To the Editor:
I believe it is important to expand the economic stability that wintertime use of the Seaside Civic and Convention Center has brought to Seaside. The center’s management has determined that this can be done by redesigning the existing building and expanding its facilities to serve larger conventions. It would appear from newspaper reports that many consider financing this project impossible.
Bringing more residents into the Seaside tsunami inundation zone is simply not responsible. Bringing more tourists and visitors into this zone is a problem, but one that can be easily mitigated if the City of Seaside would develop suitable planning. Regardless of convention center expansion, the city should be working with its elected state legislators and state emergency preparedness agencies to provide a tsunami shelter in the downtown area of Seaside. The federal government (FEMA) has already designed shelters that are tsunami safe because they are elevated by reinforced parking structures.
Phase 1 of any downtown expansion must be the construction of this type of structure over the Edgewood right-of-way. Local match funding of approximately $750,000 a year can come from savings by contracting out Seaside’s policing needs to the Clatsop County Sheriff’s department. Communities throughout Oregon are executing these types of contracts and are experiencing not only savings but also better protection as well as getting the support of all of those who are in law enforcement.
Phase 2 should be the revision and expansion of the convention center. Requirements for expansion should be much smaller because, with proper design, the evacuation facilities could be used as additional convention space. Financing for this smaller project can be achieved by raising the bed tax to 9.9 percent.