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'Close the beaches!': Seaside man makes request to the governor before Labor Day weekend

Mike Shade has lived in Seaside for over 30 years. He says crowds are raising his community's exposure to COVID-19.

SEASIDE, Ore. — Oregon Governor Kate Brown is asking you to stay close to home this Labor Day weekend to help keep the state's COVID-19 numbers down.

But a man on the coast has requested the governor close Oregon beaches altogether.

Mike Shade has lived in Seaside for over 30 years. And his home feels different these days.

"It's like 4th of July every weekend," said Shade.

He says crowds are raising his community's exposure to COVID-19.

"I just wish people would be a little more serious about it," said Shade. "Remembering the social distancing is number one."

So he's making a bold request to Gov. Kate Brown.

"Close the beaches!"

He hasn't received a response yet - but we asked the question on the KGW Facebook page and got hundreds of responses from people split on the issue.

In Cannon Beach, Bruce's Candy Kitchen is churning out taffy again after temporarily closing because of the pandemic.

"What we do right now gets us through the winter, we've done okay for summer," said owner Susan Truax.

She says customers are down about 25% compared to normal years. She understands the closure request, but hopes beaches stay open.

"People need to go somewhere, and that's the perfect place to social distance," said Truax.

But many can agree on a different problem: crowds and tourists leaving behind more trash and waste than before.

"Just no regard for our state, you wouldn't use the bathroom in your front yard and leave it there," said Justin Aufdermauer with the Tillamook Area Chamber of Commerce.

"The beach is all of ours, it belongs to all of us," said another coast resident. "So the idea that you'd just throw garbage around your own home or yard is just disturbing."

Limited parking and distance requirements in towns can add to tensions.

"We just get maxed out," said Truax.

But ultimately businesses want the support and encourage visitors to be respectful.

"Treat this land like it's your land," said Shade.

He knows his request to close the beaches is big, but says preventing the spread of the coronavirus is his focus.

Shade hopes people with Labor Day travel plans reconsider.

"Just not this weekend is all I ask."

KGW reached out to the governor's office to see if this request is being discussed. They said, in short, no - but they're still urging Oregonians to keep their distance and wear masks.

Here is the full statement, from Charles Boyle, Deputy Communications Director at the Office of Governor Kate Brown:

While there are not currently restrictions to beach access this weekend, we are urging Oregonians to stay local as much as possible this Labor Day weekend to prevent COVID-19 numbers from spiking. To keep our beaches open, people must continue to wear face coverings, watch their physical distance, wash their hands, and avoid large social get-togethers. By working together, we can keep Oregon on the path to reopening more schools for in-person instruction and keeping businesses open.