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4A • November 24, 2017 • Seaside Signal • seasidesignal.com
A cat comes for
stays for 16 years
JEFF TER HAR/FOR EO MEDIA GROUP
This van parked in Seaside for several nights, with passengers seeking handouts, merchants said.
City may tighten rules to
stop aggressive homeless
stumbled on this article from 1930
that shows the scope of Seaside’s
homeless problem over time. An
itinerant cook with three children,
ages 7, 8 and 11, got off the noon train
from Portland on a charity ticket on the
impression she was going to be given a
job here. But when met by police, she
was unable to explain who was expected
to employ her. “She was given food
by the Seaside police force, allowed
to occupy one of the cells at the police
station and was sent to Astoria the next
day,” the Signal reported.
Today of course there are no trains
— the last passenger train came through
in 1952 — but visitors of varying means
continue to make their way to the Coast.
Portland’s “Ticket Home” bus program,
modeled after a similar program in San
Francisco, gives bus, plane or train
tickets to people who have places to live
in other cities.
A pilot program in May and June
2016 got $30,000 and gave 53 homeless
people tickets out of Portland. Accord-
ing to the Portland Housing Bureau,
clients in 40 households were assisted
with transportation costs to return home,
provided with six airplane tickets, 42
bus tickets, and five train tickets.
With or without a subsidized
government program, in Seaside, the
need grows, with a 6 percent increase
in housing assistance for children, 18
percent for senior citizens and a 19 per-
cent increase in the transient population.
Helping Hands now sees 190 people a
month seeking housing options.
With increased numbers comes some
more aggressive visitors, especially
around the holidays.
“We see the wave everywhere around
the state,” Alan Evans of Helping Hands
Re-Entry said at a breakfast meeting of
the Seaside Downtown Development
Clatsop County is ranked in the top
three of homelessness per capita in the
state, he said, and the problem is going
to get worse before it gets better.
“We are dealing with much deeper is-
sues,” Evans said. “The steady increase
over the last four years is scary. And
in the summertime, people flock to the
places we have coming in to visit.”
As housing becomes scarcer, the
problem is going to get worse before
gets better, he added. “I think every
community struggling with the same
thing we are. It’s a very tense conversa-
City struggles to cope
In Seaside, the problem spills over
into our everyday lives. Participants
at a Seaside Downtown Development
Association breakfast complained of
aggressive and rude panhandlers who
camp out on city streets, block side-
walks and harass passersby.
City Manager Mark Winstanley com-
mented that the public library has been
a place where homeless issues are grow-
ing, especially as homeless seek a refuge
from the area’s wicked winter weather.
R.J. MARX/SEASIDE SIGNAL
Transients and panhandlers are not uncommon on Broadway.
SEEN FROM SEASIDE
“This is something they don’t teach you
about in library school,” he said.
Ordinances, while in line with those
of other cities, are limited.
“We do have an ordinance on the
books that talks about begging,” Police
Chief Dave Ham said. “But court rulings
tell us that we are very limited how we
can interact with these folks.
Anything that is open is city-owned
and open to the public provides a “pretty
wide berth” for interpretation, Ham said.
Darren Gooch of the Bob Chisholm
Community Center said people coming
into the center looking for a place to sit
or talk on their cell phones or use the
center’s courtesy phones.
“We are dealing with issues now that
we never dealt with in the past,” Gooch
said. “For some people, ‘community
center’ is a buzz word for something for
While homeless may find temporary
shelter at Helping Hands or through
other charitable groups, there are few
options for managing the activities of
Loitering around an ATM machine
is enforceable Ham said. But laws are
more difficult for those holding signs
saying “God bless” may be more diffi-
“You can’t say someone ‘looks like a
doper,’” Ham said. “You’re not going to
be able to pick and choose which one is
going to be OK.”
When incidents are reported, com-
plainants are asked to serve as witness-
“And the answer often is, ‘I’m not
going to get involved in this,” Winstan-
ley said. “And that’s very frustrating for
police officers. They want to be able to
Police don’t have the resources or
justification to jail offenders, Ham said,
and citations are often ignored. “If they
do appear the judge will say you are
fined $150, which they do not have the
ability to pay. So the cycle continues.”
John D. Bruijn
Story from 1930 tells of a family
arriving in Seaside seeking food and
A designated area for transients — a
pocket park was suggested — could be
a possibility, Ham said. But rules for the
area would be problematic as well.
“Some of these people come with a
lot of gear,” Ham said. “You could say
you can have a acoustic guitar you can’t
get real loud, but if you’re coming in
with five different duffel bags and lean-
ing against the wall and people trip over
them that’s not really great.”
The communities successful in this
issue right now are those where every-
one works collaboratively, Evans said.
Town hall discussion?
Winstanley said the solution could be
simple — don’t give handouts.
“If panhandlers see an opportunity to
make money, they will stay,” Winstan-
ley said. “One of the reasons they are
there is because they are making, and
in their business, they are making good
Another proposed solution is a free
permit for those coming to Seaside, to
be administered at city hall, enabling
officials to track transients.
But the permit process would have
“some challenges,” not least of which,
constitutionality and the right to assem-
ble. “You have the right to be in public
places,” Ham said.
A committee of the Seaside Down-
town Development Association will be
seeking a solution, possibly in a town
hall discussion. “This is a community
discussion, not just a downtown discus-
sion,” the association’s director Sarah
Dailey said. “We want to work with the
Seaside Police Department, the city and
the businesses to find a solution that
works for everybody.”
e was booted from a moving car, an orange
teenaged kitten given the heave-ho by some boys
driving around in a beat-up Caprice. I’d just
emerged from the fitness club where I was waging war
with my belly fat. The Caprice came hurtling through the
club parking lot. An arm shot out the window and out flew
a squirming cat. It was the day before Thanksgiving, 1992.
The cat landed on his feet. Come here, kitty, I said.
He was half-grown and lanky, a feline James Dean. He
managed to exude a
I found admirable
situation. He came
right over when I
called. I petted him
and picked him up.
draped himself over
my shoulder and
burrowed his head
into my neck.
I put the cat in a
box I had in the car
and drove direct-
ly to the nearest
Duke was thrown out of a car at
“Know this guy?” I Thanksgiving time.
asked. They didn’t.
The doctor offered
to do an exam and
throw in free shots.
I gave permission
to neuter and said
I’d pick him up the EVE MARX
next day. The staff
reminded me the
next day was Thanksgiving and the animal hospital would
be closed. I said I’d pick him up at 4 o’clock.
I called my husband and said we were getting a cat. He
“You’ll like this cat,” I said. “And if you don’t, we’ll
find a new home for him after the weekend.” Then I went
to meet the school bus.
My son was in first grade. He bounded off the bus
clutching a construction paper turkey. His cheeks were
red from cold and candy corn. His teacher that year taught
math with Hershey kisses, candy corn, and Tic Tacs.
“We’re getting a cat,” I told my son. “You can come with
me to pick him up.”
The next day we were seven for Thanksgiving. That
may not sound like a lot to you but it was too many for
me. I was stressing because my aunt Adele brought a sur-
prise guest, an attractive young foreign woman, a medical
student, who had only been in the country a few weeks.
We also invited our friend Neil, who lived in the city,
a single guy who got upset whenever he thought we’re
trying to fix him up. I was breaking a sweat from the heat
of the oven. We were just about to sit down. The cat hissed
from the top of the kitchen cabinets. At knee level our
rescued terrier, Happy, ran in circles, barking. It wasn’t yet
clear if Happy wished to play with the cat or destroy him.
Dinner was rough. Our foreign guest, an East Asian
who had never experienced Thanksgiving mistakenly
thought cat was on the menu. She thought he was hang-
ing by the rafters to avoid a meeting with the cleaver.
Happy persisted barking even when I stuffed his mouth
with turkey. Aunt Adele launched into the full story of her
operation. While I was scraping dishes in the kitchen Neil
urgently whispered his desire to stay overnight to avoid
having to travel back into the city with the foreign woman
who clearly had eyes for him.
Later that evening, after we sent my aunt and the future
doctor and Neil on their way, my son and my husband
and I sat down to watch “Mary Poppins.” My husband
was still fuming over what he described as “your usual
three-ring circus,” a remark I chose to ignore. Exhausted
from 24 hours of nonstop barking and sedated by trypto-
phan, the dog curled himself into a ball on the rug before
the fireplace. On silent feet the orange cat appeared at the
entrance of the family room. He walked the perimeter of
the room before leaping into my lap. Then he went over to
the rug and lay down beside Happy, who opened one eye
and then closed it.
“Look at that,” I said to my husband. My son beamed.
“Happy Thanksgiving, Mom,” my son said. “And thank
you for getting Daddy and me a cat.”
We had that cat 16 years.
Mayor seeks input on
short-term rental rules
It’s time for the healing process to begin. The citizens
of Gearhart have had a tumultuous couple of years. Mea-
sure 4-188 pitted neighbor versus neighbor, STR owner
versus citizen, and business owners versus the city. Our
citizens voted overwhelmingly to keep Gearhart residen-
tial and we all need to honor the will of our voters. But
that doesn’t mean our work is finished. When we give our
current regulations a chance to work, over time we will be
able to identify parts that are working well and parts that
need fixing. I very much look forward to hearing common
sense ideas from all sides that benefit our citizens while
following the guidelines in our comprehensive plan.
I encourage folks that have constructive ideas to come
to our city council meetings, stop by city hall and pick
up a copy of our current regulations and comprehensive
plan, or contact me and other councilors at any time with
suggestions. Protecting our residential zones, empowering
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