SEASIDE — It’s a debate that has quietly gone on ever since the Hood to Coast Relay began coming to Seaside 25 years ago.

Some people like the business it brings; other people dislike the traffic congestion and general chaos the relay generates.

Seaside City Councilor Randy Frank wants everyone to have a chance to voice their opinions about the Hood to Coast Relay in a forum beginning at 7 p.m. Tuesday in City Hall, 989 Broadway.

Hood to Coast is the world’s largest relay race: 1,000 teams of 12 runners, as well as thousands of walkers, descend on Seaside for one weekend each August. Including van drivers, friends, family and fans, Hood to Coast brings an estimated 30,000 visitors to Seaside.

“The ripple effect is (felt by) everyone, not just businesses,” said Frank, who owns Norma’s Seafood and Steak in downtown Seaside.

With an event of this size, he feels it’s important to gauge community opinion.

“We as a council vote on this event,” Frank said. “To fairly represent people, it’s fair to have a town-hall-style meeting.”

Frank hopes to foster an environment where community members can voice their opinions of Hood to Coast, which has become a truly international event; 39 countries were represented this year.

“If we’re going to represent people, then we need to hear from them,” he said.

Frank has heard from his constituents, some of whom feel that ceding Seaside to vans full of out-of-towners, even for one weekend, is a citywide headache.

“The community is still somewhat polarized about the event itself,” Frank said, though he doesn’t think one opinion necessarily outweighs the other.

“I don’t think it’s honestly one side more than the other,” he said. “It’s just overdue that people would have a venue like a town hall where people could get together and voice concerns.”

The councilor stressed that he doesn’t have an ax to grind when it comes to Hood to Coast.

“I’m neutral,” Frank said. “I see both sides ... the pros and the cons.”

Hood to Coast is an undeniable financial boon for many Seaside businesses, which Frank acknowledges.

This year, the Seaside Chamber of Commerce, which is a vendor for the event, sold 122 kegs of beer and 20 cases of wine, according to Chuck Miner, the president of the chamber’s board of directors.

The chamber netted more than $25,000 this year; some of that will be donated to the Seaside Chamber Foundation, said the chamber’s Executive Director Susan Huntington.

Although some businesses may be quieter during Hood to Coast weekend, the economic boost buoys businesses through the rest of the year, she noted.

“We get our benefits,” Huntington said, “maybe not all at the same time or in the same way, but everyone gets a little something.”

Frank hopes that the forum will help community strike a balance between boosting the local economy and maintaining a decorous atmosphere for locals.

“Do I think the event could change and get better? Yes,” Frank said. “Do I think it needs to go away? No.”


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