LINCOLN COUNTY, Ore. (KPTV) - A proposal to phase out short-term vacation rentals on the Oregon coast is pitting neighbor against neighbor.
The controversial ballot measure, 21-203, will appear on the November ballot for voters in Lincoln County. If approved, the measure would phase out short-term rentals in residential zones in unincorporated parts of the county over a five-year period.
Although vacation rentals have been a part of the coastal landscape for years, people who live next to those homes say they've become problematic, and a nuisance to neighbors.
"Party houses. Garbage. Excess parking. Parking on neighbors' properties," said Roger Keehn, who lives in Waldport.
In addition to irritating neighbors, Linda Keehn, said short-term rentals have also cut into the county's housing stock.
"Short term rentals are a direct component of why we have housing shortages. The housing shortages are impacting our ability to have nurses, doctors, hygienists, teachers, other providers of service to come and live in our county," said Linda Keehn.
But those who oppose the ballot measure argue that short-term rentals are an important contributor to the county's economy.
"During COVID-19 in the spring, there was a shutdown of vacation rentals for two months, and it plunged this county into Great Depression-Era unemployment," said Heather Brann, who owns a vacation rental in the small community of Otis, just north of Lincoln City.
Opponents of the ballot measure estimate short-term rentals provide close to 4,000 jobs and contribute more than $10 million to county coffers through taxes.
The bill's supporters call those numbers exaggerated, and argue that it's hard to differentiate the tax revenue generated by short-term rentals from the revenue generated by other tourism-based taxes and fees.