PORTLAND – Airbnb, a leading vacation rental listing site, will open new offices and hire 160 people this summer in Portland.
The San Francisco startup has grown significantly in recent years, and on Friday, the company announced it set up shop to Old Town Portland’s Blagen Block building on Southwest Ash Street.
The company said Portland will be it's North American headquarters, which will focus on customer service positions. It's main offices will remain in San Francisco.
Portland Mayor Charlie Hales announced the deal at his State of the City address at the City Club of Portland Friday afternoon. The move to Portland was worked out with the Portland Development Commission that has recently been focused on revitalizing Old Town Chinatown.
Portland is already home to a growing number of tech and software startups including Puppet Labs, Urban Airship, Viewpoint Construction and Jama Software.
"This project bolsters an already strong and growing cluster of software firms and technology talent in Portland," said PDC executive director Patrick Quinton. "We're especially pleased to welcome Airbnb to the Old Town neighborhood and its emerging entrepreneurial scene."
Airbnb users consider the service part of a new “sharing economy” that focuses on bartering and trading.
Airbnb’s services, however, are not always been welcome in cities. A judge ruled one of its New York users broke the city’s “illegal hotel” law last May. New York City’s mayor’s office received thousands of complaints about short-term rentals that reportedly circumvent local laws and taxes, according to the New York Times.
According to a report by the Oregonian newspaper, Portland has similar laws that consider Airbnb a black market, and few of its hosts go through the land-use red tape hotels are subject to.