CANNON BEACH — Greg Swedenborg, a hotelier and president of the Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce board, has announced his intention to run for City Council.
A Cannon Beach native and co-owner of The Waves Oceanfront Lodging, Swedenborg decided to run after feeling the business community and working families needed a stronger voice.
“I care about the people and businesses in this city, and I think I could add to the discussion,” Swedenborg said.
Swedenborg will join Robin Risley and incumbent Mike Benefield in vying for two council seats in the November election.
If elected, Swedenborg would focus on promoting sustainable tourism, affordable housing and addressing parking issues. He advocates for more private and public cooperation to address the affordable housing shortage, like supporting tax rebates, providing land at a lower cost to those intending to build affordable homes or other solutions that don’t involve the city being a landlord.
“I can draw on feedback from a staff of employees who haven’t necessarily felt represented in the topic of affordable housing, as it keeps going on for years without any action,” Swedenborg said.
He would also make parking and overcrowding issues a priority. Swedenborg has long been an advocate for instituting a food and beverage tax and installing paid parking mechanisms in city-owned parking lots to generate more revenue for the city.
“The current council has a lot of projects and good ideas,” Swedenborg said, “but there’s no funding to address these issues. I don’t know what the answer is, but you can’t do anything without money.”
While a majority of the city’s budget is supported by lodging tax revenue, these measures would be a way to offset costs incurred from people who take day trips to Cannon Beach and put pressure on city services, Swedenborg said.
“I want to keep Cannon Beach a sleepy and small town, but the fact we’re the closest beach town sitting next to Portland, which has doubled in size in the last 10 years, is not going to change,” Swedenborg said. “To be able to address the volume of people that come here, we need to make steps to manage that future but also respect the (town’s) past.”
Before taking over operations at The Waves, Swedenborg worked in Los Angeles, California, and Bend in technology sales and management with Hewlett-Packard. Swedenborg believes he will draw from his experiences collaborating with a large staff of employees and budget management in both the tech and hospitality sectors to problem solve on the City Council.