Think back to the dark days of last spring, when the Lincoln County shut down all short term housing (VRD’s/STR’s). Within days, Lincoln County‘s unemployment shot up to over 30%, the highest of any County in Oregon. Restaurants and shops closed. Some, sadly, never reopened. All of the people and businesses who depend on welcoming visitors to our community were suddenly cut adrift with no lifeline.
Now imagine that as a permanent way of life.
The truth is, STR’s employ 20% of our County’s Workforce, creating 3,600 jobs and $192M per year in wages. STR visitors spend $129M a year in our County, with $27M of that going to our local restaurants. STR owners and managers generate $11.2M year to local government coffers, helping to support emergency services. STR owners spent $3.8M last year to upgrade their properties, thereby improving housing stock throughout the County.
We’ve heard a lot of hyperbole and bluster from 15neighborhoods. But think about what we haven’t heard – their plan to replace this critical segment of the local economy.
These few, vocal out-of-staters could have purchased a home in a gated community that doesn’t allow STRs. There are plenty of those neighborhoods here in the County. Instead, they want the rest of us to pay for their Nimbyism; decimating our local economy so there is no inconvenience to them.
Ask your neighbors. One in five of them is employed in the STR industry. Ask your local restaurants and shop owners if they can stay in business if STRs go away.
The fact is, there has been a sea change in the way people travel. Families no longer wish to stay in hotel rooms without a kitchen or place to gather. With Covid, it is even more critical for these families to safely socially isolate while still enjoying the Coast. Multiple studies show STR travelers will simply vacation elsewhere if STRs are eliminated. As the County goes, so may local cities. Newport is already considering eliminating more of the 176 STRs that still remain in their city.
VIA Oregon supports local jobs, not a ghost town of empty vacation homes. We support good neighbor laws, and a recent study of complaints against STRs in the County enforces the fact that the vast majority of STRs are good neighbors. In fact, many of the recent complaints against STRs were made by ONE person with 15neighborhoods. If you are asked to sign a petition by 15neighborhoods, ask them this: What is your economic plan? Can our County afford to placate a few vocal NIMBYs at the cost of our neighbors and our local economy? The choice is up to you.
Lauri Hines, CCIM, CPM, is the President of Dream Homes of Oregon and the co-founder of VIA Oregon
The above statement about vacation rentals is solely the opinion and views of the writer, and not necessarily the opinions and views of NewsLincolnCounty and its staff. NewsLincolnCounty invites views and opinions on the above subject matter. Send them to News@NewsLincolnCounty.com.