Transient Room Tax (TRT) Testimony

Testimony of Shannon Nill

To Whom it May Concern:

It has come to our attention that an effort to use a portion of the tax money collected from Hotel and RV Park visits to benefit attracting more visitors to Lane County is under way. Those of us at Guaranty RV Centers and the members of the Oregon RV Dealer Association as well as the Oregon RV Alliance all appreciate and support this effort. This area is a very important commerce area for RV Sales, RV Recreation and RV Manufacturing. This money will be targeting visitors from outside our County for the benefit of all Lane County Businesses.

Sincerely, Shannon Nill – GM of Guaranty RV Centers, ORVDA Past President and ORVA Board Member

Testimony of Ron Lee

Our business, like so many others, depends on people coming to Oregon and using our services. And although Country Coach Corporation does not benefit from the Transient Room Taxes directly, they can greatly impact our local business and can help strengthen local businesses like ours.

We believe that the TRT revenues should be used to encourage RVers to visit Oregon, especially Lane County. Lane County is an economically devastated area, and bringing RVers to Oregon to spend their time and money will benefit everyone. When RVers come to motorhome club rallies in this area, they spend their money at local restaurants, service centers, hotels, and parks. They spend money at local grocery stores, retail shops and so many other small businesses.

Currently, our business provides motorhome parts and technical service work on Country Coach motorhomes. When owners come in and have work done on their coach, they are normally traveling in their coach far from home. They are therefore in need of these local businesses. The more we can promote the benefits of the local area, the longer they stay in the area and the more businesses are helped.

During this summer, Country Coach is greatly involved with one of our international clubs. Country Coach Friends Incorporated (CCFI) held a motorhome rally which was held at the Riverbend RV Resort in Harrisburg, OR. Over eighty Country Coach motorhomes parked and rallied there. Over 180 owners spent money at local businesses in Harrisburg, Junction City and Eugene during their week-long stay. Many of them visited local attractions as well as the Oregon coast and local wineries. Not only did they spend their money here, they also held an auction which raised over $8,000 for local charitable food banks. Local small businesses like Country Coach donated cash, items like apparel and parts along with services to this charity auction.

Within a year, Country Coach plans to start manufacturing new motorhomes. Right now, we are at a critical moment. Bringing customers into the local economy will help strengthen not only our business but so many vendors and suppliers as well.

We hope that you strongly consider using the tax revenues that are raised from hotel and park stays in Lane County to promote local businesses and attractions that will encourage people is visit this beautiful state and wonderful natural resources that Lane County has to offer.

Ron Lee – Owner/CEO, Country Coach Corporation

Testimony of Mike Brown

Dear Alex,

Visitors come to here for many reasons. Lane County is a beautiful place to visit but has also earned a unique position and reputation in the American economy as the capital of the RV Manufacturing industry. We instantly recognize locations such as Seattle, Detroit, Silicon Valley and so on. Those names bring to mind the industries that those communities have made a commitment to. They understand the role that everyone must play in sustaining those industries and their employees through good times and bad. Lane County’s RV and tourism industry has been through a very tough economic time. Many have lost jobs, and many are still struggling to survive. They desperately need this community to do everything possible to restore those jobs and rebuild this industry. This is why ORVA was established. We in the industry know the time sensitive need to respond to this economic crisis. We now need Lane County to partner with us to bring back those jobs and tourism dollars. The TRT revenues can have a major role in accomplishing both these goals. Aggressive marketing will keep Lane County “front of mind” for those tens of thousands of RVers that in the recent past made this area a destination both for recreation and RV sales and service opportunities. With a dwindling RV industry we are not seeing those visitors as in past years, a trend that will continue without an aggressive marketing program. The TRT dollars need to be spent on marketing efforts targeted to recapturing those RV visitors, not subsidizing county parks or facilities for fewer and fewer visitors. Remember that more Lane County visitors are our first concern. Let’s put the horse before the cart.

Mike Brown – Deerwood RV Park

Testimony of Sherry Fanning

Bringing RV-owning travelers to Oregon to spend their leisure time is a subject about which I am passionate. I share my following opinion as a non-beneficiary of any funding received from hotel, motel, and park stay taxes that may in future be directed towards encouraging RVers to visit the south Willamette Valley and especially Lane County.

For over 18 years I was blessed to market Country Coach, its brand and its motorcoaches. As Senior Manager of Marketing at the former Country Coach, LLC I coordinated rallies for up to 400 coach motorcoaches nationwide. My favorite events were and will always be the events held right here in the south Willamette Valley…

Currently I am managing a club of Country Coach and other Highline brand motorcoach owners ( As Consultant to the CCFI Board of Directors, among other things I coordinate, plan and present motorcoach rallies which bring thousands of dollars of discretionary spending into the communities where these high income motorcoachers gather for these 5 to 6 day rallies. Rallies are held coast to coast with the largest held annually right here in Oregon near where all Country Coach motorcoaches were built.

For example, the Club’s Country Coach Friendship Rally held at River Bend Resort in Harrisburg in July raised over $8000 in charitable giving which these Rvers donated to local food banks. This Friendship

Rally found 180 motorcoachers lingering for weeks in Lane County before and after the rally. During their visit they stay in local campgrounds like Premier RV Resort in Coburg and Deerfield RV Park. Another favorite park is Richardson RV Park at Fern Ridge. While in the area, these rallyers get their engines and furnaces serviced, have paint and bodywork done…They visit area woodworking businesses for cabinetry

upgrades. They purchase new tires (in itself a couple thousand dollars single expenditure). They buy art pieces, home decor, and more as they add new touches to the $300,000 to $1.5 million dollar homes on wheels they choose to drive. These motorcoach owners have discretionary monies to spend, and we want to encourage them to spend those monies right here in our community. My CCFI Club friends spend time exploring wineries, shopping malls and boutiques. They eat out at all their favorite restaurants during their Lane County visit.

RVers are coming home to Oregon and the Eugene and Junction City area (where all Country Coaches were originally built) to enjoy their leisure time and to enjoy club rallies with fellow RV enthusiasts. Theyare staying at local RV Parks, eating at local dining establishments, touring and fishing the beautiful McKenzie River area, and visiting the Coast. Quite simply they are enjoying the unmatched distinct flavor and attractions of Lane County. There are still thousands of other RVers who need to hear about Lane County and the motorcoachers’ mecca of RV-related service providers waiting here.

That is why RV industry professionals like myself (many of whom are members of Oregon RV Alliance) are dedicated to spreading the message to Motorcoaching friends nationwide to consider spending leisure time and income in Oregon. If some estimates I have heard that 10-12 percent of all tax monies raised from overnight stays are being garnered from Park stays, I would encourage you to consider investing more of the revenue earned on trying to attract more park guests. One means might be to reach out to all the many RV clubs such as Country Coach Friends Incorporated, telling them about all the Fun that awaits!

I respectfully ask you to consider dedicating tax monies raised from room and parks stays in Lane County to increased marketing efforts to promote more park stays. Lane County is a great destination for all wishing to enjoy their RV lifestyle in Oregon.

Sherry Fanning

Testimony of Vickie & Paul Williams

Live testimony was given at the meeting. Link to recording to follow.