The Short Term Rental Advocacy Center (STRAC), a coalition of short-term rental companies, owners/hosts and short-term rental advocates is in the process of working on a strategy for managing vacation rentals in Bend.
Bend City Council recruited the task force reacting to neighbor complaints about vacation rentals including noise, parking and rental signs posted on the property. Some residents believe that the entire vacation rental option is degrading neighborhood livability.
However, vacation rentals play a strong role in Bend’s tourism economy and here is a member of the task force comments.
The following is commentary from Sue Carrington, owner of Bend Dutch Vacation Rentals, INC.
The Vacation Rental (VR) presence is practically null except for summer months when they largely sit empty. So if there is a continual parking problem and ongoing noise concern for 12 months, why is that something that VR has to have Reactional Regulation pinned to them? Let’s address the long term rentals (that presently are not housing students by the way) and how many cars they have parked in front of their rentals. I recently looked at the noise complaints, they go all year round and few from VRs.
How did we become the bad guy? VRs have been around since the ’80s and beyond. Here’s my comments to the complaining parties about VRs.
They have been quietly housing your friends and your grandparents who are visiting in the summer and during holidays. They have been housing your friends who came in for your weddings. Did you have a fire or flood in your home? Where do you think these folks stayed while their homes were being repaired for months at a time. I will answer “a VR!”
Guess where folks who come in for medical treatment stay– a VR. These short term rentals serve other stays for folks that came in that you did not know about, not as tourists. And guess what, those folks spent an average of $127 per day per person during their stay. That money went to our neighbor’s businesses, parking permits, rentals of sports equipment, gas stations and numerous Brew Pubs, etc.– all that keep this city ticking. More money was brought in via the TRT income for your police, fireman, 911 services and the arts. Remember the big picture, VR provides over 22 percent of tourism dollars per year.
Remember when we had some very tough times during the recession? How many homes were foreclosed? Some of those homes were purchased and upgraded to bring your property values up in high measure to act as a VR until the owner retires to come home to Bend to be lucky like the rest of us! Some other homes were converted to a VR instead of being foreclosures, which held your property value as well.
Growth is hard on our town. It is hard to look at the river that was once illegal to float and see it now as a water freeway of people. It is very hard to see a quiet street suddenly become variety of eating and drinking establishments and make parking impossible for residents. It is difficult to see new hotels pop up and take down many trees that graced our streets. I want it to hold to what I know and came here for. We cannot stop it but we can do our best to adapt. Do not make the VR be the culprit. Certainly address the poorly run VR, certainly set up some rules and regulations for considerate and respectful behavior. We cannot villainize the VR, that is the tail wagging the dog.
Parking is non-existent for the Old Mill homes, there are barely any garages or driveways. That is a problem for parking period. Perhaps make parking on one side of the street only or make the street one ways. Don’t blame it on the VR because we have strict dialogues and rules about the parking. Question: Do long term rentals have any those rules? Perhaps it is time for that to change.
We now have a list of existing VR permits and many of them are inaccurate as the list has not been updated for a while. There are many blanks. It would be constructive to see the actual “live” TRT reports to fully understand the functioning VRs. There have been many new permits added by private owners. This will be our opportunity to cultivate them to the correct way of running a VR in Bend. I suspect that after eight to nine months of no consistent bookings we will see some of these homes convert to some long term rentals or have a real estate sign in the yard.
Let’s make this an opportunity to set up some regulations and be ahead of the process for proper management. For goodness sake do not fix something that is not broken. Do not fix something that does not require a new building, tearing down trees, taking down historic Bungalows and does nothing but improve and bring in dollars into Bend.