By: Kiera Morgan
The Lincoln County Commissioners met by phone with the mayors and some council members from the cities of Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Toledo, Siletz, Waldport and Yachats. They further discussed, then unanimously approved, ordinance 3-23-85 an ordinance to limit short term stays at Hotels, Motels, Campgrounds, RV parks, B&B's and VRD's inside the cities and unincorporated areas of Lincoln County. It was pointed out that short term turnover at these establishments could have an adverse affect and spread the coronavirus throughout the community.
There are exemptions in place. These include for those who are homeless, for needed essential service providers, workers, or for medical reasons. Lodging establishments who have people staying who meet these requirements are required to provide a log of information to show the reason for those staying. The order is an emergency declaration and is in affect until April 30th but may be modified by the county in consultation with the cities.
County Commission Chair Kaety Jacobson pointed out that this does NOT shut down county roads or roads leading into or out of the county. She said the ordinance is only pertaining to lodging facilities. All representatives from the cities were in support of the ordinance and expressed it's importance in keeping our communities safe. Lincoln County Sheriff Landers reported that he will be holding a phone meeting tomorrow morning with the city chiefs of police to discuss education and enforcement.
Newport Mayor Dean Sawyer said he was supportive of the joint efforts of the cities and the county in having a unified message about short term rentals. He also praised the local hotels and motels and VRD's that have already shut down in advance of the order. Yachats Mayor John Moore reported that many of the Yachats area lodging establishments have closed on their own as well. Kaety Jacobson thanked the cities, County Council and city staff for their hard work and input in putting the ordinance together.
County council Wayne Belmont wrapped up the meeting saying there will likely be more changes coming rapidly from the State and Federal Governments in the coming weeks. He reported that the county emergency operations center is open and operating from the county courthouse. He also pointed out the need to soon talk about the importance of recovery from this. The county is also looking at putting in a call center to help handle the flood of calls for information. Commissioner Jacobson concluded that she hoped they could all work together as well in the future on recovery efforts.
The ordinance goes into affect immediately. Those who are in short term stay situations need to be gone by tomorrow (3/25). A copy of the ordinance can be found on the Counties website https://www.co.lincoln.or.us