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City Council Work Session on Short-Term Rental Issues Covers a Lot of Ground

Public hearing will continue on July 2 at 2 p.m.

On June 24, City Council held a work session to discuss short-term rental regulations included in the Regulatory Improvement Code Amendment Program (RICAP) 6 package. Commissioners listened to hours of testimony at a June 4public hearing on the proposed zoning code amendments. They continued the hearing to July 2 to hear additional viewpoints and deliberate over potential refinements to the proposed rules.

Short-term rentals, most commonly provided through websites like Airbnb and VRBO, are on the rise in Portland and around the country. Council asked the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability to look at revising the zoning code to more accurately reflect community trends and needs.

During the work session, commissioners discussed a number of permitting issues with staff, such as:

  • Scope and frequency of inspections.
  • Whether nonresidents could operate a short-term rental.
  • Whether the host needed to be present while guests were at the house.

Council also contemplated what types of short-term rentals could qualify for a simpler and less costly permit, including:

  • Dedicated vacation rentals (homes where there is no long-term resident).
  • Three-bedroom facilities (as opposed to the current two-room threshold).
  • Multi-dwelling units (e.g., apartments and condominiums).

Taxing mechanisms and impacts on affordable housing were also discussed.

No decisions or changes to the proposed rules were made. Council will reconvene on Tuesday, July 2 at 2 p.m. to listen to more testimony and deliberate before making a final decision.

The remaining items in RICAP 6, including revisions to cell tower regulations, temporary activities and more, were passed unanimously at the June 4 hearing. They become effective on July 11.