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Are We Ready to Create a Sharing Culture?

October 12th, 2022 by dk

Hundreds of local households rearranged their domestic affairs this summer to make room for visitors to compete in or watch the World Championships at Hayward Field. For many, it was their first foray into the sharing economy. Are we ready to build on that sharing economy to create a sharing culture?

I believe in the sharing economy. Decades were spent trying to convince Americans not to over-consume. But cars and trucks and houses kept getting bigger, even though families were getting smaller. Acquisitiveness is how Americans gauge stature, so having more stuff proved to be an irresistible urge.

But then, along comes Airbnb and others, implicitly congratulating you for your achievement and then asking if you’d be willing to share it with others. Now that Airbnb is a behemoth that has made its founders billions, some worry that Airbnb in particular has become too large for our own good.

But the idea remains a good one. Smaller start-ups deserve your attention. Home Share Oregon, a nonprofit program, hopes to increase access to affordable housing. They link people with more room than they need with people who need a room, focusing on fixed-income seniors.

Some have tried hosting with Airbnb (or its lookalike cousins like VRBO), but don’t really care for the rooming house vibe. They also don’t want a full-time housemate. There’s a sweet spot in between, used primarily by short-term travel nurses, called Furnished Finder. PeaceHealth also maintains their own short-term lodging list for travel nurses.

If you’re planning a vacation, but don’t feel comfortable asking neighbors to water your plants or feed your cats, Trusted House Sitters screens people who are looking for temporary housing and can provide those services in return. All of these commercial services perform background checks on applicants before sending them to your home.

The sharing movement is now expanding options for movement itself.

You know about Uber and Lyft, but did you know there are ways to rent your neighbor’s car? Turo is becoming the Airbnb of car rentals, along with smaller outfits like DriveShare and GetAround. You can rent a car through HyreCar and drive it for Uber! They handle the insurance and verify the renter’s identity, leaving the sharing to you.

The city of Eugene maintains a page for those who would like to carpool together. EWEB has partnered with Forth Mobility to rent electric cars on an hourly or daily basis. PeaceHealth continues its sponsorship of Eugene’s bike rental program.

There are sites that facilitate peer-to-peer sharing of garagesgardenscampsitessailboatssurfboardsbicycles, and airplanes. Surfboard-sharing may never be big in Eugene, but you can see where this is headed.

Why does each of us need a lawn mower when we use it for only an hour or two each weekend? Can Internet connectedness make it easier for us to share a cup of sugar with a neighbor? How quickly can we get used to sharing how many things? That’s the question the future is asking.


Don Kahle ( writes a column each Wednesday and Sunday for The Register-Guard and archives past columns at

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