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Letters to the Editor for March 19

Short term rentals

Hood River is contemplating banning short term rentals (STRs). Let’s look at the consequences of their misguided attempt to make this a happier community in which to live.

Human nature says homeowners will rent their homes out anyway. Go under the table. An unreasonable law doesn’t need to be followed, I’m not hurting anybody, it’s my house, I’ll do what I want to. The only way to get caught is if the neighbor turns me in. Nothing says community happiness like ratting out your neighbor to the city cops!

The city can hire a compliance officer, his only job to ferret out the scofflaws and fine them for letting a happy tourist sleep in your bed.

Congratulations, the city has created one job and eliminated over 300 jobs. Gone from making thousands of people happy to making one compliance officer as unpopular as the parking meter guy. Went from collecting millions of tourist dollars, to losing $60K plus bennies for another government bureaucrat.

This is as crazy as 1920s Prohibition. It cost millions to enforce, didn’t stop people from drinking, and made everybody unhappy. And was finally repealed.

Please write your letter to the city and tell them to stop passing regulations that prohibit homeowners from legally rent their homes to our summer guests.

Suzi Frederickson

Hermiston

Short term vacation rentals (STRs) create personal success stories. We are sharing our homes in a sharing community, in a town that we love. Allow individuals to pay bills, manage finances, and save for the future. You never know what tomorrow may bring! What if … you lost your job? What if you couldn’t do what you are doing today? Do you really want to close the door on an opportunity that might still allow you to remain independent? Create an income for yourself? Allow you to keep your home?

Take care of your family?

Technologies exist that allow us to take care of homes, earn money and cultivate community while sharing homes with respectful families. We have a system in place that works. Let’s collaborate and embrace options and solutions for families that provide win-win scenarios. No monies or contracts are exchanged at our vacation homes. Most contacts are by mail, email or phone. We take care of our guests as they come and go, as families do in the course of a day or a week or so. This is a shared economy. No big business. This is personal.

Keep it simple. Make it fair. For those of us that have been doing this and wish to continue to do so should be grandfathered. We know what we are doing. We know who our guests are. We know what to expect and what the responsibilities are. Let’s collaborate when setting rules and regulations to manage a shared experience by guests in our neighborhoods. It is our neighborhood too, by the way.

We are productive citizens paying our taxes to the city, county, state, and feds. We are taking care of families and friends. We are upgrading and maintaining homes and neighborhoods. We are being considerate of our neighbors by taking care of garbage, mowing lawns, weeding flower beds, shoveling sidewalks, putting up Christmas lights, and keeping our neighborhoods clean and safe.

Caring is sharing.

Peg Leslie

Hood River

I am absolutely appalled and angry that, in spite of the voluminous opposition, the restrictions of short term rentals (STRs) is still being considered. What arrogance of the council for imposing their will on the residents and visitors of Hood River.

I bought a duplex in Hood River four years ago so that I could spend three to four months a year to visit my family. For the rest of the year, I make my flat available for friends, family and STRs. All these visitors spend time and money in Hood River, benefiting the community.

Am I now expected to leave my flat empty, to no one’s benefit? Or is there an ulterior motive to ban people like myself from owning property in Hood River? Who then has the “right” to live in Hood River?

Only those selected and vetted by the council, like some exclusive club?

Chris Sweeting

Hong Kong

Re: Planning and zoning staff report (The Emperor Has No Clothes).

I took the several hours necessary to go through the staff report upon which city council and planning and zoning relies. There is no data whatsoever on the tourism sector of Hood River. Jobs which “they” wish to attract are a wish list lifted from a government publication, not actual jobs available here. There is repeated reference to a comprehensive plan written in the ‘80s which mentions “small town charm.” There may have been some small town charm at one time. If it existed at all it is just a memory. Planning and zoning has okayed huge subdivisions, hotel expansion and waterfront development.

There is a festival, race or other large event taking place every other week here. Still they leap forward to the conclusion that getting rid of STRs are the top priority. Planning and zoning and city council should be ashamed of themselves. Government regulation is only valid if there is a proven palpable harm to citizens. Citizens who rent their homes to vacationers are being unfairly targeted. They are angry because they know government is not doing its job. Planning and zoning and city council, please use real current data when messing with our lives. If you don’t have it, get it.

Laurie Balmuth

Hood River

We are concerned about the recent changes proposed for STRs. We are homeowners in Hood River who rent out our townhouse on a short term basis. Our plan is to retire in Hood River in the next 10 years. We purchased our home, a second home, in 2006, with the idea that this would allow us to come to Hood River more frequently and become more connected to the place and community that we love. STRs support tourism and other related businesses in Hood River.

If STRs are severely limited as is being proposed, it will have a negative impact on the economy of Hood River and the livelihood of the people, like ourselves who have second homes. The correlation between STRs and the lack of affordable housing is not backed up by facts. Our home would not be affordable housing if it was put into a yearly rental pool. If we couldn’t use our home for our own use regularly, we would put it on the market and the selling price would not qualify it as an affordable home.

The restrictions that are being proposed will do nothing to create more affordable housing. We disagree with the current proposal for licensing after five years of “grandfathering” with very limited licenses subject to a lottery. We disagree with spacing STRs one per city block, especially in areas that already have multifamily units and townhouses.

There are more direct, practical and potentially successful ways to impact affordable housing. Offering incentives to builders, creating a special tax on rental properties and STRs that would go toward an affordable housing pool are a few of the ideas that can be implemented if we work together rather than create an oppositional climate.

Gail Karvonen

Joe Alexander

Hood River

Caution needed

Driver, was that you?

This is to the driver that almost hit me in a well-marked crosswalk across from Rosauers grocery store. One lane of traffic was stopped for me to cross and you, sir, went around them and did not stop.

If I did not have good reflexes, you would have hit me. Most school kids run across a crosswalk. You would have hit them or even worse, a mother pushing a baby stroller. You must have missed this on your driver’s test. This happened on Thursday the 10th of March, in the late afternoon.

Dennis Cullington

Hood River

‘Donk-ephant’

You’ll be able to better understand the presidential candidate’ positions on various issues if you look at the party mascots.

The Republicans have Dumbo and the Democrats a jackass.

Jerry Giarraputo

Hood River

Representation

Last August I received a letter from the IRS stating they had made a significant mistake in calculating my taxes and that they were going to send me a refund. After six months with no refund nor communication from the IRS, I contacted Sen. Wyden’s and Rep. Walden’s offices for help.

Sen. Wyden responded within a week. He assigned Jocelyn Tyree, one of his staff, to help me resolve this issue. Within a few days, she was able to tell me what the problem was and what information the IRS needed to resolve it.

I was never asked about my party affiliation. The personalized support was given just because I am an Oregonian and needed help.

Even though I am not a democrat, Sen. Wyden has always had my support because he is a man of integrity who truly represents the interests and values of Oregon.

Greg Walden, on the other hand, I never heard from him or his office. So who does he represent?

Glen Patrizio

Hood River

Not THAT duck

Whether you love him, like him, hate him, despise him, have you noticed whenever the Washington Deceivers fling arrows of accusation at Trump, it merely re-energizes and re-strengthens his supporters? So next time, be sure to watch closely as the D.C. arrows once again head for the D.T. target. No doubt, you’ll dee Donald duck.

Bill Davis

Hood River

Disagrees

Concerning “Saving our snowpack requires fossil-free economic engines” by Steve Ghan in the Hood River News (March 16), I respond: I agree that we had a meager snowpack last year and that it was warmer here last year. But climate is primarily caused by solar activity and only minimally by carbon dioxide (CO2). So taxing and limiting fossil fuel would be very costly and be ineffective in changing the climate.

Thus, saving our snowpack does not require fossil-free economic engines.

Donald Rose, MD

Hood River



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