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Short-term rental regulations repealed by commissioners posted on 10/01/2022

The short-term rental (STR) regulations for unincorporated Clackamas County were repealed by the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) by a vote of three to two at the Thursday, Sept. 8 meeting.

Commissioners Martha Schrader, Mark Shull and Chair Tootie Smith voted in favor of the repeal, while Commissioners Sonya Fischer and Paul Savas voted against the motion.

The BCC delayed implementing a registration fee to fund the two full-time county employees needed to run the STR program since the regulations were adopted in July 2021. As a result, Clackamas County Counsel urged the BCC to repeal the regulations due to the fact that they are currently unenforceable.

“County Counsel has proposed that we get this off our books … and not give people the false sense that this code provision is in play, because it is not if it is not funded, there’s no application fee, there’s no enforcement mechanism, there’s no staff committed to reviewing any of the provisions,” Clackamas County Counsel Stephen Madkour said.

“My biggest concern is that leaving it on right now without funding just doesn’t make sense to me. We need to figure out a way to fund it. I’d appreciate my colleagues having continued discussions about it,” Commissioner Schrader said.

The program was initially designed to be funded by a biannual registration fee of approximately $800-900. This fee has met with resistance from the BCC.

The regulations were originally drafted over a three-year process of public outreach and work by the Clackamas County Planning and Zoning Division. Commissioner Fischer noted that the vast majority of the testimony from the public over the course of the process describes STRs as having a negative impact on livability in the Mount Hood communities and calls for county regulation.

Only one member of the community gave testimony at the final hearing.

“We have no recourse. We’re trying to get you to help us with this. We need that help,” stated Richard Harris regarding his ongoing issues with a neighboring STR.

“Too many people have invested a lot of time on this. The impression would be that we’re walking away, and I just can’t support that,” Commissioner Savas said.

County counsel stated that the regulations will remain available and can be reassessed at a later date if the BCC agrees upon a manner for funding the regulations.

“If the board has any desires to resurrect and implement it, it’s well thought out, it’s well drafted, it’s a good code it just isn’t in operation right now,” Madkour said.

Chair Smith stated that if other members of the commission can create a set of regulations that don’t cost any money from the general fund, she would be willing to address the issues of the community members in the Mount Hood area impacted by unregulated STRs.

“It’s a matter of practicality. If they have a house up there it’s their private property right to be able to rent it out,” Smith stated.

The regulations will be off the books 90 days after the board’s vote.

More information regarding the final hearing is available online at https://www.clackamas.us/meetings/bcc/business.

By Ben Simpson/MT

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