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Lincoln City diversifies its economy

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Articles - April 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
In 1999, city officials began a focus group with community stakeholders in the Taft District, a process that became an enduring model for the city's urban planning.
"We were the first business to blow your own floats," says Kelly Howard.
One of Lincoln City’s most successful tourist draws is the Jennifer L. Sears Glass Art Studio, where for $60 to $75 visitors can learn to blow their own glass balls. About 80,000 people visit the glass foundry every year, according to Sandy Pfaff, executive director of the Lincoln City Visitors Bureau and Convention Center. Nike has sent a group of employees to learn glass blowing as a team-building experience. Kelly Howard, a 30-something artist who runs the foundry with two other partners, saw a doubling of sales of glass products in August 2010.

But this success hasn’t been easy. In 2001 the city bought the building from Tom Litfin, whose business, Litfin Motors, went under after he agreed to sell his parking lot for the city to build a street. At first Litfin liked the idea of downsizing: He planned to have one auto bay and open a hamburger shop, advertising as “Hubcaps and Hamburgers” so people could grab a burger and watch mechanics repair cars. But the idea never took hold. Once the street was built, the lack of parking took customers away from his auto repair shop and Litfin asked the city to buy his building.

Once the building was acquired, city officials needed to figure out what to do with it. No one’s sure but most believe it was Kurt Olsen, the tall soft-spoken 59-year-old director of the Lincoln City Urban Renewal Agency, who first proposed to build a glass foundry. In 2000, Lincoln City had put 2,000 glass floats on the beach as a tourist draw. The glass floats had attracted lots of visitors but the idea was expensive; since there was no foundry in town they were buying the floats elsewhere.

Having a foundry, though, wasn’t as innovative as what came next. “We were the first business to blow your own floats,” says Howard. “Now all the other glass blowers on the Coast are doing it.”



0 #1 Correction to your opening paragraphJDaschel 2011-03-28 09:16:13
There are at least 2 resident families in Lincoln City who drive electric vehicles, we own one of them. We are supporters of the EV charging stations not because we need them (we charge in our garages) but because there will be a large influx of EV-owners in the Willamette Valley in the next couple years, who will need a place for charging when they enjoy the coast. We welcome them to Lincoln City!
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Cathleen Shea
0 #2 Cathleen Shea 2011-03-29 17:31:11
NW Natural Gas awarded Lincoln City the "First Smart Energy City" award in April 2010.

The EPA rated Lincoln City a "Green Power Community" in 2009; one of only eight cities, nationwide, at the time.

City-Data.com says the median household income in Lincoln City was $6695 in 2008. The median salary for Oregon was over $50711.

QualityInfo.org, Oregon Employment Dept’s website, talks about wage inequality in Oregon. They say out of the $63 billion dollars earned in Oregon in 2009, much of that money went to high wage earners vs. minimum wage earners. A different story than Ms. Margulis' article begins to emerge.

COLA increases on my pension are 2-3% per year. Maybe 17% over the mentioned time span. Am I better off? What about the cost of inflation compared to salary increases?

What about infrastructure? Mr. Hawker threatened to cut off the water to five families on city water because "it's too expensive to repair the line that runs in front of their homes." God save anyone trying to run a business from their home when the water gets cut off.

There are a lot of "neat" projects that have been done in town. They are scattered projects that show no specific goal to the commitment of the long term needs of this city -- needs like a water system that doesn’t lose 30% of its water between the plant and the faucet.

If we keep talking about the surface things that draw people to this town, but do not address the needs of the full time citizens. There will be no town to visit for a vacation.

Thanks for writing the article. It made look up real facts about my town.
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