Airbnb Squeeze

Re: Kate Davidson’s letter (“A Candidate Differs,” 12/12): Ward 2 Council candidate Kate Davidson is an Airbnb host, and has been a leader of the group of short-term rental (STR) owners pressuring the council not to regulate STRs of entire multi-bedroom houses.

My research found at least 300 to 600 such houses in Eugene on Airbnb alone — some with up to six bedrooms, renting for up to $500 a night. We are losing, by the most conservative estimate, at least 1,600 bedrooms that Eugene residents could be living in — a number that will only escalate as 2021 approaches.

Already, Eugene is the No. 1 wish-listed 2020 destination on the West Coast by Airbnb users.  The research I have compiled at RedefiningHome.org includes a link to a map of all the STR sites, compiled by city staff. Many of these houses are owned by outside investors (including dozens by Expedia).

STRs have become an industry that is further depleting the already inadequate amount of housing here, driving up the price of what is left. That is great if you own one or more of these properties. Not so great if you are a person of modest means looking for a place to rent or buy.

I cannot support Davidson and want to urge Eugeneans in Ward 2 who are concerned about the housing crisis to consider her rival, Matt Keating. We need leaders who will put the interests of our whole community ahead of their own, especially on the vital issue of housing.

Sherri Schultz

Eugene