Hall wags finger but mangles the message



Lincoln Co. Commissioner Claire Hall continues her Quixotic quest to channel the late Republican governor Tom McCall in a cynical warning to second-home owners in “Scram!”

Emulating a famous McCall punchline, Hall blames out-of-towners for using a pesky loophole to defy the commission’s best efforts to halt the Wuhan Bat Virus at the county border.

“One group of people isn’t getting that message, though — the absentee property owners,” opined Hall, who urged to the county lawyer to ban vacation homeowners but was saddened to learn “there’s no way we can keep people away from their own property.”

In a flourish of Voodoo Science, Hall deduces the link between between the contagion and “parking lots full of out-of-state plates.” She stokes the “anger and fear” her constituents claim to suffer but overlooks the likelihood that Lincoln County’s Patient Zero could be a neighbor who drove east to shop at Costco, pick up a friend at PDX or get a rectal exam at Samaritan Corvallis. Hundreds of cars exit Lincoln County every day for a round trip to the hot zones.

But Hall speaks less for McCall than a resident anti-tourist crowd who, until they moved or retired to the Oregon coast, were themselves “outsiders.” These were precisely the kind of people McCall talked about in a 1971 speech where he concluded, “Come visit, but for heaven’s sake don’t move here to live!”

Lured by a comfortable infrastructure of health care, big-box shopping and otherwise outsized services for such a remote outpost, these strident NIMBYs dislike much about the Oregon coast’s roaring tourist economy: distracted sightseers, slow lines at the checkout, braking for traffic and short-term rentals. Of course, they discount the reality that tourism and the wealth it generates erected the conveniences that drew them here in the first place.

The late Depoe Bay restaurateur Gracie Strom attributed a pithy slogan to this sourpuss faction: “I’m aboard, so let’s pull up the ladder!”

But here is a truth that will linger, like Hall’s internet trope, long after the pandemic passes: elected officials face the sudden collapse and slow recovery of a crucial industry that filled public coffers with $15 million-or-so in taxes for cities such as Newport and Lincoln City, and nearly $1.8 million for county government.

The losses will be more profound in smaller tourist towns such as Depoe Bay, where 60 percent of the general fund budget relies on taxes from a now-shuttered resort. At stake are other revenues, such as property taxes paid by tourism-related businesses that may not survive. We can only hope these politicians have more solutions than wagging their fingers at outsiders.

No doubt Tom McCall, who led with buoyant optimism and wry humor, is twirling in his grave at Commissioner Hall’s brazen scapegoating. But then, he wasn’t running for another term on the Lincoln County commission.

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Rick Beasley
Special to Homepage, Rick Beasley is an award-winning journalist across newsprint and digital media. Also founder of the Depoe Bay Beacon and Beacon Media.


  1. She doesn’t seem to see that without tourism Lincoln City would not have many choices of restaurants, no outlet mall, no casino, houses that cannot find a new buyer and even more unemployed homeless people.

  2. Lincoln City was a nicer place when I first came here in 1975.
    Things were just fine, my life has not been enhanced by VRD dwellings,
    casinos and the destruction of what used to be a more natural beach
    setting. Homeless people travel the highway, and are called transients
    for a reason, it was the same way when I lived in Eureka, Calif.
    All we have now is a false attraction of prosperity which won’t last forever, then you’ll see unemployed people, especially in the construction industry, and restaurants? You need a viable idea and a good location, tourists or no, this place is tough on restaurants.

  3. Where do I start?
    My wife and I are some of those despicable people that happen to love the Oregon coast , Lincoln city in particular. We are born and raised SF Bay Area and want to relocate. We found a home in LC that we think is perfect. We used a local realtor, we have hired a local contractor that uses local employees and all of our appliances were purchased from local shops that hire local employees. Though we haven’t moved in yet we have paid well over $7000.00 dollars in property taxes alone.
    We try to make it up at least once a month just to follow progress on the work being done to the property, using local motels restaurants etc. we have noticed the nasty looks and rude behavior simply because we have Ca license plates ( until we take the test and register our cars to get Or plates ….. I hope ).

    I’m sure that Ms Hall is genuinely concerned about preserving her quaint community lifestyle and not being influenced by needs to STAND OUT in the upcoming election.

    I understand nimby but I also understand that all of those nasty outsiders are not a threat to your ( soon to be my ) community.

    We are still so looking forward moving into our home. We are looking forward to our new friends and hoping continue to contribute whatever we can. We also know that most people are kind and welcoming, and that does make a huge difference.

  4. I really appreciate that Commissioner Hall likes to channel one of my favorite Oregon governors, but it would be well for her to remember that Gov. & Mrs McCall owned a vacation home in Roads End, to which they frequently fled the city life of the state’s capital. Gov McCall also successfully promoted keeping Oregon’s beaches in the public domain so they could be enjoyed by all Oregonians, even visitors.

  5. Many of my neighbors in our LC HOA are part-timers. During this pandemic period I have seen many of them come down and most stay escaping the masses. They have self quarantined from thier car to thier home. Most are maintaining social distancing and wearing the ever fashionable masks. I no longer see the run on stores and virtually no traffic. My point….social loathing should be directed at those people…regardless of where there from…for not wearing masks, washing hands, and not social distancing. Those are the people and thier friends and family to fear.

    • Thank you! I wanted to read this opinion piece with an open mind to hear the writers point of view but he lost me there.

  6. Commissioner Hall,
    I am very concerned after reading your post on the Vacation Rental Alliance website titled SCRAM. As I understand it you are suggesting owners of homes here in Lincoln county that are not permanent residents that we are not welcome we are and to leave or in your word “SCRAM”

    There are many reasons that nonresidents may be here:
    I purchased my property a year ago and have been living in it ever since, We sold our home in Ca. to provide the funds to purchase and repair this home with the intent of renting it as a short term rental while we travel this beautiful country. After our travels we were going to move permantly here on the coast. Since the onset of this National Crises we have chosen to shelter here in place, we have nowhere else to go, but we never changed or ID’S, Would you want us to leave? Where would we go? Scram?

    My neighbor is in his 80’s, I would consider him at a high risk of death if he were to contract the virus, this has been his home for over 40 years, spending months at a time here with his now departed wife. But because he has a home inland also, he is not a permanent resident, where would you tell him to go? Would you banish him to a populated city where he would be at a higher risk because of his mailing address? Or the license plate on his vehicle? Would you tell him to SCRAM?

    You are suggesting taking away the very right to use our private property, The properties which in a big way paid for the recorces you mentioned, the recorces we all need, groceries, law enforcement, trash services and god forbid we ever need to use them the medical services, we helped pay for them and have every right to use them! We are in the heart of the Oregon Coast, a tourist area very close to peak season, the counsel made a wise decision by reducing or eliminating the vacationers here by closing hotels, campsites and Short term rentals, a vacation is a luxury no one should be partaking in right now! By doing so you have reduced the population density substantially from what would normally be here at this time. Lincoln County would not have the abundance of recorces it enjoys it were not for the tax dollars contributed by the very homeowners you are suggesting leave or SCRAM!

    I hope in retrospect you will consider the fact that , You are suggesting to single out homeowners based on what? ID’s License plates? Mailing address? Who do we single out next? Who next do we tell to get out! SCRAM!
    We live in the USA (united states) we stand for inclusiveness and you commissioner Hall are in a position of authority, I do not think it is your intention to discriminate, But this is a time where most of us have fear of our future. Please lead and unite us, not divide, not preach words that will stir more fear and anger. There is a reason OSCAR lives alone in a garbage can.

    Jerry Merritt

  7. Valerie LeBoeuf brings up a great point! Why use the tagline “Wuhan Bat Virus” instead of COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2?

    Terri Lloyd also brings up several great points as well. Not to mention the insight provided by Peter Fones.

    As a recent “returnee” to Lincoln City (lived here several times in my childhood), and owner of a home and property which are in different locations in Lincoln County – does that make me a bad person to go to my property near the beach and walk along the surf? Notwithstanding that I have Oregon plates, but I still must park on the street in order to access the beach. So, I question the “out-of-towner” mentality being fostered and fomented by Claire Hall. Specifically because I fear it will do more than draw hateful gazes our way when we try to exercise our right as landowners in a community – might it also invite someone to aggressively confront us or damage our vehicle in retribution for some inferred violation of the Governor’s “stay at home” order?

  8. If this is an opinion not a news article I could understand the obvious bias displayed by the rhetoric. If it is supposed to be news then I am disturbed by it. It sounds like it was written by a vacation rental owner who is upset by the local residents trying to keep safe during the pandemic. I wish visitors had behaved responsibly during that first beautiful spring break weekend when hundreds of people headed to the coast. Instead some really sad and unpleasant things happened. Stores were stripped of food that the visitors took back to their homes. The issue is simple. We are in a pandemic and advised to stay home. If you are blessed enough to have more than one home select one and stay there. Please don’t criticize our local government officials for working to keep the local communities safe for residents who live here. The mayor of Portland is doing all he can for the residents in that city. Thanks Claire Hall and all our officials for the work they are doing during this difficult time.

  9. Right on Rick. I transitioned from Portlander to Coasty a dozen years ago, first with a home I rented out and visited when able. I’m not confused about who I am or where I “live” I’m an American. This entire country is my home. This isn’t “safety” its Tyranny. You can put all the lipstick you want on a pig but it’s still a pig.

  10. Good morning, Jeremy
    In today’s edition of Lincoln City Homepage, you have an opinion piece written by Rick Beasely titled, “Hall wags finger but mangles the message” in which Beasely refers to an April 8 opinion piece that Claire Hall posted on the Oregonian’s Oregon Live website. In that Opinion piece, titled “Love the coast? Then stay home,” Claire emphasizes the “Stay at Home” message applies to non-Lincoln city residents, who own homes here, as well as full time city residents.
    What Claire so correctly said is, “…One group of people isn’t getting that message, though — the absentee property owners. Many of these homes are in the vacation rental market, and while we’ve been able to prohibit renting a home out for less than 30 days, the legal experts say there’s no way we can keep people away from their own property.”
    Nevertheless, emphasizing the point that we are a community with limited stock in stores and two small hospitals, Clare once again pleads with absentee property owners, “…So please, everyone, stay home. Follow the state, national and international guidelines and stay home. Be a decent human being who shows they care about others, even those they don’t know, and stay home.”
    Claire is also supported by our elected State legislators:

    State Senator Arnie Roblan, in his March 31st Newsletter titled “STAY AT HOME. SAVE LIVES” quoted Andrew Phelps, director of the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, “…all Oregonians need to continue working together and take preventative action to flatten the curve to reduce the spread of COVID-19…by staying in your home, you are helping to flatten the curve…”

    State House Representative David Gomberg in his April 3rd Weekly Coronavirus Update, strongly pleads, “Please – stay home and stay safe. And let’s be clear, “home” means your primary home, not your second vacation home, a rental that can’t be rented right now, or a visit to a time share. We can’t prohibit people from using their own property. But more movement means more risk.”

    In my opinion, it is Beasely who wags the finger but mangles the message. In that regard, I’m not sure why Beasley uses the term “Wuhan Bat Virus” instead of the more neutral and much more widely used “COVID-19” term. His term does focus on the generally accepted fact that the virus originally came from bats, but, despite what emanates from POTUS, it still isn’t clear that the virus first started infecting humans in Wuhan, as the April 15th issue of the UK Guardian points out in an article titled “How did coronavirus start and where did it come from? Was it really Wuhan’s animal market?”

  11. “Local Resident” spot on. Don Williams, it might just be my reading of your comments but I think you have a touch of moronovirus. The last two sentences in your comment were ignorant and unnecessary.

  12. Coasters are the friendliest people on the planet. No one including Hall is saying they don’t appreciate the second home owners being here normally. Hall was spot on that coming and going “right now” is selfish and tone deaf. Dare I say dangerous. Just because you can doesn’t mean you morally should. I believe her observation is spot on. Our FT residents fear of asking people to stay away is being maligned into us “being mean”-well, being polite went out the window the first nice weekend during a stay at home order our fragile community was overcome by visitors AND second home owners. I personally was scared out of my gourd seeing probably 100 plus cars backed up at 10 am that terrible Friday on 20 coming into town. We love everyone – just not now. I feel like residents are being backed into a rock and a hard place-get paid through tourism or risk covid death and welcome everyone with open arms. Both options aren’t great. If you examine Halls intentions-they were done with a good heart.

  13. I lost ALL respect for “Clair” when I saw her Facebook page with a convicted sex offender, Matthew Love, as a friend. Even after he was arrested, he didn’t unfriend the sicko.

  14. Rick Beasley you have been mangling the message with every piece you write. You are trying to bring big city gossip writing to our small coastal towns. Wuhawn bat virus? Unreal.

  15. Trash in trash out. Gotta say gaslighting is gaslighting grown people that don’t like being told what to do for the safety of others. Sorry second home owners , pull your SELFISH head out of your self righteous …… Your freedoms don’t over ride the safety of the service workers and medical staffs in this town. “ I can’t visit my second home”, poor spoiled brat. While nursing homes are ravaged by this virus throughout many communities. For the daft it needs to be explain that social distancing is working and along with testing we will prevail. Unless idiotic self absorbed “Me first” mentality derails it. Terrible article and even worse comments.


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