CANNON BEACH — Mike Benefield intends to run again for his seat on the Cannon Beach City Council.
His decision to seek re-election, Benefield said, is driven by a desire to address “unfinished business” left from his first term.
“I think we’re starting to get more focus on the key issues like affordable housing — which we haven’t done nearly enough about — and emergency preparedness,” he said.
Benefield served four years on the Planning Commission before being appointed to the council in 2013. He was elected in 2014, largely on a platform to push for more affordable housing.
If re-elected, Benefield said developing more long-term housing would remain a priority.
“We have no place to rent unless you’re a tourist,” he said. “We either need to quit talking about it or get it done.”
Another priority for Benefield is to steer lodging tax dollars away from supporting tourism promotion and more toward improving tourism-related facilities. He advocates investing more in public art, more events and concerts or using the money to develop an event center at the old Cannon Beach Elementary School site.
“I want transient room tax dollars to focus less on promotion, but more on bettering the experience once we get them here,” he said.
Benefield would also want to work with the council to clarify the purpose and vision of the Tourism and Arts Fund. In an unusual move, Benefield was one of three on the council to vote against giving a grant to a trail project recommended by the Tourism and Arts Commission, arguing it did not fit program’s guidelines.
“This coming year I think we need to give better guidelines to the commission,” he said.
Overall, Benefield said he is running because of his passion to preserve the beauty and uniqueness of Cannon Beach.
“I want to make this a fantastic place to visit, but also a fantastic place to live,” he said.
There are three council positions on the ballot in November, including Mayor Sam Steidel’s seat. Real estate agent and longtime resident Robin Risley plans to vie for City Councilor George Vetter’s seat. Vetter has announced he will not seek re-election.