SEASIDE - For 17 years, the Seaside Chamber of Commerce has sold beer on the beach during the Hood-to-Coast Relay. From those sales, the chamber usually realizes a profit of $20,000. Much of that money is spread throughout Seaside, to help other organizations buy circus tickets for children, bicycle helmets for teenagers and school supplies for low-income students. The money helps to support events such as the Seaside Salt Makers Return, the Beach Buccaneers' beach clean-up efforts, Miss Clatsop and Miss Oregon pageants, the Clatsop County Job and Career Fair and Wintering Over at Fort Clatsop.

But last year, $7,000 - representing 10 percent of the chamber's gross beer sales - went to the Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation as a usage fee. The Seaside chamber's profits were reduced to $14,000.

Chamber Director Al Smiles isn't happy about what he calls a "sales tax." He is trying to gather opposition to a long-dormant rule that eventually could affect groups or individuals that sell anything on the beach, unless the Internal Revenue Service recognizes them as charitable organizations.

"For us, this is not a drop in the bucket," said Smiles. "It's $7,000 that can't be distributed in the community."

? For more on this story, read Friday's edition of The Daily Astorian or log on to this Web site later Friday

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