In a year where the coronavirus dictated the rules, Seaside worked to navigate a complex landscape driven by the pandemic, waves of visitors and a highly charged election season.

After a surge of visitors on a springlike weekend in March, the City Council passed a resolution declaring a state of emergency in the city caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

City Hall, the public library and Sunset Pool closed and businesses faced state and local restrictions. The Seaside Civic and Convention Center, after a major expansion and renovation, sat empty much of the year because of virus restrictions.

Meetings are now conducted via Zoom or broadcast on the city’s YouTube channel.

Auxiliary tents went up at Providence Seaside Hospital and Clatsop County has struggled with a rising caseload. Hotels and restaurants struggled to adapt to new rules in a changing landscape and longtime businesses closed their doors as they considered their next steps.

Amidst this, emotions from a heated national election spilled over to Seaside, with rallies in front of City Hall and the Prom.

Annual hallmarks of the city like the Miss Oregon competition, Hood to Coast and the Seaside Beach Volleyball tournament were all canceled. Even the Fourth of July fireworks were scratched, along with the typical parades and parties.

“We’re telling people they need to be responsible,” City Manager Mark Winstanley said in March. “Whether they come to Seaside or don’t come to Seaside, it’s very important for people to make responsible decisions. It is not business as usual. This is a very serious and different situation. We think people should pay attention to that situation.”

Relief

To help businesses survive during closures, the council unanimously approved a $1 million relief package to help businesses and residents get through the coronavirus.

Funding determination by category for Seaside emergency grants. Hospitality, which includes restaurants, retail and food service received a la…

Lodging taxes for the first quarter of 2020 were waived and property owners universally saw a $50 credit on water bills.

Downtown businesses struggled to meet pandemic safety requirements, including masks, social distancing and limits to the number of customers indoors.

The council approved $250,000 in relief for businesses that suffered economic harm from restrictions during the pandemic. Restaurants, shops, galleries, cafes and entertainment venues operating in Seaside for at least one year were among those eligible.

With 142 applications by the deadline, the city received requests for more than $520,000 in funding requests by retailers, food service, businesses and professionals.

Of eligible applicants, 126 of 135 received all or part of their request, with 11 of those fully funded.

Election 2020

Three candidates sought to fill the Ward 4 seat after City Councilor Seth Morrisey, citing professional and family commitments, said he would not seek a new term.

David Posalski, a local businessman, won the Ward 4 seat for the Seaside City Council in November.

David Posalski, the owner of Tsunami Sandwich Co., edged Kathy Kleczek, a former transit district board member, for Ward 4 on the City Council.

Posalski moved to Seaside in 2010 and opened Tsunami Sandwich Co. He now owns five local businesses with more than 60 employees. He ran on a record of six years on the Seaside Chamber of Commerce board and Seaside Transportation Commission and three years on the Seaside Planning Commission.

City Councilor Tom Horning won reelection unchallenged in Ward 3, while Councilor Randy Frank was returned unopposed to the Ward 1 and Ward 2 at-large position.

Horning, a geologist who has called for greater disaster preparation, was first elected in 2016. Horning said tsunami preparation and bridge replacement remain his priorities.

Frank, a former business owner entering his third term, said he sought to continue the work the council has accomplished. He is a 20-year member of the Seaside Downtown Development Association, with nine years on the board. He serves with the Seaside Airport Advisory Committee.

{span style=”font-size: 1.17em;”}A heated summer{/span}With a divided electorate and bitter debates nationwide, Seaside experienced some of the unrest seen elsewhere. Residents and visitors exercised their right to free expression with signs to close the beach in March while others sought their reopening.

The killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis inspired protesters to gather at the Prom in June. For days the group carried “Black Lives Matter” and “Justice for George” signs and observed eight minutes and 46 seconds of silence at Seaside’s Turnaround on June 4.

In August, dual rallies at the Turnaround brought the threat of violence.

In August, supporters bearing American flags and banners calling for the reelection of President Donald Trump gathered in front of Seaside’s City Hall. Many of them carried firearms in plain sight. Interactions led to tense moments as groups converged at the Turnaround.

Less than a month later, Seaside business owner Jimmy Griffin of Seaside Brewing Co. called for a discussion on open carry of weapons. His online message was reposted thousands of times.

“For the safety of the citizens of Seaside, I am patently not all right with people wandering the streets of Seaside with loaded assault weapons, guns, bats, knives and all the things they brought with them,” Griffin said.

In September, rallies proceeded without incident after three hours of marches, drums, chants and sometimes heated discussions.

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