PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The City of Warrenton held an emergency meeting Saturday afternoon where local leaders declared a state of emergency and passed a resolution to evict tourists after the coastal city saw a massive influx of guests over the weekend.
Mayor Henry Balensifer and the Warrenton City Commission passed the two resolutions unanimously during the meeting, which started shortly after 4 p.m. and was broadcasted via Facebook Live.
“What does this resolution do? It orders vacation of all vacationers—tourists and anybody that is not a resident, camp host, or employee,” said Balensifer. “We can’t handle having thousands of people flood the city.”
The Order to Vacate, resolution 2565, closes all camping grounds in the City of Warrenton, both private and public. It also evicts all short-term lodgers in vacation rentals and Airbnb homes. The town’s two hotels have been closed to business, with the exception of guests who registered to stay longer than 30 days.
All tourists have 24 hours to vacate the coastal town.
“My message is: tourists, don’t come here. Not right now,” said Balensifer in his Facebook Live. “We’ll welcome you back later, the beach is always going to be here, clams are still in the ocean—they don’t catch COVID-19.”
During a recap video the mayor shared on his own Facebook page, Balensifer thanked the local community for voicing their concerns. He mentioned that he received several photos from residents depicting the traffic and crowds created by tourists—all of which he said he has forwarded to the governor’s office.
Seaside declares emergency
The City of Seaside also convened for an emergency meeting at City Hall on Saturday night to declare a state of emergency caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The declaration included four clauses outlined to protect the citizens of Seaside and allow the town to request assistance from the state.
Following the approval of the resolution, the mayor urged people to continue practicing social distancing and other safety precautions put forth by the CDC.
Seaside will hold its next regularly scheduled city council meeting on Monday, March 23 at 7 p.m.