Park district to seek two-month middle school purchase extension

SEASIDE — After public comment and a 90-minute closed executive session, Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District board members authorized executive director Skyler Archibald to seek a two-month extension before purchase of Broadway Middle School from the Seaside School District.

The extension request at Tuesday’s park district board meeting came after directors received emails, letters and comments from critics of the purchase, including more than 30 people in the Facebook group “Transparency for SEPRD Taxpayers.”

“Please stop the speeding train and do some research before the SEPRD makes a huge decision that could have a very negative impact on our community,” Margene Ridout, a former park district board member, said.

The project was rushed, lacked public scrutiny and comes with potentially high remediation costs, said Tita Montero, administrator of the Facebook group.

Montero, a City Council member, said she was speaking as a private citizen.

She questioned if the park district has funds to remediate the 71-year-old building or operating capital to make loan payments.

“No matter where the money comes from, the taxpayers are ultimately holding the bag,” Montero said.

She proposed a community-based task force to determine park district needs.

“My vision is community conversations rather than confrontations,” Montero said. “My vision is that SEPRD plays well with the community.”

New Gearhart Elementary School owners to keep fields open to public

GEARHART — The new owners of Gearhart Elementary School have responded to calls to keep playing fields open to residents.

After meeting with Mayor-elect Paulina Cockrum and City Administrator Chad Sweet, Robert Morey, of Scofi Gearhart LLC, announced Thursday he will provide parking and temporary access from both north and south to the more than 3-acre eastern portion of the 8.5-acre site.

The field has historically been available as play fields.

“The western portion of the site will be fenced off while we work to understand building and site conditions and the goals of the broader Gearhart community,” Morey said.

State offers information

for people in need

Food, cash and child care assistance is available to Oregonians who need assistance during the state’s two-week freeze to combat the coronavirus.

The freeze, intended to stop the rapid spread of the virus across the state, asks people to stay home and places restrictions on businesses, including restaurants and bars.

People who have urgent and ongoing needs for food assistance can visit needfood.oregon.gov. For information about applying for a variety of types of assistance including domestic violence assistance, visit govstatus.egov.com/or-dhs-benefits.

People can also access information by dialing 2-1-1 from any phone, texting their zip code to 898211, by emailing help@211info.org, or by visiting 211info.org or Covid19.211info.org

Older adults or people with disabilities can call 1-855-ORE-2372 or visit www.adrcoforegon.org

While many state Department of Human Services offices remain open for essential business, Oregonians are encouraged to apply for help online, by email or over the phone, or to call before coming in. Often an in-person visit is not required to get assistance.

The Astorian