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A Solution in Search of a Problem



1. Just because someone operates a vacation rental at their rural (2.5 acre) home, doesn't mean that it is marring the neighborhood, or creating a safety hazard.  In fact, it appears that a small pond, gazebo, fire pit, and pasture filled with wildflowers and honeybee boxes would be an improvement to many rural areas.  The neighbors should appreciate that Ms. Malnick doesn't park abandoned vehicles and other trash in her yard—that would be a real cause for complaints.

[Having] two rooms for rent (probably one third the actual number) results in far more than 2,427 nights of rentals (52 wks x 1/3rd x 2 nights/weekend x 70 rentals =).  At an average of $90/night, this represents: (1) $218,430 additional income to Deschutes County residents, (2) $21,843 additional funds for the City and County from the 10 percent room tax (if they enforced the law), and (at least $50/day per guest x 2,427 x 2) $121,350 income to other Deschutes County businesses that those visitors spend.

3. I suggest that the Central Oregon Visitor’s Association, Bend Chamber of Commerce and or the Bend Visitor and Convention Bureau have, or should evaluate the contribution of vacation rentals to the local economy.

4. I agree that the City and County should enforce the requirement to register and pay the room tax. That should certainly pay for a reasonable enforcement of regulations to ensure public safety. However, regulations should be proportionate to the risk. I can't imagine anyone not washing their sheets between guests; they certainly wouldn't do it for family members and they wouldn't be in business long if they didn't maintain a clean and sanitary environment.

5. Not having the minimum number to require B&B registration is not an effort to “skirt the rules,” as the author contends but either reflects a lack of sufficient space for compliance with the rules.

6. The writer seems to have found a problem that doesn't exist.  Had there been complaints by injured or sickened guests or other serious problems, I'm confident the writer would have found and reported them.  In their absence, the article appears to be an effort to blow a minor concern into a major public health and enforcement issue.  The environmental health specialist quoted noting that the City and County “have better things to do than run around and try to find all of them . . .” makes a good point.  If a problem develops then it should be addressed, but not before.

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