Opinion

Wheeler needs to enforce ordinances


Wheeler citizen need to know what is going on in our fair village. The issue of Airbnb short- term rentals in residential neighborhoods has now surfaced, and the City of Wheeler government is refusing to uphold the city’s ordinances prohibiting them.

There is an illegal short-term rental in a residential neighborhood in Wheeler Oregon 97147. Wheeler ordinances do not allow short-term rentals in R-1 residential neighborhoods; however, the City says the owners are complying with the city ordinance regulating short-term rentals. City officials refuse to answer me when I ask how the Airbnb rental can comply with the ordinance when short-term rentals are not allowed in the R-1 zone where it is located. Officials say the issue would have to go before the City Council to be answered. This is a simple administrative question that could be answered very easily over the phone. Why does the city refuse to enforce its own ordinance to protect neighborhoods against short-term rentals?

As a group of citizens we are out of options. We have to let Wheeler citizens know what is going on, if we want to stop illegal short-term rentals next to our homes.

Wheeler’s existing ordinance for short-term rentals is pathetically inadequate, and needs to be strengthened by City Council. But that is a different issue than turning a blind eye to one of these rentals in a residential neighborhood where it is not allowed at all. So far, Wheeler officials appear to be ignoring concerned residents, in the hopes we will go away.

Please contact the City by letter or email and let them know that we don’t want short-term rentals in our neighborhoods. The City must enforce its ordinances and remove illegal ones. Also mention that we need an adequate City ordinance to regulate these rentals that includes permits, registration, penalties and good oversight. Please send your letters to the City of Wheeler at P.O. Box 177, Wheeler, OR 97147.

Margaret Thomas