Wednesday, November 30, 2022

An idea falls by the wayside

Former mayor of Lincoln City Don Williams

Shortly after being elected mayor of Lincoln City in 2014, I walked the length of the city from Lighthouse Square to Taft.

Along the walk I thought about the Brooks Report which was commissioned years prior to help our city see some areas for improvement. Not just for tourism, but also livability for citizens.

When I reached the D River Wayside I saw a shabby, rundown parking lot with a worn out, unkept State of Oregon visitor’s kiosk that stood out like an octagonal shaped sore thumb.  I saw weeds and chipped paint.  I saw no landscaping.

As mayor I thought it was a poor representation of our city.  As an entrepreneur I thought of what a waste of a opportunity it was.  I knew we could do better.

Upon research,  I discovered the wayside was owned by the State of Oregon and Lincoln City had no say in its use or maintenance.

Later that week I attended a conference at the Salishan Coastal Lodge, where I met many representatives from various departments within the State of Oregon government.  As I made the rounds I asked each: “Would the state be interested in transferring the land to the city,” and “Wouldn’t it be better for the state if Lincoln City took over the ownership and expense of upkeep of the D River Wayside?”  Every person I asked said the same thing: “I think that’s a good Idea.”

After the meeting I approached Lincoln City City Manager Ron Chandler with my idea.  He agreed to look into it and began making calls. The response was positive and we began discussing taking over ownership of the wayside.  Shortly after, a group of city councilors joined me and members of the city’s public works department as we tore down the eyesore kiosk with a backhoe.

From there on things slowed and the proposal from the state changed from selling to leasing the site to the city.  Not what I had hoped for, but still, progress.

Beyond beautification and easing access, I wanted the city to take ownership of the property to bypass state rules concerning vending in the park.  I saw the opportunity for small businesses and non-profits to bring food carts and various goods to the wayside. State rules prohibited that activity or severely limited it.

This brings us to the present day.  The City of Lincoln City is asking for an increase in the Transient Room Tax to help fund the construction of a “state of the art visitor’s center” at the wayside.  I do not support the construction of such a facility.

What I envisioned was simply to improve the appearance of the area and to make it more comfortable to visit.

I’ve heard it said that the wayside is our “living room.”

We don’t need a million+, 2000 square foot, horizontal obelisk obstructing the view out our front window.

We don’t need to further burden our parks department.  We can’t afford the expense of extra personnel to maintain the visitors center and we sure shouldn’t ask our guests to pay an extra two percent tax for the privilege of coming to look at the ocean.

My original vision was this:

  • Improve the restrooms.
  • Increase foot washing stations and drinking spots for pets.
  • Improve landscaping.
  • Reduce parking and increase sidewalk space for more access to handicap and non- handicapped access.
  • Encourage temporary vending such as beach bikes and food on the north edge by Kyllos.
  • Increase seating to enjoy the view.
  • Add QR code stations throughout to educate visitors about the ocean, the coast and Lincoln City.

I also believe we should examine the further need for Explore Lincoln City or the Visitors and Convention Bureau (VCB). When voters created the VCB there was no internet, no cable, no satellite TV.  Today, any business owner with a cell phone or website can reach thousands of potential visitors.   Do we still need a government bureau to bring more tourists to our town? I don’t think so.

I would support an initiative to take a majority of the tax money now going to promoting tourism and redirect it to public transportation and improvement of walking and biking options throughout Lincoln City.  Businesses struggle to get employees to work and our roads are continually clogged with cars because we have never made public transportation a priority.

I won’t tell people how to vote, but I will say that what the city is proposing is not what I had in mind.

Don Williams

Former mayor, Lincoln City

Don Williams
Don Williamshttps://lincolncityhomepage.com
Writer, award winning photographer and former Mayor of Lincoln City. While not serving as the world's proudest grandpa, the Honorable Don Williams covers Government Affairs for Homepage.

9 COMMENTS

  1. The D river Wayside doesn’t need a visitors center. There isn’t enough parking there as it is already.
    There are about 2 dozen or possibly more locations that could be repurposed,
    perpetually vacant and dilapidated buildings along Hwy 101.
    Good job Don. I completely agree with this logic. A visitors center sounds like
    jobs for friends more than an advertisement for the area.

  2. Good point Don. I have said all along that we don’t need to spend TRT on advertising or D River. What a waste of money! Put parking meters in the park and that is how you pay for more employees for the Parks Department. They need more people and say they don’t have money in the budget to get more staff. The City Council just loves to spend money without going to the voters for approval. This needs to stop because our local economy can’t sustain this spending!

  3. The KISS philosophy is what you are suggesting…Keep It Simple, Stupid….and you are correct!!

    We certainly should NOT increase the lodging taxes. 2.5 % doesn’t sound like much until you realize that Lincoln City is already collecting 11% for lodging taxes an additional 2.5% will take it to 13.5%! That’s just TOO HIGH.
    All that’s needed is CLEAN UP. The entire city needs to clean up the garbage laying around their properties. Businesses and Residential property owners need to step up and clear the weeds, dirt, and litter that surround their properties. An effort by all would go a long way in bringing pride to our community. Maybe an organized “Litter Patrol” who meet, carry grabbers and garbage bags on their walks in each area of town could be a start to get citizens involved.

  4. I’ll agree with cleaning up some properties, I live near one of the most unbelievable junkyards, multiple broken cars, and it sits on SW Anchor,
    on a lot worth probably 6 figures, and I’m sure there are a lot of other similar
    situations. The transient tax? CRY ME A RIVER. I also live next to a subdivision zoned for short term rentals, we have constant construction, flowing mud in the
    road, garbage from multiple overflowing bins, no- You can afford to own a short term rental, you can pay some taxes. I have no sympathy for VRD property, I voted to raise the tax, thank you very much.

  5. Have ed dreistadt and Ricky appicello clean up all the litter at d river wayside and the dog doo on the beach for their ridiculous salaries that they haven’t earned since before the pandemic!

  6. I habe online live here 3 days and I see a lot Ordinary people can Do to clean up and brightin up this beautiful city to much Ghetto mentally ging on here.

  7. I agree the Wayside needs sprucing up. The parking lot could be redesigned to work more efficiently. However, blocking the views and creating more congestion is the wrong way to go in my opinion. Look at how well Road’s End continues to encourage families to picnic, people to sit and ocean watch and provides good access to the beach as well as the restroom and dog wash, etc. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

  8. I think the new visitor’s center, the plans recently introduced to the public, is a timely improvement to the city. Further improvements would be to enforce heath and safety codes and target properties where garbage, old vehicles, and other detritus has accumulated. The transient tax needs to increase and voters approved that measure.

    Lincoln City has stagnated by those opposed to renewals that other cities adopt which breathe new life to their communities.

    I’m sure that reconfiguration of the present parking, juxtaposed with the existing stoplights will remedy any traffic congestion. LC is a tourist destination, dependent upon tourism, so let’s make it nice for tourists and locals alike.

    Also, there is no view impediment when someone leaves their car and ventures to the beach. None whatsoever.

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