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Letter: Tourism is the gorilla in the room

Published on March 1, 2018 12:01AM

Last changed on March 2, 2018 7:39AM

I have been a casual observer of the onset of industrial tourism for my whole life here on the North Coast. Do you remember? Tourism, the clean industry.

The latest squabble over the distribution of lodging taxes in Cannon Beach again, for me, calls to mind the fact that tourism is the only industry that has been provided such a generous subsidy, in the form of tax revenue dedicated to defray the costs of generating more business (“Cannon Beach sees opportunity in funding event center through lodging tax dollars,” The Daily Astorian, Feb. 22).

In times past, business owners had to pay for their own advertisements and promotions. This government handout is a big part of what makes tourism so special.

Tourism creates more problems for the area than is generally accepted by its promoters. It is the gorilla in the room. Small towns have been reorganized to serve their new master. Cannon Beach, a community of some 1,600 residents, has built and maintains a sewer and water system capable of handling some 20,000 fun seekers during peak summer weekends.

As the article states, communities like Cannon Beach are “being loved to death.” We are becoming an amusement park. Locals go underground. Housing shortages and prohibitive rents are one glaring result. Highways are impassable, and our towns have become isolated communities filled with strangers.

Money is power. The powerful Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association lobby has pushed through a bad law. The law is in need of review, and a redistribution of tax revenues is necessary. And when pigs fly, there will be pork in the treetops.

Gary Durheim



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