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Bend City Council to take up short-term rental limits, expanded emergency order

Bend City Council
KTVZ
As COVID-19 pandemic worsened in March, Bend City Council held meeting largely by telephone conference call

BEND, Ore, (KTVZ) -- The Bend City Council meets next Wednesday evening, largely in a virtual setting to ensure physical distancing, to take up new limits on short-term rentals, with code enforcement for violators, and an extended, expanded emergency declaration.

The council is limiting public meetings at this time to actions that are essential to maintain current services, are time sensitive, or impact funding.

The meeting will be livestreamed through www.bendoregon.gov/councilagenda, where the agenda is available. Other than the Mayor, Councilors will participate remotely by phone or online. Community members can email council@bendoregon.gov to provide input.

If that is not an option, a community member can attend in person using social distancing measures in Council Chambers at City Hall. Bend Fire & Rescue will be checking temperatures of anyone from the public who needs to attend.

In relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, the council agenda includes a resolution about temporary restrictions on short-term rental properties within the city. The resolution would create enforcement authority over short-term rental operators and customers.  Here is the issue summary.

The governor has encouraged the public to minimize all non-essential travel during the COVID-19 pandemic as part of the statewide strategy to minimize transmission of the disease. The city has similarly discouraged discretionary, non-essential travel to Bend.

"This resolution would restrict renting or occupying certain properties, with certain exceptions for stays based on health, safety, and employment, and establishes a system for enforcement," Friday's announcement said.

The city would depend on code enforcement, not police, for enforcing violations, with possible civil infraction penalties of up to $750 a day for both operators and occupants. As civil infractions, not crimes, any court proceedings would be handled in municipal court.e

Also on the agenda, the City Manager and Bend City Council have extended and expanded a prior March 13 declaration of a Local State of Emergency. The updated declaration can be found here. The emergency declaration allows for temporary emergency policies such as procurement practices, office closures, employee telecommuting, meeting protocols and project and advisory committee meeting cancelations. It also says:

  • The City will not send shut-off notices or shut off water for non-payment of unpaid water bills while this emergency is in place.
  • All permitted special events are cancelled during this emergency, and no new permits will be issued.
  • Some restrictions, processes and fees will be temporarily relaxed to support businesses and those in need of transitional housing. 

The declaration remains in effect until May 6, with possible future extensions.

“The extension of this declaration aligns the city with the State of Oregon,” said City Manager Eric King. “This also recognizes the ever-evolving response to COVID-19 and our need for flexibility during these challenging times.”

Coronavirus / Government-politics / News

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