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Gearhart supports sanctuary cities in ‘welcoming’ document

Councilor leads call for resolution
By R.J. Marx

The Daily Astorian

Published on April 12, 2017 11:06AM

Last changed on April 19, 2017 11:33AM

Sue Lorain

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Sue Lorain

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Officials declared Gearhart a “welcoming city” at the City Council’s March meeting.

The measure is independent of other resolutions of inclusivity, including those of Astoria, Seaside or Cannon Beach.

Resolution No. 933 declaring Gearhart a welcoming city was first presented at the February meeting, came after Lorain “wanted to ensure that Gearhart was a welcoming city to all,” City Administrator Chad Sweet said.

“I believe we are a welcoming community that celebrates its citizens, models American core values and exemplifies belief in basic human right,” Lorain said in February. “That being said, I would like to ask for help from the City Council to show our community that we as a council believe similarly.”

City staff drafted the resolution for the March meeting.

The resolution affirms support “for other cities and counties in the Pacific Northwest who have declared themselves sanctuary cities.”

Gearhart embraces its tradition of “welcoming all people, regardless of gender, national or ethnic origin, religion, race, sexual orientation or language,” states the resolution.

The one-page document affirms equal rights and a core value of nondiscrimination “by fostering a welcoming community for all people, regardless of gender, national or ethnic origin, religion, race, sexual orientation or language.”

In the resolution, Gearhart encourages business groups, civic groups, other government agencies and residents to join in a community and region-wide effort to support the economic and cultural benefits that come from celebrating diversity.

At the March meeting, Gearhart resident Tom Thies said the city should “already” be a welcoming city and expressed concern that support for sanctuary cities may affect federal funding.

The resolution won unanimous endorsement by councilors and was signed by Mayor Matt Brown.

“I think, for one thing, it lets the people who may feel threatened by immigration policies know that they are living in a community that supports them, values their contributions, and hopefully will help everyone think beyond the boundaries of local issues,” Lorain said this week. “My hope is that Gearhart residents would reach out to everyone — neighbors, business associates, school kids, and friends in a way that values each and every one of us.”


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