There is speculation that this project is needed because of a housing crisis in Seaside. This speculation is unjustified by the demographic trends that are shown in population counts and a development like this would do nothing but destroy a wonderful natural environment within the city.
We have summarized the census data for the City of Seaside to evaluate the population growth in absolute numbers and in relation to the United States to understand if Seaside is or was growing faster than the rest of the country. That table is as follows:
Starting in 1970, when the population was 4,402 people, the city has experienced growth of, on average, 543 people per decade, or just under 55 people per year. That influx is well managed with Seaside’s existing housing capacity and alternative strategies. In all cases, there certainly is no luxury home crisis.
A study conducted in 2019 by Clatsop County which Seaside both participated in, and financially sponsored, indicated that there are many other ways to achieve growth than through the destruction of the greenspace this property represents, including zoning changes and restrictions on more short-term rentals. Clatsop County, for its part, has placed a moratorium on short-term rentals for that very reason.
To further reinforce the standpoint that this development isn’t needed, the following statistics about Seaside’s demographics were noted by a PSU study:
- The population of vacation rentals is huge. More than 1 in 3 houses are short-term rentals.
- The average household size is shrinking
- The median income is 13% lower than the county, and 24% lower than the statewide median.
- The population is aging, with the greatest growth in households in the 55 to 64 age range
A population survey conducted in 2017 and then again in 2019 reaffirmed these statistics and, as a consequence, defeated an Urban Growth Boundary expansion to serve a high-end luxury home development which. That proposal, like this proposed project, would have done nothing to solve the affordable housing challenge this county and this city faces. In 2021, none of the fundamental statistics or challenges have changed.
Woven into all of the above articles are additional proof points that luxury homes are not the source of the housing concerns. The real crisis is in affordable housing and this proposed development will do nothing to solve that challenge.
There is no “growth” reason for this parcel to be developed that cannot be achieved through other approaches. However, it is impossible to recover this green space once it is destroyed at the altar of development. There is every reason to preserve this land for the benefit of our future generations.
Don’t Clearcut Seaside!