New Seaside Chamber of Commerce president likes to get involvedSEASIDE - Tita Montero, the new Seaside Chamber of Commerce board president, said one of her most important goals is to recognize contributors.

"Many people can't give financially, but they volunteer their time and I want to see them recognized for this," she said.

Montero is the Seaside Downtown Development Association secretary, works with the Girl Scouts, serves on the Providence Seaside Hospital board for Home Health, is treasurer for the Seaside Promotions Committee and is chairwoman and spokeswoman for Friends of Seaside, a local group organized to oppose the controversial U.S. Highway 101 project in its current form. (She said she doesn't need much sleep.)

"You might notice that there's a strong bent toward Seaside as a community and as a tourist attraction," Montero said. While she said there is no problem with conflicts of interest, she does have to remember which position she is speaking from.

For instance, she refuses to comment on the highway project when wearing her chamber "hat," although she said both the chamber and the downtown association support people getting informed and making their own decisions on how to vote May 17. "I can even say that as chairperson of Friends of Seaside I support that position," she said.

Montero likes to get involved. "If I didn't feel I was making a difference, I wouldn't do it," she said. "That's the bottom line for me." She is co-owner of Montero Sisters Fabric, which sports a sign saying "Well-behaved women seldom make history." There is also a large cardboard tiger on one wall.

She wants to find a new executive director for the chamber, promote local businesses and support community events, especially the Fourth of July.

"Until I came to Seaside, I didn't know what it was like to celebrate the Fourth of July with a parade and a lawn party and fireworks," she said. The chamber is partnering with the Seaside Downtown Development Association for the fireworks show.

"We need at least $16,000 to take us to being the largest display of fireworks on the Oregon Coast," Montero said. "We're already halfway there." She praised the Shilo Inn for contributing $7,000 and the Providence Health System for its $1,000 donation.

Montero wants to let people know that Seaside is a good place to live and work.

"The challenge that we face is the aura that can be foisted on us by media in Portland and Seattle," she said. The recent tsunami in Asia, and renewed attention on potential risks on the North Coast, has meant especially bad publicity, and the Portland media have "characterized us as being less prepared or less aware than we really are, and that could hurt us."