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Room Tax Reconsidered 

Council votes to move some tax funds supporting tourism advertising and strategy to tourism facilities instead

The transient room tax in Bend will soon be able to be spent on tourism-related facilities, expanding on its original function for tourism promotion.

Most of the tax, 68.8% of it, goes to the City's general fund where it contributes to roads, police and fire departments. The other 31.2% is currently restricted to a tourism fund that was responsible for advertising, strategic planning and operations for Visit Bend, the agency tasked with tourism promotion. The change brings Bend more in line with state law on the allocation of tourism funds.

Bend City Hall. - DARRIS HURST
  • Darris Hurst
  • Bend City Hall.

"The state law is really clear in that the tourism-related facilities really have to be those that continue to attract visitors and tourists to your community or support new visitors that come to your community—they're really specific about the types of facilities that can be used with these tourism funds," Carolyn Eagan, director of Economic Development for the City of Bend, said in a work session with the Bend City Council.

Things like community centers, sports facilities and trailheads would be considered tourism-related facilities and could be supported with the transient room tax—the council has not yet discussed specific projects yet, and funds will be approved annually along with the Visit Bend business plan.

"One of the real requests from the industry is that the funds that are allocated to tourism-related facilities are allocated similarly to the way that tourism promotion funds are allocated so that it is the industry who is working to get the proposals for those tourism-related facilities and getting to prioritize those," Eagan said.

The transient room is a 10.4% tax levied on every night's stay at a professional lodging company, including hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts and Airbnbs.

About The Author

Jack Harvel

Jack is originally from Kansas City, Missouri and has been making his way west since graduating from the University of Missouri, working a year and a half in Northeast Colorado before moving to Bend in the Spring of 2021. When not reporting he’s either playing folk songs (poorly) or grand strategy video games,...
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