Seaside signal. (Seaside, Or.) 1905-current, June 28, 2019, Page A4, Image 4

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    A4 • Friday, June 28, 2019 | Seaside Signal |
Solutions elusive, but housing advances are in sight
latsop County’s hous-
ing crisis reverberates all
the way to the halls of
This spring, U.S. Rep. Suzanne
Bonamici addressed a roomful of
local leaders to crack the code of
the South County’s ongoing hous-
ing crisis, one which sees a dearth
of affordable workforce housing
— a problem hindering economic
development, leading to a rise in
homelessness and higher housing
costs for everyone.
Bonamici is only one of the
legislators at all levels of gov-
ernment seeking answers, along
with housing offi cials, developers,
business leaders and cities seeking
to keep pace with population and
economic growth.
In late April, Brendan Buckley
of Johnson Economics and Matt
Hastie of Angelo Planning Group
returned to Seaside for an inter-
pretation of their Clatsop County
Housing Strategies Report.
Results of the housing report,
delivered this spring, shine a light
on each community, analyzing the
countywide housing supply, hous-
ing and demographic trends. The
study provides details on popula-
tion growth, household character-
istics and available land.
Along with broader fi ndings,
they offered a discussion of Sea-
side itself.
“The idea was to assess the
current housing inventories,”
Buckley said.
Authors sought to come up
with projection of needed hous-
ing, the inventory of remain-
ing buildable residential land and
identify gaps and opportunities for
housing throughout the county.
Seaside cottages could play a big role in the city’s future housing stock.
The situation is one that has grown steadily over the
decades: the 1946 Signal reported a “heavy demand
for small homes.” The population had gone from about
1,500 in 1930 to almost 5,000 after the war.
That was the post-war boom, but surges of population,
both primary residents, second-homeowners and
visitors, has kept that struggle alive.
In 1989, the housing shortage in Seaside — along with
expansion of downtown parking and public restrooms
was a key item in the city goals.
The city passed a vacation rental ordinance in 1992,
taking many properties off the market that could have
been used as long-term rentals or aff ordable housing.
By 2007, Clatsop Housing Solutions held a conference
to address the issue. The event, at the convention cen-
ter, drew experts from around the state.
And in 2012, the city dug in with an analysis of land
needs and housing trends.
In 2017, city councilors provided a list intended to
remove hurdles from providing additional rental
opportunities in residential zones, commissioners pre-
sented additional proposals to encourage long-term
rental housing development, including plans to modify
parking requirements and rules for accessory dwelling
Last November, Brendan Buckley of Johnson Econom-
ics addressed Seaside City Council members to present
two hours of numbers confi rming what many in the
audience already knew: there’s not enough workforce
housing and for too many, housing is completely out
of reach.
The Clatsop County Housing Study was delivered early
this year, with participation of the fi ve county cities
of Warrenton, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Astoria and
Gearhart, with the unincorporated townships around
the county.
In late April, Buckley, with Matt Hastie of Angelo Plan-
ning Group returned to Seaside for an interpretation of
their report.
By the numbers
Seaside’s housing profi le is a
treasure trove of data.
There is an “acute estimated
shortage of lower priced rental
units,” the study, co-authored by
Angelo Planning Group and John-
son Economics, states. “As in
most markets there is a contin-
uous need for units at the low-
est levels, which usually requires
subsidized rents.”
Seaside, they report, is con-
strained by land and housing unit
capacity — with only 69 vacant
potentially buildable acres, out of
5,200 vacant areas countywide.
By comparison, Cannon Beach
has 86 buildable acres and Gear-
hart 146 vacant buildable acres.
According to Portland State
University data, Seaside will
grow at the second highest rate in
the county, behind Warrenton, at
about 1% per year. Seaside has a
40% ownership rate among per-
manent ownership.
Seaside’s population of 6,644
is expected to increase to 7,739
in 2038, a growth of about 1,095
people. 12% of Seaside’s popu-
lation is within the federal pov-
erty rate.
Meanwhile, the median
home sale in Clatsop County is
$298,000; Gearhart $402,000.
Countywide, the average is
Average rent levels in Seaside,
for a one-bedroom apartment
are $825 per month, one-bed-
rooms $1,200 and three- bed-
room $1,500. The estimated aver-
age of all units is $1,155, slightly
more than the county average of
In a comparison of current
housing need and supply in Sea-
side, the greatest unmet need
is within the $35,000-$49,999
income range, or houses priced at
$190,000-$350,000. Those house-
holds with an income level of
less than $90,000 have an unmet
need of 295. The greatest unmet
need for rental dwellings is in the
$1,100-$1,500 range.
In Gearhart, Cannon Beach
and Seaside, a large share of
homes are used for vacation or
second homes. Seaside will need
an additional 637 units by 2038,
a 33% increase, and a need for
151 new rental units by 2038, an
increase of 21.8%. Overall Sea-
side is expected to see a 30.2%
increase in total housing need by
Newly built housing supply
will tend to be more expensive.
The middle class will have to
work harder to get housing and
the poor will be still further away.
“Your study is confi rming, in
some ways, our worst fears and
concerns,” Mayor Jay Barber told
consultants at a City Council pre-
sentation. “I think the big issue is
what you’re going to be recom-
mending as solutions.”
“My biggest takeaway is we
have plenty of housing,” coun-
cilor Seth Morrisey added. “It’s
just not being used effi ciently.”
“Easy” — and not-so-easy —
solutions have already been ana-
lyzed and utilized, when avail-
able: housing grants, federal
funding, urban renewal, even a
city code amendment designed to
promote accessory dwelling units.
As the Portland area spreads
outward, councilwoman Tita
Montero said, the city could have
an even greater need than pro-
jected by Portland State Univer-
sity data.
That could lead to a new look
at the city’s urban growth bound-
ary — a discussion tabled by
the Planning Commission two
years ago in advance of updated
Reductions or waivers of sys-
tem development charges could
lower prices for developers of
affordable or workforce units —
but reduced charges on one end
inevitably lead to higher costs for
taxpayers, who would ultimately
bear the costs of new utilities and
Relaxing street parking rules
— from two to 1.5, as the housing
study’s authors propose— could
make it easier for developers to
build, but could crowd already
overfi lled streets.
Vacation rental units are
already in the sights of the Plan-
ning Commission, which will
be meeting with the City Coun-
cil on the topic at a July work
session. The proliferation of
online services like Vacasa and
Airbnb “have made it much eas-
ier for property owners to rent
out and manage their proper-
ties remotely,” the housing report
Vacation rental dwellings rep-
resent a “commercial venture in a
residential zone,” City Councilor
Randy Frank said. “That’s coming
at the expense of their neighbors.”
A look ahead
Solutions are tantalizing, and
dizzying: zoning rules designed
to promote multifamily housing,
accessory dwelling units, incen-
tives for development.
What-ifs include possible
development of the high school
and middle school as housing.
In the past councilors have
mulled rezoning portions of
downtown to allow loft or apart-
ment living above the city’s
historic buildings. There are
undoubtedly many residents who
would love to make their home in
the swing of things.
One of my favorite ideas is to
take a new look at the city’s “cot-
tage clusters” — single-fam-
ily dwellings with a courtyard or
what the study’s authors call a
“communal design,” ideally suited
for the repertoire of homes from
the 1920s, ’30s, ’40s and ’50s.
Without cooperation of neigh-
bors and residents, even the best
ideas may be destined to stall.
What will be required is sensible
low-impact solutions that work
without degrading the quality of
life for those of us who already
live here.
Maybe it’s all a matter of
No one wants to live next to a
“homeless shelter.”
But a subsidized cottage clus-
ter with potential for homeowner
equity? It could be a start.
Seaside cottages like this one could be just what we need
n the summer of 1977 I met
Curtis Watkins in New York
City. We were habitués of a
cafe in Greenwich Village. After
a long hiatus, we met again in
1997; he was taking a class with
an Iyengar yoga teacher who I was
writing about. After that, we made
a point to stay in touch.
Watkins is the co-author of a
new book called “The Field Guide
To Emotions.” Professionally,
Watkins has been an actor, a cab
driver, and a construction worker.
When we met in ’77 he was one
of the fi rst male fl ight attendants
for TWA. For the last 20 or so
years, Watkins has been an exec-
utive coach whose work is rooted
in somatics. His co-author Dan
Newby is also an executive coach,
and author of “The Unopened Gift:
A Primer in Emotional Literacy.”
Reframing emotions as a practi-
cal tool is a relatively new concept.
“We’ve both been coaches
doing executive trainings since
1999,” Watkins said. “Dan’s area
of study is emotions and mine is
somatics.” The process of writ-
Kari Borgen
R.J. Marx
ing the book, he said, took more
than a year. “I made a grid and we
came up with all the different emo-
tions we wanted to describe and
Watkins said most humans
walking the earth are pretty much
emotional illiterates. He’s hoping
to change that.
“Two hundred years ago, only
10% of humans on the planet
could read and write, and now
probably 90% of people can read
and write,” he said. “Right now I
think only about 10% of the popu-
lation are emotionally literate. But
in 200 years we could have 90% of
the human population having the
ability to recognize and identify
their own emotions, as well as the
emotions of others.”
The design and format of “The
Field Guide to Emotions” is easy
Eve Marx
Curtis Watkins’ “A Field Guide To Emotions” helps people identify and
recognize their own emotions. Plus it has elements in common with a
birders fi eld guide.
to read and attractive. Besides the
expected emotions of fear, love,
pride, pity, and passion, the book
delves into emotions we may be
less comfortable talking about,
like envy, indignation, and pes-
simism. It’s interesting to learn
that when we’re feeling guilty,
Jeremy Feldman
John D. Bruijn
Sarah Silver-
Carl Earl
Skyler Archibald
Darren Gooch
Joshua Heineman
Rain Jordan
Katherine Lacaze
Eve Marx
Cara Mico
Esther Moberg
our bodies express that as heavi-
ness. Guilty people breathe more
slowly and shallowly. People who
feel frustrated experience tightness
in the jaw; people who feel enti-
tled are prone to whine. Hopeful
people stand up straighter. While
sentimental people become eas-
ily attached to specifi c people,
and even objects, and approach
the world with an open heart,
their sentimentality may interfere
with their ability to accept or even
understand ideas based on logic.
Because the emotions defi ned
and described in the book are orga-
nized A-Z, Watkins said his co-au-
thor originally wanted to call the
book a dictionary.
He resisted and came up with
the book’s title.
“I’m a bird watcher and I’ve
always loved fi eld guides,” he
Watkins said coaching work
never gets old. “I’m curious about
people and continue to be curi-
ous.” What he enjoys most is expe-
riencing clients becoming more
aware of their bodies as domains
of wisdom and knowledge, and not
just a machine to carry their heads
“As a culture, we’ve rele-
gated the body to an ‘it,’” he said,
“rather than a being. My work is
to engage people to live their lives
more fully.”
Seaside Signal
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