
4A • February 9, 2018 | Cannon Beach Gazette | cannonbeachgazette.com
Views from the Rock
A move from Longboat Key to Cannon Beach
St. Denis adjusts to
Oregon living after long
career in coastal Florida
ith the new year comes a new city
manager. You’ll see him at city
council meetings, with his hands
folded and his trusty Chick-fil-A cup next to
the microphone replacing a coffee cup — a
tradition he carried over from his 15-year stint
as city manager in Longboat Key, Florida In
December, the city of Cannon Beach hired
Bruce St. Denis to replace former manager
Brant Kucera, who left for a job in Sisters in
June. After a four-month-long hiring process,
St. Denis now sits in the hot seat to carry
out the agenda of the city council on top
issues like affordable housing, emergency
preparedness and aging infrastructure. The
Cannon Beach Gazette sat down with St.
Denis to ask him a few questions.
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: Rome, New York. I went to architec-
ture school in Buffalo, and moved to Florida
My Buffalo experience is how I know I
will survive the weather here.
Q: Where does your passion for archi-
tecture and development come from?
A: I have somewhat of a creative mind,
so that’s why I liked the architecture. I’ve
always liked building things.
Q: How did you transition into the pub-
A: When I got out of architecture school,
no one was building anything but Burger
Kings. There weren’t many jobs. I went to
work at local public works department (in
Largo, Florida), and I never thought I’d want
to stay with that. But I was so impressed with
people doing the work.
In my opinion, these folks are in the busi-
BRENNA VISSER/CANNON BEACH GAZETTE
Bruce St. Denis takes on role as Cannon
Beach’s new city manager.
ness of doing miracles. If there is a line break
on Christmas Eve, they are out there fixing it.
I admire the commitment and the creativity of
how they solve problems.
Q: What are some of your proudest mo-
A: Longboat Key has long association
with circus world with the connection of
the Ringling hotel. The Flying Wallendas
performed right out on the street did the seven
person pyramid. That was a once in a lifetime
situation for everyone there. They brought in
clowns. Bringing in the flag. The flag tempo-
rary redesign of town symbol.
I also had a situation that was a real boot
camp for emergency management. We found
in the old criminal courts building we had
legionnaires bacteria detected.
That was a day where you forgot what you
were going to do today. We decided from the
get go to be transparent. We had to deal with
the maximum security jail connected — we
tested all the inmates, and we didn’t have any
positive cases. But it was a situation where
we were asking, “Are we really looking at
evacuating a maximum security jail?” It was
national media boot camp.
You always were responsible for a lot of
people’s health, but this was a direct threat,
and you’re the group that has to take care of
it. That’s my standard now for getting excited.
Q: First impression of Cannon Beach?
A: We came to visit on a vacation. I loved
the charm, the people.
Q: What attracts you to beach commu-
A: “I’ve always been a water kid. Had
some life changes, moved to the beach.
Stayed on the beach the whole time working
in the county, then to longboat key. What’s
not to like?”
Q: When you aren’t working what do
you like to do?
A: I play a lot of guitar. I swim, hang out
with my wife and daughter, who are my best
friends. I like to fly-fish.
Q: What kind of music?
A: I have several vintage guitars. I’ve
been in blues bands. My favorite is acoustic
guitar — I’m a purist.
Q: What’s an unexpected part of the job
of city manager?
A: I don’t think people realize how much
they rely on the city. The fact clean water
comes out of the faucet, you can put out
garbage and it gets taken away. An awful lot
that goes into that, and the people who do it
are really dedicated to doing it.
Combating the dreaded winter gloom
I just hear people solving problems for
people. If there 1,700 people here, and one
has a problem, you may hear about it or not
but someone put a lot of time into solving that
Q: What Cannon Beach issues excite
A: It’s very similar to the issues. One
exciting is coming in with fresh eyes. From
a technical side, I like the public works side.
I was heavily involved with state beach pro-
gram — the beach is something I know very
well. A lot of the other issues, the seasonality,
the difference in perception of year round
people versus someone who is here part time
and all of them are necessary. We want to
Q: What will be some new challenges?
A: “Weather. Actually no, one difference
is relative remoteness of beach communities.
It took you awhile off longboat, but then you
were on Sarasota — operas, two colleges, we
had a DMV.”
Q: What traits should manager have?
A:“I write down self reflection. Most
would write down confidence, decision mak-
ing, but to me, but because of with number
of people you deal with, delicacy of subject
matter you have to be pretty centered. Most
people would be shocked to know I’m a
Q: What would you do different?
A:The last job there was a big change in
the commission and great recession. I was
trying to protect Longboat Key from the en-
tire world. But it became personal and I let it
become personal. But it’s hard when you are
being attacked on a personal basis.
Q: What from your Longboat Key expe-
rience do you want to bring here?
A: If there’s something going on that’s a
problem, I really want to talked to everyone
involved to solve problems that some people
think aren’t necessary solvable.
Who is city’s audience?
e were tucked into a cozy corner
at Screw & Brew, drinking craft
beer and doing oyster shooters.
Outside it was raining (what else?), literally
sideways. It was a Friday afternoon, still
midday, almost the weekend. To my mind,
it was probably a little early to be drinking,
although isn’t this what we love about
the coast? No matter the day or the hour,
you can always make believe you’re on
As we ate and drank, I was telling the
spouse about a phone conversation I’d
just had with someone back east. He’s a
new work connection for me, so before we
got down to it, it seemed a good idea to
shoot the breeze. I knew this guy, now an
FBI-trained New York police lieutenant,
once upon a time served in the U.S. Coast
Guard. I asked if he’d done any duty on the
west coast, and he said he had. He’d spent
some time in California, but said he’d been
What’d you think? I asked.
It was in the middle of winter, he said. It
was dark and gray. It rained the whole time
I was there. I’m a person who needs sun,
so, so I put in to finish out my time in the
Florida Keys. Have you been there?
I said I had.
While this winter has been nowhere near
as gloomy as last winter, I appreciated his
candor. We moved this far west in part to
escape the brutal north east winters we’d
experienced. After years of digging out
under massive dumps of snow and daytime
temps so low they made your teeth rattle,
the moderate climate of the PNW where
even in January and February it rarely drops
below freezing was incredibly appealing.
What I hadn’t counted on was relentless rain
and how much I’d miss the sun, even a cold,
glinting on ice, flinty sun. While we PNW-
ers do get that occasional glorious winter
day where the sun shines for a few hours
and temps hover in the 60s, there is no way
to get around the fact that the color of the
coastal winter sky is a resolute battleship
gray. Is it any wonder if you can’t escape for
a few weeks in Hawaii, you might make a
hobby of drinking your afternoons away?
I took a moment to look up some
tips from professionals how to survive a
gloomy winter. By now the whole world
knows about SAD, which stands for
seasonal affect disorder, a debilitating
health condition brought on by lack of
light. Symptoms of SAD include fatigue,
difficulty sleeping, experiencing a lack of
focus, muscle and joint pain. Irritability,
weight gain, anxiety, and recklessness
are associated symptoms. Recklessness
can evidence itself through compulsive
behaviors, including risky sex, gambling,
substance abuse, and thrill seeking.
If you think you might be suffering
from SAD, experts recommend investing
in a SAD lamp. This is an easy to use light
therapy that combats depression. They
sell them starting at $39.99 on Amazon.
Professionals additionally recommend
Oyster shooters go a long way to combat
being active, even if that activity is a half
hour walk in the middle of the day. It’s
good to get outdoors and breathe in the
fresh sea air. Stay warm. Take up a hobby.
Eat healthy. Speaking of food, eat oys-
ters. (They’re a natural aphrodisiac and
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner
anyhow.) Oysters, in addition to being pure
protein, are a great source of zinc and vita-
min B12. Zinc helps the body fight stress
and is essential to the part of the brain that
regulates mood and memory.
Why wait? Hurry over to Screw & Brew
and have a round of oyster shooters.
Clatsop County Job and Career Fair offers opportunities
Adults and students are invited to the job fair.
John D. Bruijn
Clatsop Economic Develop-
ment Resources and WorkSource
Northwest Oregon spearhead the
fourth annual Clatsop County Job
and Career Fair on Wednesday,
Feb. 21, from 10 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.
at Patriot Hall at the Lexington
Campus of Clatsop Community
College in Astoria.
Seaside, Astoria, Ilwaco, Jew-
ell, Knappa, Naselle and Warren-
ton high schools will be sending
all juniors and seniors in the morn-
ing and will be finished by 1 pm.
At 1:15 p.m. the doors will re-
open for adult job seekers, Clatsop
Community College students, and
those seeking more information
about career and job opportunities
in Clatsop County. More than 700
CANNON BEACH GAZETTE
The Cannon Beach Gazette is
published every other week by EO
1555 N. Roosevelt, Seaside,
503-738-5561 • Fax 503-738-
students will be in attendance, and
many college students and adult
To register as an employer to
participate in the career and job
fair, call Debbie Newton from
WorkSource Oregon at 503-325-
4821, ext. 226, email her at Deb-
register at clatsopjobfair.com, un-
der the employer tab. This event is
Employers are asked to register
as soon as possible as the entire list
of employers participating will be
provided to the schools in advance,
and space is limited.
Contact Kevin Leahy at klea-
firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-338-2342
to sign up to be a financial sponsor.
com • email:
Annually: $40.50 in county,
$58.00 in and out of county.
Postage Paid at: Cannon Beach,
Send address changes to Cannon
Beach Gazette, P.O. Box 210,
Astoria, OR 97103
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Gazette. Nothing can be reprinted
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After reading “New Brand” the article
describing the Chamber of Commerce’s new
branding proposal, I have come to conclusion
that the age and income selective theories
behind the program is not reflective of Can-
non Beach’s residents or the merchants who
focus on serving tourist, regardless of age or
income. The philosophies and strategies, as
defined by the chamber, must be examined
and questioned by the City Council and res-
idents who feel passionate about our excep-
tional Cannon Beach.
The chamber’s new branding will be
directed to “affluent millennials” as quoted in
the Gazette’s article: “attract a demographic
of affluent millennial … We have to appeal to
a younger market.”
Cannon Beach is not a place for “affluent
millennial.” It is place for every one of us
who want to take a breath of the sea air, watch
the surf, walk in a rain forest, find the right
spot to take a photo of Terrible Tilly between
the needle rocks, throw a ball for the dog,
and find that there is still a place to be in the
moment … a moment in place of amazing
There is no argument that the chamber and
the city need to adopt a single and repeated
brand of wording, and artistic design for Can-
non Beach activities. But please, make this
marketing program about the place and people
who care take and give our town it’s flavor,
not credit cards with a high limit and a certain
age group. Cannon Beach deserves better.
Cannon Beach deserves authentic.
Give full-time residents a breather
It is time that the Cannon Beach City
Council and Chamber of Commerce consider
the well-being of the people who live in our
village full time.
The constant advertising of Cannon Beach
continues to bring an influx of people no
matter what day, week or month. Could we
maybe see a down time and have the tranquil-
ity we once enjoyed during one month when
no outside attraction is scheduled? This would
also give the water and sewer systems a rest.
Cannon Beach does not need advertising.
Haystack Rock is our advertiser, you can go
almost anywhere in the world and people
know about our Haystack Rock.
When I have people coming in my door
offering to pay to park in my lower parking
driveway, I know the village is on overload.
This has often occurred when downtown
parking is filled and Eightth and Ash streets
have reached capacity.
The village is over-taxed by visitors.
Please give the full-time residences a break
THE NATIONAL AWARD-WINNING