Airbnb growing in Portland, still illegal

One of the spots available in Airbnb Portland, June 6, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
One of the spots available in Airbnb Portland, June 6, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Three months ago, Airbnb announced they would bring headquarters and 160 jobs to Portland. Their site offers 1600 short-term rental rooms in the city.

And right now, all of them are illegal.

The Portland City Council once again delayed a vote making a room rental legal, but they’re not going to start handing out fines.

The council realizes they need to get a handle on this and regulate it — soon.

“I think it’s very important,” said Andre Baugh, the Planning and Sustainability Commission Chair. “We have a set of businesses that are operating, really, illegally in the city of Portland.

Linda Fitzgerald is one of dozens of people who rent rooms at their home and testified to the city council this week.

“I’d like to be legal. I really would,” she said.

City staff told KOIN 6 News they expect the council to approve new regulations soon, but said the growth of this type of business really took them by surprise. They want to be sure they get it right instead of rushing it through.

“This industry is growing across the country and around the world and there is very little regulatory history to look at everything,” Baugh said.

The new regulations under consideration would require people who want to rent rooms to pay $180 to get a permit and have the room inspected by the city.

It would not allow short-term rentals in multi-family units like apartments or condos.

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