Mt. Hood Livability Coalition believes that caring for nature and co-existing with wildlife is fundamental to livability in Hoodland. Black Bears in and around our Mt. Hood communities are part of that wild eco-system and are very active as they fatten up for Winter hibernation and when they awaken in Spring. When bears find a source of human food, they habitually return to the source and can become a threat to human safety. Sadly, bears are killed if they can’t be caught and relocated.

Reported incidents collected by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) show increased bear and human interaction along the Highway 26 corridor to Mt. Hood. The same area has the highest number of  Short Term Vacation Rentals (STRs) in unincorporated Clackamas County. The countyʻs commissioners voted in a Pilot Project to require registration and regulations for STRs, beginning in December 2023. One STR regulation mandates garbage is to be removed at least weekly. Bear-proof cans or enclosures are not required, and the responsibility of cleaning up trash strewn about when garbage is put out early, was not addressed. It seems to be the residents who are left to do this after the guests have departed. Note: MHLC collects neighborhood complaints as data on bear/ garbage incidents on this website; look for the tab, click, and fill it out.

Until this issue is thoughtfully addressed by the Clackamas County Commissioners or their new STR Administrator, slated to be on board in December, MHLC thought that reaching out to educate STR owners, guests, and managers about bear behaviors might be an improvement to the current “garbage attracting wildlife” problem on our neighborhoods. They found free materials and information available via ODFWʻs BearWise program. The next step was how to get those materials into the STR units. Vacasa manages over 200 homes, cabins, and condos in the Mt. Hood area. MHLC agreed to collaborate with Crista Copoulos, Vacasaʻs Mt. Hood general manager, and ODFWʻs Assistant District Wildlife Biologist, Lindsey Sanders, who both thought it was a timely idea. Flyers with bear-safety “Vacation Tips” and bear-shaped fridge magnets with BearWise basics are making their way into the homes via Vacasaʻs team. Thank you, Crista and Lindsey, for making this step forward with us for wildlife and, it is hoped, for residents. Find more Black Bear information at