We call ourselves Friends of Seaside. We wear white, blue or no collars. We own or rent homes and live in Seaside 12 months a year. We operate four- and five-generation surviving businesses that cater to locals as well as tourists. Our children and grandchildren attend schools. We share our home and hearts with welcomed visitors. We pay taxes. We vote.

Now we are faced with a dilemma. As a native of Seaside, I gathered signatures so Seasiders could "be allowed to vote." Despite embarrassing official opposition, broadcast by Seaside City Hall, the Clatsop County Court defended our right to determine and to preserve the very nature of our small town. You have heard that our ooh-ooh-ugly "no" signs are too yellow.

Friends of Seaside have revealed alarming spoken and printed quotes from some councilors, as well as details from ODOT's own Environmental Impact Study. According to ODOT, many homes and businesses would be affected. Affected, as in loss of income property. No driveway or parking. Bulldozed. Gone. Left town. Off the tax rolls. Now where will Seaside get matching funds to complete the contract?

What kind of tourist will the four to six years of construction attract? Will they really return year after year to update snapshots of the heavy earth-moving equipment? Or to lay annual memorial flowers beside the crosses along the median? Will they circle relentlessly in the couplet, fighting for pole position on the gridlocked single lane out of town? Can we really afford to destroy the ambient serenity and beauty that residents and visitors seek in Seaside?

Friends of Seaside believe you will "love your neighbor as yourself." That's why I voted "no." In fact, in our door-to-door survey, the majority of Seasiders said they are voting "no." You can be a part of this historic event by exercising your hard-won democratic rights. Present and future generations will thank you.

Janet Willener