More than a year ago, two Airbnb hosts in Portland began a conversation with City Hall about how to make it easier to share the home in which they live. As a result, last summer, city leaders began the process of reviewing and changing the law. They ensured that residents and local organizations had a seat at the table through numerous community meetings, hearings and work sessions.
Today, the work of these hosts and so many other members of the community resulted in a significant step forward for home sharing in Portland. This morning, the City Council unanimously approved sensible legislation making it easier for many Portlanders to share their homes. We are thrilled that Portland is joining the ranks of innovative cities around the world that are moving forward and embracing the sharing economy. Portland was home to some of the very first Airbnb hosts and staff, and it is only fitting that the city would serve as a leader in the sharing economy.
We’re excited about this important step forward and the opportunities it creates for the community. In the past year, the Airbnb community generated $61 million in economic activity in Portland. Behind this number are hosts like Linda, who starting using Airbnb to supplement her income after her husband passed away, but found that home sharing brought lively conversations back to her breakfast table. Or Maggie who said the income helps her to afford to live close to her children, and allowed her to take her first vacation in a long time. And hosts like Gary, who said his Airbnb income helps him to care for his father and catch up financially after losing his partner to a battle with cancer. Gary takes pride in sharing the gardens his partner planted at their home with guests from around the world.
We still have more work to do. Today’s legislation excludes many residents of multi-family buildings in Portland—a critical part of our community. The Mayor and Portland city leaders have formed a working group to study this issue and we hope this process leads to balanced legislation that makes it possible for every Portlander to share the home in which they live.
Through collaboration, hard work and community engagement, we’ve made incredible progress. We commend the City Council and staff for their diligent work and look forward to working with all stakeholders as this process moves forward.