Earlier this year the Mt. Hood and Columbia River Gorge Tourism Alliance sent our region a survey. Some of us received it in E-Mail and others filled it out online.

The survey was a broad study of our quality of life using tourism, traffic, environment, and recreation questions. You can see the complete survey results at


This is the link for only our community “Upper Mt Hood”.

Here at Mt Hood Livability Coalition, we were very interested in the results, especially the questions involving Tourism and STRs.

While we recommend that you read the entire survey, this blog will present a summary of a few of the questions that we think involved the STRs and Tourism.

One of the first questions asked was about our feelings about how the quality of our life was changing. 50% of the respondents said the quality of Mountain life was declining!

The survey then asked for the reasons for the decline. There were 20 options listed, but none mentioned Tourism. 79% answered with the catch-all answer, “other”. Could that have been related to Tourism issues?

The next question asked how satisfied you were with the region’s performance (I am not sure what exactly that means). Again, there were listed 20 categories, none of which had to do with Tourism and once again83% answered that “other” causes the greatest dissatisfaction. This made us wonder again if perhaps Tourism might be a big factor.

Finally, the survey asked a question that was somewhat related to STRs and tourism. It asked about housing. 66% were very concerned about the cost of housing and 68% were very concerned about housing availability. As many of you know, during the past 5 years or so, many times when a house comes up for sale, STR investors engage in bidding up prices. Of course, this is not the only factor that has caused housing prices to go up in our community. But in our opinion, it is a big factor. Housing availability is influenced by the STR surge also. If a house becomes an STR, then it is not available for rent or sale to many of the people who would like to move to the mountain and many of the people who have or want jobs here.

Finally on page 20, the questions ask about the biggest impact of challenges facing us. Short-Term Rentals was at last one of the 20 choices. 63% of the respondents said that the STRs were their biggest challenge and caused the biggest impact on their lives.

Then again on page 22 this time, the question is, what is the most important thing for government officials to address? 51% said STRs. Hopefully, our politicians will understand that 51% of our community is delivering a very clear message.

I think we all understand that tourism is the single biggest economic factor in our community. Does that mean that a lot of the money made by the tourism industry stays in our community? Apparently not, based on one of the survey questions. The question asked to what extent does tourism support your livelihood? 77% said that tourism did not support them at all. But we must remember that owner-occupied B&Bs and people who work at the resort certainly do need tourism to support themselves. 23% of the respondents said they were somewhat or very dependent. In our efforts to tame tourism in our community, we cannot forget those people, they are our neighbors. But that question convinced me that most tourism dollars do not stay in our area. They go to investors all over the country.

There are another 20 or so charts in the survey dealing with traffic, and demographics. Please take a look at these and see what you think.

Frankly, the number of respondents to this survey was low. Next time a survey like this comes out, PLEASE take the time to fill it out. These surveys give our CPO, Mt Hood Livability Coalition, and individuals specific and tangible topics to take to our government officials and tell them how they need to earn their pay and help the livability of our community.