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Eugene Airbnb party bust has neighbors calling for regulation

Officials arrived to find dozens of people in addition to "illegal substances" and guns.

Posted: Jan 17, 2020 6:15 PM
Updated: Jan 21, 2020 4:40 PM

EUGENE, Ore.-- Around 60 people attended a party at a south Eugene Airbnb rental Saturday, police said, and now neighbors are calling for change.

According to authorities, officers received calls about a party at an Augusta Street short-term rental property just before 11 p.m. They arrived to find dozens of people in addition to "illegal substances" and guns. Four people were charged with providing false information to an officer, three of whom were from Portland.

Neighbor Jo Jo Jensen said she was awakened by the noise. 

"I knew this was just not going to be good because there were streams of kids," she said. "Next time I looked outside, the entire cul-de-sac was blocked off by at least four police cars that I could see. And I thought, 'That seems like overkill for just a nuisance noise complaint,' but it was a lot more than that."

In a statement, Airbnb said they have a ban on party houses and have rules to address persistent neighborhood nuisances. They also said the listing for the Augusta Street rental property in question has been suspended as the company investigates.

The listing itself said parties were against the rules, but Jensen thinks the evidence said otherwise. 

"I don't know what your definition of a party house is, but that's the definition of a party house. People rent it for dirt cheap, don't even bother spending the night and leave in the morning while disturbing the whole neighborhood," she said.

The city of Eugene is considering regulations on short-term rentals, and an ad-hoc committee on the issue will be finalized by the end of March. Laurel Hill Valley Citizens co-chair Stan Dura said that these rental properties are appearing all over the neighborhood, and he is hoping those where the owner isn't present can be regulated. 

"It's the ones where people just rent out the whole house and don't live in the neighborhood anymore and aren't nearby to handle any issues. Those are the ones that can get out of hand," he said.

Both Dura and Jensen agree that most short-term rentals can be positive, but without direct owner supervision, they fear issues may escalate.

This is Airbnb's full statement on the incident: "We have clear rules to address listings that cause persistent neighborhood nuisance, including a ban on ‘party houses’, and take reports of violations very seriously. We have suspended this listing while we investigate further.”

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