For years, Jenny Thompson-Kiefer got to know the world of vacation rentals as a house cleaner with a local property management company.
Now, Thompson-Kiefer will be returning to that world, but this time as Cannon Beach’s new code enforcement officer.
“I’ve seen the other side, and now I’m going to coming from a completely different side. I think seeing the backside of short-term rentals and knowing what it’s like will help in this job a lot,” she said. “And, I know where a lot of them are already.”
Last year, Cannon Beach decided to hire a code enforcement officer after not having the position since the 1990s. Thompson-Kiefer will be tasked with enforcing everything from design review and planning codes to vacation rentals.
Thompson-Kiefer’s journey to this job started about 20 years ago as a 18-year-old girl in the Columbia Gorge with a dream to go into law enforcement. After high school she began college but left early, eventually moving around and working a variety of jobs.
In 2004, Thompson-Kiefer made it out to the coast, where she was drawn by the natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities.
“I love the coast, the beach, the atmosphere,” she said. “I like the small town environment.”
Over the course of 10 years, either lived or worked in Cannon Beach in retail and the property management business. But still, Thompson-Kiefer couldn’t shake her law enforcement dream.
“I realized I could be doing more to help people and the community,” she said. “I decided to finish what I started a long time ago. It was a professional goal, but in a lot of ways it was also a personal goal.”
So she decided to move to Grants Pass to start her education and be closer to her family. She then moved back to the coast, transferred to Portland State University and completed her criminal justice degree online.
Soon after completing her degree, Thompson-Kiefer through luck and circumstance saw the job posting for Cannon Beach’s code enforcement officer position pop up on her Facebook newsfeed after a mutual friend liked it.
She sent in an application.
“It just seemed like a good fit ... a good way in,” she said.
As the first code enforcement officer for the town in many years, Thompson-Kiefer hopes to use her position to educate and inform people about the city’s codes, rather than being seen as “the bad guy.”
“A lot of comments of being the most hated person — I don’t think it has to be that way,” she said. “I think people often are unaware that they are breaking rules.”
Thompson-Kiefer is excited for the challenge.
“I’m drawn to law enforcement because you never know what you are going to be dealing with in a day ... and you’re helping your community,” she said. “I like the feeling of getting involved, being in service. I’m excited to work for Cannon Beach.”