Short-term rental company Airbnb, facing scrutiny for its role in adding to Portland's housing crunch, has donated $5,000 to the campaign to build more affordable housing in Portland.
The company's PAC, the Committee to Expand the Middle Class, donated to the Yes for Affordable Homes on Friday.
The bond measure on the November ballot will raise $258.4 million over the next 20 years, according to backers' estimates.
Bond measure backers downplayed the significance of the Airbnb donation.
"It's one of more than 375 contributions from individuals—supporters have hosted more than 20 house parties to-date—and businesses large and small," Yes for Affordable Homes spokeswoman Amy Ruiz tells WW.
"We welcome contributions from people and businesses interested in addressing Portland's affordable housing crisis by supporting Measure 26-179, which would build 1,300 permanently affordable homes for those who need them most."
Only 18 other companies or individuals besides Airbnb have given at least as much to the campaign, according to campaign-finance records released by Friday.
"The Committee to Expand the Middle Class is one part of our efforts to help strengthen communities that Airbnb hosts and guests call home," says Airbnb spokeswoman Laura Rillos in a statement. "We're proud to support a proposal that will create safe, affordable housing and strengthen the Portland community."
The donation comes as Airbnb faces a growing spotlight on the impact its short-term rental marketplace has on Portland's housing stock.
According to Portland Housing Bureau, Airbnb and other short-term rental companies have taken 1,000 previously affordable rental units off the market, effectively turning them into hotel rooms. That's worth an estimated $380 million, according to housing bureau estimates.
The donation is not the first time Airbnb has donated to Portland campaigns. City Commissioner Steve Novick and Mayor-elect Ted Wheeler received donations earlier this year.
"We look forward to doing more work with policymakers in Oregon and across the country," Rillos told WW when asked about those donations.
Update: This post has been updated to include a new statement from Airbnb.