[August 10, 2020] - ORLA Activity in the Special Session
Today marks the beginning of the second special session of 2020 and Oregon legislators are expected to wrap it up in 2-4 days. Many of our crucial needs as an industry are not on the table. There is an incredible amount of work we must continue to take on to aid in the survival of as many restaurant and lodging establishments as possible in Oregon.
Issues still in need of attention include:
Today, ORLA provided invited testimony in support of Senate Bill 1701 which is expected to move forward this special session. The bill would provide extra flexibility to employees to pick up shifts in our restaurant and lodging establishments around the state without having to sacrifice unemployment insurance benefits when working part time. Current law allows employees to earn ten times the minimum wage each week before losing access to unemployment benefits. Senate Bill 1701 proposes to increase the amount an employee can earn in a week up to $300 before they would risk losing unemployment benefits to subsidize their earned wages. Read ORLA’s written testimony on the issue submitted today.
[August 6, 2020] – August Special Session Update
Final preparations are being made for the August Special Legislative Session by Speaker of the House Tina Kotek and Senate President Peter Courtney to focus in on general fund shortfalls in the State of Oregon. The session may last the duration of the upcoming week. An agreement has been made to focus on budgetary issues as part of the August session and issues including To-Go Cocktails which qualifies as an important industry priority will likely not be taken up based on the rules being established for the session. In addition, the state transient lodging tax has an uphill battle as it will most likely require a separate legislative bill as a non-general fund budgetary consideration. Outside of agency budget discussions, it is possible liability protection against COVID claims will be considered at the state level outside of considerations being entertained at the federal level.
It is of crucial importance to keep your relationships alive and well with your elected leaders representing you in the Oregon Legislature. To look up your House Representative and your State Senator, click on the Oregon State Legislature website and take steps to introduce yourself and engage in a relationship that is helpful to them based on your experience working in Oregon’s hospitality industry.
[August 5, 2020] - Latest Updates from Your Industry Association
The following is an update of activities from the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association. Please reach out to your Regional Representative as needed for additional guidance and any questions we can be of assistance with:
COVID-19 RELIEF: Our federal elected leaders continue to work on finding a compromise as they work through an ongoing negotiation process for what is expected to be the fourth and final coronavirus relief package. Top tier items under discussion include the federal weekly contribution amount for extended unemployment benefits, a second round of stimulus checks for American families, parameters around a second round of PPP loans, and a safe harbor provision to protect against COVID lawsuits when filed against businesses following Center for Disease Control and state health guidelines. ORLA expects clarity around details by Friday, August 14 given the looming summer recess and the need to return to constituents with tangible outcomes accomplished in DC before the November election.
Industry members are encouraged to engage in action alerts from the National Restaurant Association and the American Hotel & Lodging Association and make sure your voice is heard in DC:
TRAVEL ADVISORY TALK: There have been rumblings for a few weeks regarding the creation of a travel advisory to Oregon. In conversations with the Governor’s Office, it is clear the magnitude of logistics tied to any travel advisory and the associated challenges in enforcing any advisory could prove to be nearly impossible. ORLA is working to learn more about the onset of any new travel announcement by the Governor’s Office which to date seems to be focused on tourist travel originating outside of Oregon from specific states managing higher concentrations of virus spread.
SPECIAL SESSION: The second special session of the Oregon Legislature will take place this coming week from Monday, August 10 – Wednesday, August 12. It is clear there is very little appetite for any legislation that does not directly deal with the state’s budget gap and cuts to agency budgets. As recently as last night, there remains an open question as to whether any “policy” issues will find their way on the agenda. We are pushing for consideration of to-go cocktails for restaurants and the Governor continues to push for a 1.8% statewide lodging tax with industry support. It is unclear whether either issue makes the cut. The nature of the pandemic and the logistics of the special sessions puts an incredible amount of power in the hands of Oregon’s Speaker of the House Tina Kotek and Oregon’s Senate President Peter Courtney. These two elected leaders have ultimate decision making authority to advance issues within the Oregon House and Senate.
Connect with your legislators and get your voice to be heard. Sign up to be a Hospitality Advocate and text "ORLA" to 52886.
[July 28, 2020] - Latest Updates from the Association
We grappled with more challenging news this past week when the Governor implemented a 10:00 pm curfew for dining at bars and restaurants across the entire state and capped all indoor spaces regardless of industry to a max of 100 people including staff indoors and 250 outdoors. These are tough realities and the restrictions could have been more harsh without the work that was put it. The week before last, we worked with OLCC on a press release and the industry heard our call to action to keep restaurants open and responded with approximately 330 unique small business messages to the Governor’s office in a 24 hour period this past week. Our Phone2Action system now has over 1,000 mobilizers and is proving effective in ‘sounding the alarm.’ There are 3 states in the country that currently have their indoor dining rooms completely closed. Those states are California, New Mexico, and New Jersey. Washington State has new rules taking effect later this week which include indoor dining parties consisting of immediate households only in addition to indoor shutdowns of taverns, wineries, breweries, and distilleries.
As you have most likely heard in the news, the US House and Senate have a gap to fill in their proposed CARES 4 package desires back in DC. The Senate proposal released yesterday is a $1 trillion package and would include a second round of PPP for the vast majority of our members, enhancements to the Employee Retention Tax Credit (more to come soon on this), and liability protections for employers against frivolous COVID claims when the employer is following all CDC and OHA guidelines. A few of the downsides include having to demonstrate a 50% revenue loss in your second quarter to access PPP, PPP loans are still not tax deductible, and it appears PPP may be extended to Chambers of Commerce and Destination Marketing Organizations but not to trade associations like ours. We’ll make sure to continue pushing out the latest updates in partnership with our friends at the American Hotel & Lodging Association, Asian American Hotel Owners Association, and the National Restaurant Association.
ORLA held two forums with leadership from Oregon OSHA on July 28. ORLA is officially serving on a formal workgroup to assist with business representation as they tackle the creation of a new infectious disease standard rule. Both a temporary rule (can only last up to 180 days) and permanent rule will be created with the goal of standardizing employer safety requirements from the rigmarole we have experienced through constantly changing OHA protocols. Below is some helpful information from Oregon OHSA on what their process looks like and what we can expect once a temporary rule is adopted in September.
Attached here is a press release from ‘People Not Politicians’ announcing extended time to collect signatures for Oregon’s redistricting initiative. Secretary Clarno released her decision in response to a preliminary order issued by Judge Michael J. McShane on July 10 to grant People Not Politicians, a broad and diverse coalition that has come together to create an independent citizens commission for Oregon, relief to qualify its redistricting reform initiative for the November 2020 election. The judge’s order allowed the Secretary of State to decide by 5:00pm Monday, July 13, 2020 to either accept People Not Politician’s signatures as submitted, or accept a reduced number of signatures to 58,789 and allow additional time to gather until August 17, 2020. The campaign submitted over 64,000 signatures on July 2.
[July 22, 2020] - New Requirements for Oregon Businesses
Effective July 24, specific to the hospitality industry:
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association will continue to highlight how seriously we take our commitment to safety for employees and guests. Over the course of the past 3-4 weeks, hundreds of random inspections have been conducted by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission and Oregon OSHA to ensure industry adherence to safety guidelines and procedures with 99% compliance. Our industry continues to work tirelessly to maintain environments that are safe for dining and lodging.
We have concerns about today’s announcement asking all foodservice establishments to conclude operations by 10pm. We know hospitality and human interaction will not cease at 10pm each night. Moreover, human interaction at that time will simply transition to private environments which are less safe and less controlled. This reality should concern all Oregonians if we follow the data and the transmission rate increases being tied to private social gatherings.
The data from state agencies shows small, private social gatherings are one of the primary factors in transmission. Oregon restaurants have been and are complying with, as well as actively promoting safe practices around wearing face coverings, washing hands and staying physically distant.
Oregon’s hospitality industry undergoes some of the highest scrutiny when it comes to healthy working environments, food safety and cleanliness with regular inspections by county health departments and state agencies. As operators, our business and our employees depend on guests feeling comfortable enough to not only visit us for the first time but return again and again to our establishments.
For time-sensitive updates and to sign up to help tell your story and how these regulations impact your business, please text “ORLA” to 52886 or contact your local Membership Representative.
[June 3, 2020] - Oregon Phase Two Guidance is Finalized: Wins and the Need for More Flexibility
Today marks an important day in Oregon’s ongoing reopening process. You can review the latest guidelines announced today for Phase Two through the following links:
ORLA has been directly engaged in ongoing discussions with the Governor’s Office which resulted in the following areas of flexibility in Phase Two:
Our work continues with what I will call Phase 2.1 as there are still ongoing challenges that need to be addressed. Based on industry feedback, these are the issues that still exist that need to be fixed in Phase Two as soon as possible:
We greatly appreciate the ongoing working relationship with the Oregon Health Authority and the Governor’s Office and look forward to addressing our ongoing needs as an industry as counties begin preparing for the Phase Two reopening process.
[To continue reading previous blog posts from ORLA's CEO, click "Read More" to the right]
ORLA sent a letter this morning to Representative Nancy Nathanson, Chair, Members of the House Interim Committee on Revenue, and the Senate Finance Committee urging them to oppose Legislative Concept 2. Please see the following call to action and take action today, WE NEED YOUR HELP!
Stop the Tax Sneak Attack!
Just when we thought things couldn’t get worse, the Oregon Legislature is now set to pass an ill-conceived proposal that would effectively impose $225 million in taxes on Oregon businesses, including restaurants and lodging, struggling to recover from the staggering impacts of the COVID shut downs.
But instead of admitting this is a new tax burden on struggling businesses, they will say this is simply a technical change, impacting only a few wealthy Oregonians. That’s simply not true. Many Oregon businesses will lose much-needed cash if this tax increase moves forward.
Please contact the governor, your legislators, and the House Revenue Committee immediately and tell them THIS PROPOSAL ISN’T FAIR to thousands of Oregon employers struggling to survive – and hundreds of thousands of unemployed Oregonians that want to go back to work.
Email your legislators today and tell them this sneak attack isn’t fair. Tell them to oppose this backdoor tax increase. ACT NOW. The Legislature is set to meet in special session on Monday, and all signs are that this bad idea is set to be fast-tracked through the process.
OREGON HOSPITALITY FOUNDATION AWARDS FUNDS TO FOURTEEN RESTAURANTS FEEDING FRONTLINE WORKERS AND VULNERABLE COMMUNITIES DURING PANDEMIC
PORTLAND, Oregon– Updated August 3, 2020 – While the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting everyone, the hospitality industry was the first hit by closures and one that has been especially devastated by its impact. The Oregon Hospitality Foundation(OHF) is proud to announce awards to fourteen restaurants throughout Oregon that responded to the incredible need for food by creating innovative programs to help feed their communities – from essential workers to unemployed restaurant staff and food-insecure neighbors. In addition to the generous support from the Grubhub Community Relief Fund, OHF will donate a percentage of proceeds from its virtual event series, Takeout & A Movie, to support restaurants and tourism partners across the state that are making a difference in our communities.
According to the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association, as of April 2020 81% of restaurant employees (approximately 127,000 people in Oregon) had been laid off or furloughed. “Being of service is at the heart of the hospitality industry,” said OHF Executive Director Wendy Popkin. “The Oregon Hospitality Foundation is proud to help raise funds and contribute to family-owned restaurants across the state who are stepping up to feed people in their communities.”
OHF Hospitality Help Fund Restaurant Awards
The following Oregon restaurants received funds for their ongoing work to feed frontline workers, food-insecure citizens, and unemployed service industry professionals:
About Oregon Hospitality Foundation
The Oregon Hospitality Foundation (OHF) was established in 1992 and is a nonprofit 501c3 that supports the charitable relief needs and ongoing educational and training requirements of Oregon’s Hospitality industry. OHF’s partners include restaurants, lodging, attractions and other tourism businesses and organizations throughout Oregon. Recently, OHF created the Oregon Hospitality Help Fund as an emergency relief fund to raise money for its hospitality partners whose businesses and employees are struggling during the pandemic. To date more than ten restaurants have received funding to donate an estimated 11,500 meals. Oregon restaurants interested in applying for these funds can complete an online application here. For more information about supporting our work with a donation or sponsorship, please follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
Lisa Hill, firstname.lastname@example.org, 503.730.8055
Call to Action: Ask Portland City Council to Lead an End to Violence while Supporting Ongoing Peaceful Protests
The City of Portland needs to hear from you. Safety and security for restaurant and lodging employees and our guests is paramount as is ongoing support for the rights of all Portlanders to peacefully protest. We officially have a major crisis on our hands relating to nightly violence and ongoing national media attention. Underrepresented populations must continue to be heard and it is time to take meaningful steps forward with reforms that matter.
Please ask Portland City Council to lead the city and put an end to the violence now. Any instigation of violence is unacceptable and must be separated from the importance of ongoing peaceful protests. Stopping this violence is crucial to the future of Portland and how the city is embraced by those who visit here for years to come.
More information is now available on the “Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act” released earlier this week by Senate Republicans. As a reminder, the House introduced the HEROES Act proposal in May, which passed along party lines. Discussions are expected to now begin in earnest as Congress faces the July 31 deadline for enhanced pandemic unemployment insurance benefits.
Part of the Republican proposal would reduce these benefits from $600 per week to $200 per week on top of state administered aid until the end of September at which time the maximum benefit will be 70% of the recipient current wages -- but this will be a starting point for the negotiations.
Read the National Restaurant Association’s summary of the proposal and the American Hotel and Lodging Association’s analysis of the HEALS Act.
Many of the hospitality industry’s priorities are included in the HEALS Act, including:
If you haven't yet, please take action on the National Restaurant Association's Blueprint for Restaurant Revival and/or the American Hotel and Lodging Association's Hotel Priorities Day of Action, thank you!
Restaurants and Bars Among Hardest Hit by COVID-19 Pandemic
[Wilsonville, OR] – The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA), in partnership with the National Restaurant Association, recently completed a statistically significant survey around To-Go Cocktails, drinks made with distilled spirits for takeout, pickup or delivery to go along with meals purchased by guests.
The survey, conducted July 3-6th, shows 72% or nearly three in four Oregonians, said they would favor a proposal allowing customers to purchase cocktails or mixed drinks (made with distilled spirits) with their takeout and delivery food orders from restaurants. This is in addition to beer and wine, which is currently allowed.
Support is highest among those between the ages of 24-39 at 83%, with respondents between the ages of 58-74 showing the least support at 66%. Twenty-eight percent of adults said they strongly favor the proposal. Fifty-nine percent of Oregon adults said they purchased takeout or delivery food from a restaurant for dinner during the week before they were surveyed.
ORLA President and CEO Jason Brandt said, “This is so encouraging for our members who have struggled just to stay open and keep people employed.”
Brandt continued, “This has been an incredibly difficult time when restaurants and bars have struggled to deal with the challenges of being shut down, having to pivot to offer only takeout, pickup or delivery and then trying to invite guests back into dining rooms and make them feel safe and comfortable. Knowing almost three out of four Oregonians support the option to purchase cocktails or mixed drinks to go with their meals means some restaurants and bars who might have previously had to close down actually have a chance to make it now.”
Allowing customers to purchase cocktails or mixed drinks (made with distilled spirits) for pickup, takeout or delivery requires a statutory change, meaning the Oregon Legislature would need to make the change to state law. Thirty other states currently offer To-Go Cocktails including Washington and California.
“From a public safety perspective, if more businesses are able to offer the service of delivery of alcohol to their customers, the need for those customers to physically go into stores and businesses is reduced, thus reducing the risk of community spread of COVID-19,” said Brandt.
Recognizing the need to help those who may have difficulty with alcohol addiction, ORLA’s website outlines a number of resources available to individuals, as well as training information to aid in prevention. More information on these resources and trainings can be found at OregonRLA.org/crisis-services-and-training.
For more information please contact Greg Astley, ORLA Director of Government Affairs at 503.851.1330.
ORLA Announces Inaugural Participants for New Experiential Learning Program
Wilsonville, OR – The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association is excited to announce the 2020 participants for the inaugural Oregon Tourism Leadership Academy (OTLA). Participants begin their first multi-day program experience in Central Oregon, July 22-24. Recruits will go beyond the walls of their businesses to gain in-depth experiences and knowledge that will elevate their passion and excitement for our state’s extraordinary offerings.
“We believe we are embarking on a leadership experience which will prove to be transformative for program participants,” said Jason Brandt, President & CEO for the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association. “The academy will bring lasting personal and professional benefits to those who participate.”
Developed in partnership with Travel Oregon and the Oregon Destination Association, this new experiential learning program is targeted to tourism professionals seeking to polish their leadership and professional skills and make positive and lasting contributions to the state’s tourism economy. An advisory committee of tourism industry representatives helped shape the development of the program through a shared vision of cultivating stronger champions for Oregon's tourism industry. The program consists of four multi-day excursions to be completed over the course of a year. The 2020 program will take place in Central Oregon, Southern Oregon, the North Oregon Coast and the Willamette Valley in the Spring of 2021. Experiences for the second-year class starting in the Summer of 2021 will include visits to Eastern Oregon, the Columbia Gorge, Portland Region, and Oregon’s Mid-Coast Range.
ORLA has been intentional in its pursuit of activating industry champions and the OTLA program supports that goal. The academy provides a compounding benefit of bringing people together for learning through experiences and empowering them to make lasting contributions to Oregon’s tourism and hospitality industries. Participants will create lifelong relationships and networking pathways through their connections.
Participants of the 2020 Oregon Tourism Leadership Academy:
For more information on the Oregon Tourism Leadership Academy, visit OregonRLA.org/OTLA.
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association is the leading business association for the foodservice and lodging industry in Oregon, which is comprised of over 10,220 foodservice locations and 2,000 lodging establishments with a workforce of 183,191, and a total economic impact of $13.8 billion in annual sales for Oregon.
Oregon Hospitality Foundation's Takeout & A Movie Event Presents Bicycle Adventure Shorts from the Filmed By Bike Festival
Event proceeds benefit the Cycle Oregon Fund which provides grants to Oregon’s tourism-dependent rural communities struggling during the pandemic
PORTLAND, Oregon – July 8, 2020 – The next Takeout & A Movie event, hosted by the Oregon Hospitality Foundation (OHF), will feature an interactive livestream YouTube event with bicycle adventure films from Filmed by Bike, an Oregon-produced film festival on Sunday, July 26 from 6-8 p.m. This adventure-packed movie night will take arm-chair travelers and bike enthusiasts to the far-reaching edges of the globe as international filmmakers document cyclists exploring the rugged open road. Event proceeds will benefit the Cycle Oregon Fund, which provides grants to Oregon’s rural tourism-dependent communities that are struggling during the pandemic and the Oregon Hospitality Help Fund, which supports the training and philanthropic relief needs of Oregon’s tourism and hospitality industry.
“The pandemic has postponed many larger outdoor events in Oregon, like Cycle Oregon, and we need to do what we can to support the hospitality businesses in rural communities that depend on tourism dollars,” said Steve Schulz, Executive Director of Cycle Oregon. “Our partnership with OHF and Filmed by Bike shows just how strong we can be when we collaborate on a community-based solution.”
TAKEOUT & A MOVIE Event Details
The Filmed by Bike team has gathered some of their favorite Oregon cycling routes and encourages you to explore the state by two wheels and support the restaurants, hotels and attractions that have been deeply impacted by the pandemic.
“Our first Takeout & A Movie event in May raised enough money for our restaurant grant recipients to fund an additional 11,500 meals to help feed people in need in communities across Oregon,” said Wendy Popkin, Executive Director of the Oregon Hospitality Foundation. “Now, we are focused on raising awareness of the pandemic’s effect on travel and its impact to Oregon’s rural communities by partnering with Cycle Oregon. Enjoy a ride or hike during the day, order takeout from your favorite restaurant, and then tune in to experience exciting adventure films from your own living room.”
About Oregon Hospitality Foundation
The Oregon Hospitality Foundation (OHF) was established in 1992 and is a nonprofit 501c3 that supports the charitable relief needs and ongoing educational and training requirements of Oregon’s Hospitality industry. OHF’s partners include restaurants, lodging, attractions, and other tourism businesses and organizations throughout Oregon. Recently, OHF created the Oregon Hospitality Help Fund as an emergency relief fund to raise money for its hospitality partners whose businesses and employees are struggling during the pandemic. For more information about supporting our work with a donation or sponsorship, please visit www.oregonhospitalityfoundation.org and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
About Cycle Oregon
Cycle Oregon is a nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming individuals and communities through bicycling. For riders who want an unparalleled Oregon bicycle experience at their own pace, Cycle Oregon hosts a series of fully supported rides that offer a unique perspective of the state, all the while managing every last detail. Proceeds from events go to the Cycle Oregon Fund, which to date has resulted in 325 grant awards totalling over $2.3 MM for Oregon communities. For more information, please visit www.cycleoregon.com.
About Filmed by Bike Festival
Filmed by Bike was founded in 2003 by Ayleen Crotty as a Portland film festival to celebrate the local cycling and filmmaking community. This year, the festival celebrates its 18th year with a successful touring film program as well as a weekend-long interactive YouTube Livestream event in September. For more information please visit www.filmedbybike.org.
Lisa Hill, email@example.com, (503) 730-8055
ORLA is hosting another series of virtual town halls and all hospitality industry members and partners are invited to participate.
The purpose of these virtual meetings is to provide a summary of the latest industry intelligence from the Governor’s Office, as well as from state and local leaders as we continue operations during Phase 2. We will review Public Health Guidelines, best practices, ORLA resources, and engage local operators about what strategies have been working since reopening.
We want to continue to keep businesses connected and feeling supported as we move through these challenging times. If you are interested in an overview of the latest Government Affairs updates and participating in a discussion about industry resources and guidance, this virtual meeting is for you.
To RSVP or if you have any questions, please contact your Membership Representative below and include any questions or comments you would like considered as part of our conversations.
Upcoming Virtual Town Hall Meetings:
Thursday, July 16 - 9:30-10:30 am
Polk, Marion, Benton, Linn Counties
RSVP to Greg Staneruck
Monday, July 20 - 10:00-11:00 am
Washington / Columbia / Yamhill Counties
RSVP to Greg Staneruck
Tuesday, July 21 - 3:00-4:00 pm
Coos, Curry, Douglas, Deschutes, Jackson, Jefferson, Josephine, Klamath, and Lane Counties
RSVP to Terry Hopkins
Wednesday, July 29 - 2:00-3:00 pm
Clatsop, Tillamook, and Lincoln Counties
RSVP to Greg Staneruck
Recent Virtual Town Hall Meetings
If you missed a town hall and would like to watch/listen to the recording, please contact Glenda Hamstreet at GHamstreet@OregonRLA.org.
Wednesday, April 22 – 9:30-10:30 am
Washington / Columbia / Yamhill Counties
RSVP to Greg Staneruck
Wednesday, April 22 – 1:30-2:30 pm
Baker City / Eastern Oregon
RSVP to Steve Scardina
Thursday, April 23 – 11:00 am-12:00 pm
RSVP to Steve Scardina
Thursday, April 23 – 2:45-3:45 pm
Coos, Curry, Douglas, Deschutes, Jackson, Jefferson, Josephine, Klamath, and Lane Counties
RSVP to Terry Hopkins
Friday, April 24 – 9:30-10:30 am
Benton / Linn Counties
RSVP to Greg Staneruck
Wednesday, May 13 – 9:30-10:30 am
RSVP to Greg Staneruck
Wednesday, May 13 – 3:00-4:00 pm
So. Oregon, South Coast
RSVP to Terry Hopkins
Oregon Hospitality Foundation Awards Funds to Support Restaurants’ Charitable Work
“Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity, not a threat” - Steve Jobs
Restaurants are selling groceries, hotels and airlines are relaxing cancellation policies, breweries and distillers are making home deliveries, and most everybody has become proficient with unmuting/muting themselves for Zoom meetings.
As our partners have sought to quickly adjust to shifting conditions with innovative solutions, so has your foundation. With the March 16 ban on indoor dining and large party gatherings, the ensuing stay at home order, and the sudden and staggering layoffs that followed, we realized that our role as Oregon hospitality industry’s nonprofit could also evolve.
Expanded Purpose and Creating Opportunities
We felt that seeking grants and collaborating with philanthropic donors could potentially enable us to offer financial relief and direct technical support to our partners. Before we could proceed with these strategies, we had to legally expand our purpose to include charitable support. On March 31st, the foundation’s Board of Directors met to approve an additional philanthropic focus to our mission and expanded our Articles of Incorporation filed with Oregon’s Secretary of State.
A New Name
In the same meeting, the board approved a new name for ORLA’s Education Foundation which would better reflect the diversity of partnerships that our workforce, educational, and now philanthropic projects include. Meet the Oregon Hospitality Foundation (OHF)! The resolution was approved the following week by ORLA’s Board of Directors. OregonHospitalityFoundation.org
Big Hearts and New Partnerships
Even with restaurants having to lay off staff and either close operations entirely or quickly pivot to the takeout/delivery model, I was inspired, though not surprised, by the focus they also had to help support their community’s food needs.
Without work, and with unemployment benefits slow to arrive, there was suddenly an overwhelming number of people experiencing food insecurity. I noticed how many restaurants were rising to meet those needs by offering meals–many of which were funded from their own dwindling cash reserves.
Simultaneously, I became aware of a virtual benefit for theaters. It was hosted and streamed online by filmmakers from PHOENIX OREGON and I participated. I fell in love with the film’s premise, its encouraging message, and the portrayal of one of the movie’s central characters, a chef, who epitomized the entrepreneurial and passionate nature of many restaurateurs. (If you have not seen it yet, I highly recommend: PhoenixOregonMovie.com).
I reached out to Annie Lundgren, the producer, to see if she was interested in collaborating on something similar for the food industry. Just a few quick weeks later, we were launching the foundation’s first fundraiser, Takeout & A Movie. This joint effort, which ran from May 7-17, was a benefit for restaurants who were serving meals to our front-line heroes and to those experiencing food insecurity. It was conceived with triple benefits in mind—drive takeout throughout the state, donate cash to eligible restaurants and provide work for their employees, and provide meals.
Response was strong; see a story run by KOIN 6 TV at bit.ly/KOIN6TakeoutStory. Over 650 tickets were sold. Comments from ticket purchasers were heart-warming and included:
The event has not only resulted in new relationships that will help us create additional fundraisers but has been an amazingly rich and grounding experience for me personally. I have had the privilege of working with so many kind and generous people who are passionate about their work, while helping others, and who prove that #StrongerTogether is much more than a hashtag.
The foundation felt it important to use 100 percent of proceeds the OHF received from the Takeout promotion to benefit eligible restaurants because we wanted to make a significant impact with our first fundraising effort. Thanks to ticket sales, contributions from individuals and the Oregon Hospitality Foundation, and a generous donation from Grubhub, we were able to provide funds for an estimated 11,500 meals to restaurants who are committed to supporting our frontline heroes and those experiencing food insecurity.
First Award Recipients
We’re happy to announce the first ten recipients of our fundraising effort. More awards, made to restaurants throughout the state, will soon follow along with an announcement of our next movie fundraiser. Thank you for your support!
See the press release for full details at Oregonrla.org/hospitalityhelp. Also, at press time, there were still funds available to award. If you, or anyone you know, fit the criteria please apply at Oregonrla.org/takeoutapp.
As you probably have realized from your own experiences the past couple months, innovation is not something that can be accomplished alone. None of what OHF has accomplished thus far would be have been possible without the enthusiastic support of ORLA’s crew and the people and organizations below that expand and make our team even stronger.
Unfortunately, looking toward the upcoming fiscal year, the foundation anticipates a 75 percent drop in revenue due to contract funding changes. Your in-kind and financial contributions are greatly appreciated so that we may sustain and continue our good work. | Wendy Popkin, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association, Oregon Hospitality Foundation
“Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you’ll be able to see further” - Thomas Carlyle
Wendy Popkin is the Executive Director of the Oregon Hospitality Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the restaurant and lodging industry’s education and training needs as well as providing charitable work, economic relief, and technical assistance to the industry. Wendy is a 30+-year career veteran who describes herself as “fanatically enthusiastic about helping others enjoy the same type of fabulous career opportunities I have enjoyed in the hospitality industry.” Oregonrla.org/Foundation
ORLA is advising all industry members to follow all guidelines announced by the Oregon Health Authority and the Governor’s Office. Face coverings for employees and customers as stipulated in guidance documents are critical and must be taken seriously.
We know restaurants across this state will do whatever they can to make sure customers and employees are complying with face covering regulations. We hope fines will be imposed on customers, not businesses as a matter of common sense when customers forcibly refuse to wear face masks causing confrontational problems with industry employees - many of which are young Oregonians learning customer service and problem-solving skills as part of a first-time job.
Update: Effective July 15, face coverings are required outdoors.
For quick reference, see the following guidance:
As always, if you have questions related to guidance and best practices for restaurant and lodging operations, reach out to your statewide association.
New research shows coronavirus continues to devastate restaurant industry
New research from the National Restaurant Association indicates that the restaurant industry has lost $120 billion in sales during the last three months due to the impact of coronavirus in the United States. State mandated stay-at-home policies and forced closures of restaurant dining rooms resulted in losses of $30 billion in March, $50 billion in April, and another $40 billion in May.
The latest operator survey conducted by the NRA drew more than 3,800 responses, illustrating the extensive damage to restaurant businesses since the outbreak began. It found that the restaurant industry, which experienced the most significant sales and job losses of any industry in the country in the first quarter of 2020, expects to lose $240 billion by the year-end.
New report by Oxford Economics with state-by-state TLT revenue breakdown
As a result of the sharp drop in travel demand from COVID-19, state and local tax revenue from hotel operations will drop by $16.8 billion in 2020, according to a new report by Oxford Economics released today by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA).
Hotels have long served as an economic engine for communities of all sizes, from major cities, to beach resorts, to small towns off the interstate—supporting job creation, small business opportunities and economic activity in states and localities where they operate. Hotels also generate significant tax revenue for states and local governments to fund a wide array of government services. In 2018, the hotel industry directly generated nearly $40 billion in state and local tax revenue across the country.
Oregon is expected to see a total state and local tax revenue loss of $171.7 million. Download the AHLA/Oxford Economic Report of the state-by-state breakdown for tax revenue impact and revenue loss. These tax impacts represent the direct tax revenue decrease from the severe drop in hotel occupancy, including occupancy, sales, and gaming taxes. These figures do not include the potential, significant, knock-on effects on property taxes supported by hotels (nearly $9B).
Our industry is uniquely positioned to provide ongoing leadership and promote solidarity at a time of grief and ongoing challenge. We are an industry with more minority-owned and female-owned businesses than any other industry and we will continue to embrace diversity with open arms.
Oregon’s restaurant and lodging industry is about building communities–inclusive of all. We stand with all people of color as we grieve the death of George Floyd. We will not tolerate racism, discrimination or hatred and we will take more proactive steps to make sure we are leading by example. We want to personally thank Michele Leedom with Clinton Street Consulting for engaging ORLA’s professional staff in a series of training sessions devoted to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) competency. Our sessions started earlier this year before COVID-19 and will continue upon the reopening of the ORLA offices. In addition, we look forward to providing this training within Oregon’s new Tourism Leadership Academy program which is scheduled to launch this Summer after being delayed due to the pandemic and restrictions on gatherings.
We need to do more and we will do more to be a part of the change that must take place in American society.
Get Certified through the Office for Business Inclusion and Diversity
Some government projects have specific requirements or targets for their contracts to be awarded to minority-owned, women-owned, service-disabled veteran-owned businesses, and emerging small businesses. The primary goal of Certification Office for Business Inclusion and Diversity (COBID) is to level the playing field by providing certified firms a fair opportunity to compete for government contracts regardless of owner ethnicity, gender, disability, or firm size.
Discover which certifications you qualify for. Once certified, you are added to a database searched by many municipalities, state, and pseudo-government agencies, increasing your opportunities to compete for public contracting. Certifying your business for as many certifications as qualified for helps make it possible to grow and overcome barriers.
Learn more about getting certified by visiting the Certification Office for Business Inclusion and Diversity online.
OREGON HOSPITALITY FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES FIRST AWARDS TO RESTAURANTS FEEDING FRONTLINE WORKERS AND FOOD INSECURE CITIZENS DURING PANDEMIC
Takeout & A Movie’s first virtual screening of PHOENIX OREGON provided the funding for 11,500 meals through a grant from the Grubhub Community Relief Fund, ticket sales and OHF support.
PORTLAND, Oregon – May 27, 2020 – While the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting everyone, the hospitality industry was the first hit by closures and one that has been most devastated by its impact. The Oregon Hospitality Foundation (OHF) is proud to announce its first round of awards to restaurants throughout Oregon who responded to the incredible need for food and created innovative programs to help feed their communities – from essential workers to unemployed restaurant staff and food-insecure neighbors. In addition to the generous support from the Grubhub Community Relief Fund, OHF will donate proceeds from its virtual event series, Takeout & A Movie to support statewide restaurants that are making a difference in our communities. Future movie events will support other initiatives such as culinary training programs.
According to the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association, as of April 2020, 81% of restaurant employees, approximately 127,000 people in Oregon, had been laid off or furloughed. “Being of service is at the heart of the hospitality industry,” said OHF Executive Director Wendy Popkin. “The Oregon Hospitality Foundation is proud to help raise funds and contribute to family-owned restaurants across the state who are stepping up to meet the needs of people in their communities.”
OHF Hospitality Help Fund Restaurant Awards
The first round of restaurants to receive funds for their work to feed frontline workers, food insecure citizens, and unemployed service industry professionals, include:
Oregon restaurants interested in applying for these funds can complete an online application here.
Takeout & A Movie Event Helps to Fund over 11,500 Meals
OHF’s new fundraising event, Takeout & A Movie kicked off in May with its first virtual screening of the film PHOENIX OREGON followed by a Q&A with the film’s directors and actors, hosted by OHF Executive Director Wendy Popkin. The successful event was a partnership with Joma Film’s Annie Lundgren. Via a generous donation from the Grubhub Community Relief Fund, event ticket sales and money contributed from OHF, enough money was raised to fund an estimated 11,500 meals. The next movie in the series will be announced in June.
About Oregon Hospitality Foundation
The Oregon Hospitality Foundation (OHF) was established in 1992 and is a nonprofit 501c3 that supports the charitable relief needs and ongoing educational and training requirements of Oregon’s Hospitality industry. OHF’s partners include restaurants, lodging, attractions and other tourism businesses and organizations throughout Oregon. Recently, OHF created the Oregon Hospitality Help Fund as an emergency relief fund to raise money for its hospitality partners whose businesses and employees are struggling during the pandemic. For more information about supporting our work with a donation or sponsorship, please visit www.oregonhospitalityfoundation.org and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
Lisa Hill, Lisa@lisahillpr.com, 503.730.8055
Oregon’s lodging industry continues to reel from the devastating impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Following the Governor's announcement last week on the prohibition of large gatherings through the end of September, ORLA sent a letter to the Governor's Office seeking clarity so we can do our best to plan for changes in travel demand over the coming months. Read letter.
Local governments in many ways are direct partners of lodging establishments across Oregon. There is a direct correlation between the detrimental economic impacts felt by the lodging sector and the loss of revenue relied upon in normal times for cities and counties to balance their fiscal year budgets.
Given the cascading impact on both the public and private sectors, ORLA is asking for additional clarity and guidance on the following travel related topics:
Together we can accomplish a great deal in providing uniform communication for Oregonians seeking safety and guidance as they embrace a new normal focused on societal responsibility.
Oregon Hospitality Foundation teams with Theatrical-At-Home to present unique fundraiser Takeout & A Movie May 8-12, 2020
Proceeds benefit restaurants who are serving our frontline heroes and to those experiencing food insecurity
Across Oregon (April 29, 2020) – The Oregon Hospitality Foundation announced it will team with Theatrical-At-Home to create a virtual watch party and fundraising event, Takeout & A Movie. The event, Saturday, May 9th, 2020 starts with streaming of the Oregon-made film, PHOENIX OREGON, at 5:00 pm followed by a live Q&A with its cast and crew at 7:00 pm. For those who are unable to attend May 9th, streaming access is available through May 17.
All virtual movie ticket sales will be generously split with the Oregon Hospitality Foundation who will distribute 100% of their proceeds to Oregon restaurants who are feeding our frontline heroes and those with food insecurity. The Foundation is contributing $10,000 of its own funds to this effort.
“We see multiple benefits that include creating a special occasion to share this inspiring and humorous movie with family and friends, supporting community restaurants via takeout, providing funding for restaurants who are doing philanthropic work, and giving financial support to local filmmakers,” said Wendy Popkin, Executive Director of the Oregon Hospitality Foundation.
Lundgren’s PHOENIX, OREGON is about two friends, a graphic novelist and a chef, who defy a midlife haze by seizing an unlikely opportunity to reinvent their lives by quitting their jobs to restore an old bowling alley and serve the “world's greatest pizza.” For foodies and those who just enjoy dining out, “Chef Carlos” poignantly portrays the passion that chefs have for food and their desire to create a community around their table. For all of us who need a boost during this uncertain time, the story of how the two find the courage and resilience to take new risks and keep their dreams alive is encouraging, as well as humorous. The timing of the film’s release is uncanny as an analogy to the phrase “rising like a Phoenix from the ashes.”
The film stars an impressive lineup of indie film stalwarts and comedy favorites including James Le Gros (DRUGSTORE COWBOY, LIVING IN OBLIVION), Lisa Edelstein (“House”), Jesse Borrego (“Fame,” BLOOD IN BLOOD OUT), Reynaldo Gallegos (AMERICAN SNIPER), Diedrich Bader (NAPOLEON DYNAMITE, OFFICE SPACE, “Veep”), and Kevin Corrigan (THE DEPARTED, PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, TRUE ROMANCE).
All ticket purchases will receive a one-time link to watch the movie at home as well as a free digital copy upon its official release this summer.
"The lead character is modeled after a friend of ours, a passionate chef and pizzeria entrepreneur. We see how hard he works to create great cuisine and give back to his community every day,” said PHOENIX, OREGON producer Annie Lundgren. “Especially at this time, we are excited to partner with the Oregon Hospitality Foundation to support restaurants in our local community and across the state."
Restaurants across Oregon were forced to close their dining rooms due to COVID-19 on March 17th, 2020. Since then, we have seen an 83% decline in sales from April 1-April 10, 2020, forcing industry to layoff an estimated 81% of its employees. Despite these staggering losses, there are many who are struggling to survive on takeout/delivery/drive-through alone and yet are still striving to serve those in need.
To purchase a ticket, go to https://phoenixoregonmovie.com/takeout, and join the social conversations at #TakeoutAndAMovie #HospitalityHelpFund.org.
PHOENIX, OREGON is released by Aspiration Entertainment in association with Ryan Bruce Levey Film Distribution and was produced by Joma Films with Pied Piper Productions, Lui-G Films, and Sunset Dynamics.
ABOUT THE OREGON HOSPITALITY FOUNDATION
The Oregon Hospitality Foundation (OHF) serves Oregon’s hospitality industry through philanthropic as well as education and training leadership that supports the vitality of tourism’s significant contribution to the state’s economy. OHF was formed in 1992 as a 501c3 nonprofit and was formerly called the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association Education Foundation.
For more about Takeout & A Movie go to www.HospitalityHelpFund.org, and about the Foundation go to www.OregonHospitalityFoundaton
For press inquiries, please contact:
Wendy Popkin, Executive Director, Oregon Hospitality Foundation at WPopkin@OregonRLA.org or 503.331.7528
For the “Phoenix, Oregon” team, please direct interview requests to Allen Media Strategies, Burke Allen at 703.589.8960 or Burke@allenmediastrategies.com
ORLA Proposes Relief Package to Help Restaurants Save Jobs, Plan for Recovery
WILSONVILLE, OR (April 23, 2020) – No other industry has suffered more employment or sales losses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic than the restaurant and hospitality industry. According to a new national survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association, ninety-four percent of Oregon restaurant operators say they have laid off or furloughed employees since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in March. Across the nation, more than 8 million restaurant employees have been laid off or furloughed – about 2 out of every 3 restaurant employees.
“The restaurant industry and its employees have been significantly impacted by this pandemic,” said Jason Brandt, President & CEO, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA). “Restaurant owners have said existing state and federal relief programs will not enable them to keep their employees on payroll throughout the downturn. We’re calling on our elected leaders to take more action to save jobs and get the industry on track for recovery.”
Oregon findings from the survey include:
ORLA has assembled a list of proposed relief efforts for the Governor and the Legislature to take action on and start the long process of recovery for the restaurant and lodging industry. To date, over 255 Oregon hospitality businesses have signed on to show solidarity for the industry and urge lawmakers into action.
The National Restaurant Association conducted the survey from April 10-16 of more than 6,500 restaurant operators nationwide (owners/operators of eating and drinking places, which employ 12 million out of the total restaurant and foodservice workforce of 15.6 million).
Armed with this new research, the National Restaurant Association has a clearer picture of the severe challenges that lie ahead and has asked Congress for a focused solution on behalf of an industry that has been the hardest hit by the coronavirus mandates. The association submitted a restaurant industry "Blueprint for Recovery" that outlines how Congress can improve the outlook for our survival.
Visit OregonRLA.org to read ORLA’s Proposed Relief Efforts for Oregon’s hospitality industry and access the latest information and resources related to COVID-19.
April 20, 20 - Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) submitted a letter of opposition (below) to Lane County on the proposed Ordinance 20-03, requiring Lane County lodgers to accept government vouchers or payment during an emergency. ORLA believes the proposed ordinance is unnecessary and is urging Commissioners not to pass Ordinance 20-03 and work together on solutions that already exist.
We encourage lodging operators in Lane County to to submit comments on this proposal prior to the public hearing.
Free Professional Development and Food Safety Courses Offered by the Restaurant and Lodging Industry and Scholarships for Continuing Education
Coronavirus is on everyone’s mind as its effects are being felt around the world. We are all concerned for the health and safety of our families, friends, and colleagues.
While positions in hospitality, like many industries, may be currently unavailable for employment, ours is one that that is known for its particular resilience. When it is once again safe, we believe that there will be pent up desire to travel and to dine out. These desires will create a need to hire skilled employees who can ‘hit the ground running’ and can fully participate in the evolving business models that are being created.
The American Hotel & Lodging Foundation (AHLA Foundation) and the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation (NRAEF) are both offering complimentary access to several food safety and professional development online courses detailed below. The intent is to help support hospitality employees who are finding themselves at home with time to invest in their education, but who are lacking the funds to do so. Courses are focused on the foodservice and hotel industries.
Scholarships are also being offered to hotel industry employees to help them pay for AHLA certifications that are not being offered for free and/or to pursue education goals such as earning a GED.
Questions about eligibility:
Q: Who is eligible to take each of the free courses offered?
A: Anyone who would like to take these courses may take them!
Q: Is there a limit to the number of courses someone can take from each entity?
A: There are no limits to how many courses someone may take.
Q: Who is eligible for a scholarship offered by the American Hotel & Lodging Foundation?
A: Please see the two different types of scholarships, and the qualifications for each, below.
More information about free training and scholarships can be found here: OregonRLA.org/freetraining.
We are proud to be partners in an industry that is seeking to take care of our furloughed employees in many ways, including this offer. We appreciate you sharing with anyone who can spread the word to individuals who can benefit.
Wendy Popkin, Executive Director
Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association Education Foundation