Open letter to the mayor and council members of the city of Gearhart: My husband and I have owned a home in Gearhart for nearly 20 years. When we purchased our home, Gearhart was relatively unknown. Many home owners rented their homes to friends and relatives, or they used local real estate firms to handle their rentals. 

This system has worked well until recently, when national and international real estate agencies discovered that many Gearhart homeowners were eager to rent their homes non-stop for high rental fees. Because of the abrupt entrance of nationwide rental agencies like Vacasa, the quiet and charm that once graced Gearhart has been interrupted. This situation is not reserved for holidays or weekends, it exists every day during the summer and into autumn. 

We have a short term rental next door to our home, where we have been observing one bunch of renters packing up and leaving in the morning and another group showing up in the late afternoon after the cleaners have come and gone. Traffic has increased dramatically on our street, South Marion — a narrow, dead end street with little or no shoulder, where traffic flow is often impeded, as has been the case with garbage pickup.

Realistically, most rental agencies don’t know how many people are staying in any one rental, let alone how many cars, boats, trailers, or campers they have brought with them. 

There has been talk of polling Gearhart homeowners. I believe there have been enough committees, emails, letters, and words of complaint by those of us who have been impacted by this sorry state of affairs, which often pits neighbor against neighbor, and has changed the very essence of our community. Now it is time for action, before next summer, when this situation will surely escalate as more and more homeowners are tempted to take the money these competitive rental agencies offer for renting their homes.    

The mayor and city council members need to enact rules and regulations that are enforceable and have teeth, not $10 parking tickets, but ones with consequences. Like other communities in our area, they should consider capping the number of short term rental units allowed in Gearhart, limit the number of occupants allowed in a rental unit, and set a minimum number of days a property may be rented. We urge the mayor and city councilors to act quickly so we won’t have another “lost summer.”

Terry and Cathy Graff

Gearhart

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