Nearly three years ago, residents packed City Hall and called for an end to Seaside’s relationship with the Hood to Coast Relay. Residents and businesses complained about unruly behavior and traffic during one of the summer’s busiest weekends.
On Monday night, the City Council inked a five-year deal with relay officials to keep Seaside as the final destination of the 198-mile team run from Mount Hood’s Timberline Lodge.
Dan Floyd, chief operating officer of Hood to Coast, attributed efforts by City Councilor Randy Frank and Mayor Jay Barber in bringing the city and race organizers to the table. “Once everybody was able to discuss both sides, we really became one side,” Floyd said. “There was more of an understanding what the city wanted from us, and for the city, what we did for 200 miles. We got to make each other aware of what’s going on and how we can improve. This is a huge turnaround.”
Frank, a former critic of the race, called recent meetings between the city and Hood to Coast “very productive” and praised the contract as “doing more than what we’ve asked for.”
“I think you’ve answered not only the concerns of the people of Seaside, but all along the race course,” Frank said.
The city currently receives $18,000 plus $3,000 for expenses, according to City Manager Mark Winstanley. The new contract starts at $25,000 this year and increases 5 percent a year through 2022, when Hood to Coast will pay the city more than $30,000.
In addition to the payment, Hood to Coast agreed to cover the city’s costs directly attributable to the event, including staffing and equipment for police, fire and public works.
Hood to Coast indemnifies the city from liability and provides a toll-free phone number as a means of communications the week before and after the event. Organizers agreed to cooperate with the city for event public relations and promotion.
“This allows the city to put our best foot forward and allows them to put their best foot forward, and this gives us opportunities to work with each other to maintain good public relations before, during and after the event,” Winstanley said.
Hood to Coast launched in 1982 and Seaside was selected as the race’s destination in 1989. Last year, 18,000 runners from 43 countries and 50 states participated in the relay. This year’s event takes place Aug. 24 and Aug. 25.
Funds from the relay raised more than $730,000 for Providence Cancer Center in 2017. The Seaside Chamber of Commerce netted another $30,000 by staffing and operating the event’s beer garden.
Hood to Coast races take place throughout the U.S. and internationally, including Israel, Taiwan and China.
Unlike the 2015 meeting, where Seaside merchants presented a petition signed by 87 businesses seeking a race date change or cancellation, the agreement Monday night met with unanimous approval.
“If it weren’t for that dialogue we had, we wouldn’t be talking about the multiyear agreement,” Floyd said. “We want to keep communication open. Not just here in Seaside, but along the 200-mile course. We want to continue to improve.”
City Councilor Seth Morrisey called the relay a “net positive impact on the community.”
“In the last couple of years, Hood to Coast has worked to improve the event, implement a lot of things we’ve asked for, and I’m happy to move forward with this agreement,” Morrisey said.