I want the best for Manzanita.

Thank You from the Kuestners

November 5, 2022

With Election Day almost here, I, along with Linda, Murphy and Malcolm, want to thank all of the people who made my campaign for City Council possible. Thanks also to everyone who has spoken with me as I’ve knocked on your doors, or has contacted me on my website, responded to my U.S. mail letter, stopped me at the grocery store to chat, or called me on the phone to let me know what’s on your mind. I appreciate all your time and interest in how to make Manzanita the best place for all of us.

I urge everyone to vote and encourage you to cast that vote for me for Manzanita City Council.

We are grateful to live in this beautiful place and in this engaged community.

Mark Kuestner

Mark, Linda, Murphy and Malcolm (clockwise)

Hard Decisions for the New City Council

November 1, 2022

Manzanita’s new City Council members take office in January 2023 and will immediately face decisions that will shape our town for years to come.

My long-term interest and involvement in our town both in local organizations and city government has prepared me to face these challenges head on.

The decisions made will call for hard choices as we weigh Manzanita livability issues vs. our need for revenue stability. They include:

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League of Women Voters Candidate Questions

October 29, 2022

Three questions were posed for all candidates to answer. You can review the responses at Vote411. Enter your address to get your personalized voting information.

Read my responses

Safe Access for All

October 27, 2022

I’ve spoken with residents who aren’t able to join many of the activities we often take for granted. Imagine not being able to attend Muttzanita’s beach games, or participate in a beach cleanup activity, or even attend the Farmer’s Market, because the ground is not stable enough to navigate. There’s an affordable product that allows safe access for everyone to beaches and areas with rough ground: Mobi Mats.

I contacted the Lincoln City Visitor Center recently to learn how we could follow their lead, buy and install the Mobi Mats here in Manzanita. Many communities up and down the coast are now using these mats.

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October 23, 2022

Our Manzanita City Council is composed of five virtually equal volunteer positions: a mayor, and four city councilors. It’s a great example of a team working toward a common goal. Our community benefits when that team is in sync.

Each council member has one vote on any issue that comes before them. A majority vote is necessary to pass legislation.

I’m asking you to give me a seat at the City Council team table by voting for me in November.

By now we all know many of the issues that are facing Manzanita and its citizens. The question you need to ask when you receive your ballot is “Who will make the team better and be able to help that team move forward?”

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Explaining Manzanita’s Transient Lodging Tax

October 20, 2022

I’ve been hearing many questions about our Transient Lodging Tax (TLT). It is confusing, and I hope this helps to clarify what is collected and how it can be used.

Manzanita had been collecting 7% Transient Lodging Tax (TLT) since the 1990s, prior to the implementation of state ordinance ORS 320.350 in 2003. Because Manzanita was already collecting this tax, it is ‘grandfathered’ and we are able to keep 100% of those funds for general government purposes.

In 2012, Manzanita increased the TLT from 7% to 9%. However, since ORS 320.350 was in effect, the city can use only 30% of that new revenue for general government purposes; the remaining 70% must be used for “tourism promotion or tourism-related facilities”.

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Community Matters: Volunteerism Makes Manzanita Work!

October 18, 2022

A few months after we moved to Manzanita full-time, we attended Mark Beach’s popular class on local history. One session focused on volunteerism. Mr. Beach asked everyone who volunteered in the area to stand up. We were some of the few still seated…he remembered that we were new to town, pointed to us and said, “You get one year…”

He was quite right! By the same time next year, we were immersed in volunteer activities for several organizations. This video shares a fun story about one of those opportunities, working with Lee Hiltenbrand at our Library.

I’ve enjoyed working on several Library book sales over the years, and I’m proud to share Madeline Olson’s endorsement with you.

I ask for your vote on November 8.

Beyond Workforce Housing

October 16, 2022

I had a wide-ranging phone discussion with the Mayor of Yachats, Leslie Vaaler, a few weeks ago about issues facing small coastal communities like Manzanita. One of the issues she mentioned was the existence of people without homes in Yachats. She estimated there are probably fewer than thirty unhoused individuals in Yachats, some of whom work in local businesses but have to sleep in their vehicles. Many are passing through on highway 101 and stop off along the way. Yachats has a Food Pantry to help with food and some community members want to use city resources to help those without homes. Others in the community don’t want to use city funds in this way, fearing that the presence of those without homes might “ruin the city”.

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Underhill Plaza

October 13, 2022

Underhill Plaza has a lot going for it and will be an excellent location for our City Hall. I can envision a park-like setting as part of our new City Facilities: the Farmers Market on Friday evenings, concerts on Sunday afternoons, community gardens to grow fresh foods, and families enjoying outdoor picnics any day of the week.

It is the largest emergency assembly area in Manzanita, and I strongly advocate for adequate open space at Underhill Plaza to accommodate evacuees.

Read more and watch my video

Solving Problems

October 11, 2022

We’ve all been hearing about the “problems with Short-Term Rentals” for a while now. I think we all agree that there are legitimate concerns about livability, noise, lighting, crowds, traffic…

However, I’ve been finding that there’s a lot of anecdotes but not enough data. I know from my career in academia that you cannot solve a problem without truly understanding it. For instance, when I met with Manzanita Police Chief Harth recently, I asked him what proportion of their calls were STR related. He said they have no way to know that. They might see a sign posted when they arrive, but that is not data that is tracked. So how do we KNOW noise issues are from STR guests?

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Community Matters: Emergency Preparedness

October 9, 2022

The tornado that struck Manzanita in 2016 made a lasting impact on many of us. Not only was the destruction immediate and significant, but our community’s response to it was similarly immediate and significant. For me it was an eye-opening introduction to the Emergency Volunteer Corps of Nehalem Bay (EVCNB). My wife, Linda and I were so impressed with the EVCNB efforts to teach our community about preparedness, we immediately became volunteers in their “Prepare Your Neighborhood” program.

Since the tornado, Linda and I got serious about making sure we are ready if and when another disaster strikes. We have GoBags for ourselves and our dogs, and we’ve stored gallons of water and other supplies to help us live “off the grid” for at least 30 days.

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Community Matters: Wonder Garden

October 7, 2022

The Hoffman Center for the Arts Wonder Garden has given me the perfect outlet to combine my passions for gardening and community service.

Watch my video to hear my thoughts on volunteerism.

I’m proud to work on this public garden with director Ketzel Levine and am even more proud to share her endorsement with you. I ask for your vote on November 8.

Why Manzanita Needs Revenue Diversification

October 5, 2022

These three charts illustrate sharply how dependent Manzanita is on Transient Lodging Taxes (TLT) to fund our government expenses, in large part due to our very low property tax rate.

Figure 1 shows property tax rates for selected cities: all have higher property tax rates than Manzanita. Figure 2 shows how reliant Manzanita is on visitors to fund general government operations. Figure 3 shows all revenues for FY2021, highlighting how disproportionate the TLT component is.

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Shout Out to Manzanita City Staff

October 3, 2022

Manzanita depends on volunteers to help run our city. Not only are our City Councilors and Mayor volunteers, but the Planning Commission, the Short Term Rental Committee, the Budget Committee and other ad hoc groups all are made up of volunteers. We are able to function as a city so well, because these dedicated volunteers are supported by a skilled and dedicated professional city staff.

We are incredibly lucky to have a talented and energetic Manzanita City Manager in Leila Aman. She in turn, has a staff to be proud of:

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Workforce Housing

September 29, 2022

When I think about saying “Let’s go out for dinner,” I’m reminded that so many restaurants have scaled back their operations. The crux of this issue is that we just don’t have places where workers can afford to live.

What can we do about this? Read more

Livability: Pedestrian Safety & Traffic Concerns

September 26, 2022

I’ve been going door-to-door to find out what’s on the minds of Manzanita voters. One of the most commonly voiced issues is concern for street safety for pedestrians and how many bad drivers there are!

Manzanita is a community that loves to walk! We walk with our spouses, with our neighbors, alone, and with our dogs. We meet friends as we walk on our beautiful beach, we get our daily steps in by using the wonderful bike/pedestrian path in our state park, or—for the more adventurous of us—we hike on the new hiking trail that connects to Neahkahnie Mountain.

Read more and watch my video

Livability: Visitor Impacts

September 23, 2022

I have been going door to door asking voters what they love about their community and what challenges they believe it faces. I’m hearing a lot about Short-Term Rentals (STRs) and tourism impacts.

Local historian Mark Beach lectures in his popular local history class (which he is offering again this January!), that Manzanita was built as a summer getaway. Many of us call Manzanita home because we were visitors here at one time and decided that we love the natural beauty of our forests, ocean, and landscape. Still more have opened up their homes as STRs to bridge the affordability gap to make their long-term dream of living in Manzanita possible. Some citizens are worried to see the streets where they live have more transient housing than full-time residents.

The concerns are real. Read more

Community Matters: Pine Grove

September 21, 2022

Last night we attended the newly-returned monthly Pine Grove members’ potluck. After Covid-19 stopped indoor events, the nonprofit Pine Grove Community House had to stop many of its community-oriented activities like the regular membership potlucks. They also had to stop renting the space which is their primary source of funding. It has been a difficult couple of years for the organization.

The social hour allowed us to meet new friends and catch up on summer news with old friends. Then we all dug into an amazing array of foods from many family traditions, finishing off with a particularly delicious Apple Brown Betty (among many other tasty sweets).

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Let's Talk About Livability

September 19, 2022

The topic of livability seems to crop up in every conversation regarding the future of our village. Livability means different things to each person. As I go door-to-door, I hear concerns about pedestrian safety, short-term rental and tourism impacts, parks, trails and trees, housing that’s affordable, and accessibility.

There are many threads that make up the fabric of “livability”. The challenge facing us is to create ordinances, rules, and laws that make sense, are realistic, are legally enforceable and will have impact for today and the future.

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Listening is a Loaded Word

September 15, 2022

My wife and I are “doers.” We volunteer in our community to get stuff done. We often quote a line from a favorite movie, “Talkin’ ain’t doin’!” However, I firmly believe that listening is “doing.” How can you make a valid decision until you’ve listened to everyone? Until we actually “hear” someone’s ideas, we can’t know where they are coming from. As I meet voters and hear their concerns, I find I am grateful for the opportunity to broaden my viewpoint by having these conversations.

However, taking time to listen to others and to hear where they’re coming from does not mean we will agree. “Being heard” should not be confused with “I agree with you”. We are all individuals so the odds are good that even after we’ve heard each other out, we may arrive at separate solutions to our problems. In this community of spirited individuals we need to be able to move ahead with actions and policies needed to run Manzanita, knowing some of us may be disappointed by particular details.

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Fall is in the Air

September 12, 2022

I was reminded that Fall is almost here as I took down the canopy and folded the table from the final Master Gardener Association booth at the Manzanita Farmers Market on Friday. As I’ve done for many years now, I thought back on the summer’s garden question highlights. While It was a lot of work, I’m going to miss hosting the booth at the Market, and having the opportunity to connect with Manzanita citizens, other locals and visitors alike.

The conversations I’ve had with a variety of people — voters, county residents and regular visitors — have clearly outlined to me what is on people’s minds and what thoughts they have about possible solutions.

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Mark your ballot for "Kuestner"

September 6, 2022

My name is Mark Kuestner and I’m running for Manzanita City Council. I have been visiting Manzanita voters at their homes to be sure I hear the topics that concern our citizens most.

There are many important civic and fiscal issues under consideration right now, from long-overdue revisions of the Comprehensive Plan, finding new municipal revenue sources, to restructuring Short-Term Rentals in our community. We have an opportunity for discussions, to listen to each other, and to come together to find solutions to our problems. Each and everyone of us needs to participate in this process. This is why I’ve selected “Act together. Shape our future.” as the guiding principles of my campaign.


Tillamook Pioneer Interview: Mark Kuestner running for Manzanita City Council, looks to update comprehensive plan and work towards sustainability

September 4, 2022

Mark Kuestner is running for Manzanita City Council. He was kind enough to sit down with me to discuss his platform, his background, and his hopes for the future of Manzanita.

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Mark Kuestner for Manzanita City Council

August 27, 2022

This is a pivotal point in time for Manzanita. We need to come together and focus to:

  • Revise Manzanita’s Comprehensive Plan to meet community needs.

  • Implement recommendations to minimize short-term rental impacts on residential neighborhoods.

  • Identify alternative revenue sources to reduce the City’s dependency on visitors to fund basic city services.

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