Aaron Linfoot's recent viewpoint defending the expansion of the vacation rental industry in Lincoln City (“Vacation rentals are good for the new economy,” Jan. 29 edition) fails to adequately address a central complaint against his industry. In a city bordered by an ocean, a lake, a national forest and a vast river delta, and since September, a community where 300 primarily working class homes were incinerated, how does such a city accommodate a working population that makes low wages with variable hours and an investor class who is in the business of purchasing every home available and turning it into a vacation rental?
It is a sad irony that working people who lost their homes in the Otis fires are living in hotels while at the same time, visitors have their pick of coastal homes to vacation in. When I read that Mr. Linfoot sees his industry as a "class equalizer" I blew hot coffee through my nose. It stung, I wouldn't suggest it. Lincoln City doesn't need some clever lecture on class equalization. It needs housing for the working class, the same working class that makes the community's prosperity possible.
The real "class equalizer" would be if the city prioritized the people who make the food, care for the elderly and the children, stock the groceries, maintain the hotels and sell the merchandise over the needs of wealthy investors monetizing their second, third or fourth homes, and the companies like Meredith who provide services to those investors. Lincoln City has plenty of vacant hotel rooms in need of visitors but not nearly enough dry and affordable homes for the people who make the beds in those hotels to live in.
Finally, 15neighborhoods isn't “a small anti vacation rental advocacy group.” The group represents the majority opinion in this community. Look at the recent polling.