Central Oregon Daily▶️ Deschutes Co. commissioners to discuss lack of short-term rental regulation

▶️ Deschutes Co. commissioners to discuss lack of short-term rental regulation

▶️ Deschutes Co. commissioners to discuss lack of short-term rental regulation

Deschutes County

Short term rentals are popular here in Central Oregon, whether they’re through Airbnb or VRBO, there are thousands of spaces available to rent for a short getaway. 

Deschutes County says there are more than 3,200 short-term rental units outside of the incorporated cities of Bend, Redmond, Sisters and La Pine. But the county has no regulations on these spaces — regulations that could prevent adverse impacts on the neighborhood.

“In Bend, for example, they require that the short term rental owner has a property manager that is available 24/7. So if there is problematic behavior, people in that neighborhood can call the property manager,” Deschutes County Commissioner Phil Chang said.

The cities also regulate noise, the number of renters in a single unit and the number of spaces a land owner can build in a certain vicinity. The county has none of that. 

“I‘ve been hearing from constituents in the Sisters area, the Redmond area and south county as well about short-term rentals,” Chang said.

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Les Adams lives southeast of Sunriver. He also lives near several short-term rentals. Adams says the lack of regulations has led to nuisances such as noise complaints and building code violations. Another problem is safety.

“This owner put a fire pit in the backyard that’s full of two-year-old, dry wood chips. So it’s a significant fire hazard,” Adams said. “It does not at all comply with La Pine Fire District’s regulations. Any fire in that fire pit is illegal. Especially when we see fires that are five, six or seven-feet high when there are burn restrictions. It really scares us as neighbors in a densely wooded area.”

With no regulations in place, there is not much Adams or his neighbors can do.

“We just don’t have much recourse for any of these concerns beyond calling the sheriff’s department non-emergency number or the fire district themselves to have somebody come out. It’s really poor use of a law enforcement officer’s time,” Adams said.

Deschutes County Commissioner Tony DeBone questions whether this is a large enough issue to implement regulations throughout the entire county.

“I don’t have clarity or motivation at this point in time unless there’s a good justification,” DeBone said. “So is this a neighbor impact? A neighbor-to-neighbor relationship issue? Some of the worst things you have to deal with. I can’t fix two neighbors that are upset with each other. That’s one of the scenarios. But also the big picture is licensing and opportunity for long term housing for people instead of short-term rentals.”

The plan was to hold several public hearings on whether regulations are a good idea for Deschutes County. Instead, DeBone added the issue to Wednesday morning’s commission meeting. DeBone says it is possible that the effort to regulate short-term rentals in the county will die in the meeting. He welcomes anyone who may have complaints about the current lack of regulations to share their concerns.

The meeting starts at 9:00 a.m. Wednesday at the Deschutes Services Center, 1300 NW Wall Street in Bend.

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