The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
My partner Ashley and I are from Phoenix, Arizona. Yes, it's incredibly easy to clump us in with the mid-20 something transplants to Portland: we like to eat, we like to drink good local beer, and we ride bikes. But there's certainly more to us than the pleasure of partaking in these simple pleasures of Portland. Ashley wanted to move primarily because she was accepted to Portland State's Mater of Public Health program. Secondly, she wanted to move [REDACTED] and wanted to be in a place she finally felt could support her inability to drive via not only the numerous transit options but the mass amounts of bike lanes and walkable neighborhoods. I not only wanted to support Ashley in her educational pursuit, but I am fortunate to have all of my family in the area other than my Mom. With my grandparents getting older, I found it incredibly important to take advantage of this opportunity to be closer to them as I see the difficulty it is for Ashley having lost all of her grandparents at a relatively young age. I definitely didn't want to lose to experience of having them as a fundamental aspect of my adult life. After much saving and planning and more saving, we took a leap in September of 2013 to move to Portland, Oregon. We had a pretty strict criteria for our housing hunt in regards to location, price, size…the usual list. We were fortunate to find an apartment on craigslist that would allow us to sign a lease sight unseen from Phoenix that met 9/10 marks on our list in North Portland. At the time of our settlement, we were making things work with what we had saved and all ends were meeting. As time progressed, our savings dwindled as Ashley was finding it difficult to find work with her busy school schedule and I wasn't making what I was making in Phoenix as a hair stylist. On a whim, in May 2014, we decided to put our apartment up on AirBnB having used it ourselves several times. We figured no one would want to stay in our quaint extra room however, that was no where near the case. Despite the close quarters of our apartment and our highly selective process which includes general information about the guest,reasons for their visit to Portland, plans while in town, and most importantly a large number of positive reviews from other hosts like us, we've had a busy summer. We not only go through this arduous process for our own safety but for the safety of everyone in our building. Ultimately, the actions of the people we invite into our home reflect back upon us and we take great pride in ensuring this process is done thoroughly. AirBnB has ultimately allowed Ashley to continue to pursue her education full-time and take the three part-time jobs she's been offered that will enhance her opportunities in the future. It has allowed me to focus on rebuilding and establishing myself in a referral based industry. It has allowed us to stay in our apartment despite the rent increases that have come our way. It has allowed us to dream of staying in Portland, building our lives here, and ultimately giving back to the community which has already enriched our lives in the short time we've been fortunate to be Portland residents. We hope to one day to be able to invest in a home of our own and hope that AirBnB can help us do that. We've worked very hard to get to where we are now. We understand that regulations on mili-family units are difficult, I urge you to find a way to make it feasible.