News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Rental regulations having an effect

New rules created in 2019 to regulate short-term rentals (STR) in Sisters are having an impact.

The Sisters City Council received an update on those impacts at their Wednesday, February 26 workshop. According to planner Patrick Davenport, current active licenses for short-term or vacation rentals in town stand at 88, down from more than 100 a year ago. Eleven permits were issued in 2019, down from a high of 44 in 2018. Davenport noted that there was “a flurry of activity” in 2018 because property owners were aware that new regulations were coming.

Regulations require operator licenses for owners of short-term rental properties and a business license for each unit. Operator licenses for new STRs after the ordinances took effect do not transfer with the property when it sells. There is also a 250-foot spacing requirement between STR units.

The spacing requirement in particular has rendered some properties in Sisters unable to be used as an STR.

“We’ve turned away, I would say, five or six dozen,” Davenport told the council. “At some point, we just lost count.”

The real number of potential units that were found to be ineligible is hard to pin down, however, because there are often multiple inquiries regarding a single property when it goes up for sale, Davenport reported.

Councilor Nancy Connolly noted that the Council had a goal of keeping the number of STRs at or below 10 percent of Sisters’ overall housing stock. As of this month, numbers are well below that threshold.

Davenport also reported that, in 2019, STRs generated $113,932 in room-tax revenues.

Author Bio

Jim Cornelius, Editor in Chief

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Jim Cornelius is editor in chief of The Nugget and author of “Warriors of the Wildlands: True Tales of the Frontier Partisans.” A history buff, he explores frontier history across three centuries and several continents on his podcast, The Frontier Partisans. For more information visit


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