Revised STR Pilot Program Passes at Public Hearing
By Michelle M. Winner
The Board of County Commissioners held the second public hearing on Short-Term Rental (STR) Registration and regulations for Clackamas County during their weekly business meeting on September 7. The stated purpose of Chapter 8.10 of the Clackamas County Code is to regulate STRs to ”enhance public safety and livability” within the unincorporated areas of Clackamas County. The meeting was available to the public in person or by live feed with the opportunity to testify into the record. Most of those in the hearing room were Mount Hood Livability Coalition members.
Ordinance No. 04-2023, adding Chapter 8.10, Short Term Rentals to the County Code, addresses only those STRs within unincorporated Clackamas County. The Mt. Hood communities, which have the highest concentration of STRs, are the most affected. The STR regulations do not apply to hotels, motels, bed and breakfast facilities, hostels, campgrounds, lodging and resort accommodations in commercial zones, recreational vehicle camping facilities, or organizational camps. Revisions to the draft read at the first public hearing on August 10, 2023 were included in this version.
Commissioners Smith, Savas, Shull, West and Schrader voted unanimously to adopt the ordinance as presented. They commented that the program may need adjustments at the end of the two-year pilot project. The effective date is December 6, 2023 and STR registration forms will be online. Find the recorded meetings and the adopted County Code Chapter 8.10, “Short-Term Rentals,” at https://www.clackamas.us/str.
Here are regulation highlights with revisions noted:
All STRs must register. The registration affidavit must be filed by an owner or manager agreeing to compliance with fire, building and safety standards.
STRs must include the registration number on advertisements and booking platforms.
STR regulations impose a .85% user fee on the total rental amount. The Transient Lodging Tax of 6% must also continue to be paid.
Contact info of the owner or manager must be posted outside the home and visible from the street.
Including the owner’s name is no longer required.
The owner or manager must be available to respond to complaints and disturbances 24/7 and remedy them within two hours.
A notice informing occupants of their obligation to abide by the county’s noise control ordinance, Clackamas County Code 6.05. must be posted inside the STR.
STRs must have an off-street parking space for one motor vehicle per sleeping area. Dwellings approved under the “resort accommodations” category in the Rural Tourist Commercial District are exempt.
RTC districts were not exempted in the first version. They are located on Hwy 26 E. from Wemme to Zig Zag, with the most significant number of units in Government Camp.
Vehicles face an immediate tow if they block access for emergency vehicles, access to the premises, or a parked motor vehicle.
If an STR receives the maximum of two written warnings for violations of the county’s noise, parking, or any other non-compliance violation, “formal enforcement actions will be initiated.” Consequences include suspension, revocation of STR registration, and penalty or fine set by the Board of County Commissioners.
Two regulations of particular concern to our mountain residents:
Garbage must be removed from the premises at least once a week. Outdoor receptacles shall be secured to prevent spillage.
Note: Mountain residents and an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife representative testified that garbage put out before the pick-up date conditions the bears to return for food. There is an increased danger of bear and human contact as bear incidents doubled last year in the Mount Hood Corridor. The BCC did not include requiring bear-proof bins.
Clackamas County “encourages” residents to make the first attempt to resolve conflicts directly and to remedy violations by contacting the posted STR representative. The Clackamas County Department of Finance (CCDF) should be notified if there is no response or remedy.
Note: The offices of CCDF, the administrative branch of the STR program, are closed from Friday to Monday when STRs in the mountain area are busiest. Residents testified they did not want to be responsible for contacting occupants directly but needed an immediate response for some issues.