March 2019 - Now that tip pooling is legal with back of the house employees, ORLA has launched a Restaurant Compensation Solutions Committee to review various tools being implemented in restaurant operations across the state. These tools include mandatory service charges, tip pooling policies based on sales that assist in compensating kitchen staff, and dual tip lines notating tip options for both servers and kitchen staff.
ORLA is in the process of exploring these various options with a plan to upload examples of these various solutions in the coming months. Stay tuned for more information this Summer and Fall.
> Download ORLA's Tip Pooling info sheet
> NRA Webinar: Tipped Employees and Side Work Under the FLSA
June 2018 - Employers are once again allowed to expand tip pools and share tips among a broader range of employees including back-of-the-house employees. Although the Supreme Court denied our certiorari petition in the National Restaurant Association et al v. U.S. Department of Labor et al case, the decision leaves in place a lower court ruling affirming the tip rule’s legality.
A federal spending bill passed March 23rd abolished a 2011 federal regulation that prohibited tip pooling in all circumstances with non-customarily tipped employees. Employers are once again allowed to expand tip pools and share the tips among a broader range of employees in states where employers don’t take a tip credit. This change now allows tip sharing among both customarily and non-customarily tipped employees, including dishwashers and cooks.
However, there is one area still of concern to our industry, the words “supervisor” and “manager” were not defined in this spending bill. A number of industry members have hybrid approaches to their service positions. Supervisors and managers in some of Oregon’s smallest restaurant operations commonly serve guests and have participated in front-of-the-house tip pools as a part of a team approach to foodservice.
The Department of Labor (DOL) is moving forward with the process to roll-back the Obama-era rule with its recent release of a Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB), which provides our industry with much needed clarity. The FAB instructs employers to use the “duties test” to determine who qualifies as a supervisor or manager, and establish tip pool eligibility. Essentially, if an employee earns most of their pay through tips, but also has a limited supervisory role, they are still allowed to participate in a tip pool.
Given the ambiguity from DOL, tip pooling policies should be carefully reviewed with counsel before implementation to insure compliance with all applicable requirements.
For additional questions, contact Greg Astley, Director of Government Affairs, at 503.682.4422.
Oregon’s lodging tax investments could be drastically reduced if Senate Bill 595 passes.
If successful, SB 595 would eradicate the critical lodging tax reforms of 2003 by taking 30% of our industry’s 70% of any new or increased lodging tax implemented since July 2, 2003, and allowing local governments to redirect those funds for “affordable workforce housing” projects. The result would allow only 40% of new or increased local lodging taxes to be protected for tourism promotion and tourism-related facilities.
ORLA was at the table in November supporting Measure 102, giving communities across Oregon greater flexibility to create the workforce housing they need. ORLA continues to be willing and ready to engage in productive conversations about alternative solutions that can benefit communities and foster economic development without targeting one industry.
The Senate Committee on Housing held a public hearing for SB 595 on February 18. We need lodging industry members to take action now!
Email members of the Senate Committee on Housing and tell them how important the 70% protections are to growing Oregon’s tourism economy. Urge them to consider alternatives to workforce housing initiatives.
• Senator Shemia Fagan, Chair: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Senator Dallas Heard, Vice-Chair: email@example.com
• Senator Jeff Golden, Member: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Senator Tim Knopp, Member: email@example.com
• Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson, Member: firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more about the bills ORLA is engaged and/or tracking this session at OregonRLA.org/billtracking.
If you have any questions on this bill, please reach out to me via email at JBrandt@OregonRLA.org or call me directly at 503.302.5060.
House Bill (HB) 2020, the “Cap and Trade” bill, would raise prices on users of natural gas which include restaurants, lodging properties and manufacturers around the state. This legislation could increase the cost of living for Oregonians by $50 to $125 a month, give appointed officials the authority to increase taxes without a vote of the people or Legislature and drive thousands of jobs away from the state.
Oregon is one of the lowest carbon emitting states in the nation, and we’re getting lower. We just enacted ground-breaking new climate policies on transportation and electricity generation, we should give these new laws a chance to work.
Without an exemption for natural gas, hotels and restaurants will pay significantly more money. Along with increases in minimum wage, paid sick leave and possibly paid family leave, the hospitality industry is being crushed under over-burdensome regulations and there is no sign it’s going to end anytime soon.
Please consider emailing members of the Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction and let them know you oppose HB 2020 which will hurt your business and increase prices to customers. Urge them to Vote “No.”
To submit testimony to Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction:
ALERT 2.12.19 - The Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction announced four public hearing dates for House Bill 2020 - tell your lawmakers that we can’t afford cap and trade.
ORLA encourages restaurants and hotels to testify at the hearings about how this would impact their operations. More information about the proposal as well as talking points are available upon request. If you are interested in providing testimony, contact Greg Astley, ORLA Director of Government Affairs, at 503.851.1330.
The joint committee will host public hearings where Oregonians will be able to voice their opinions and ask questions about the bill. Additionally, there will be a public hearing on February 25 where the Salem-based committee will accept live, remote testimony from around the state.
Reasons to Oppose House Bill 2020: Cap and Trade:
The five dates and locations are listed below:
These feedback opportunities are in addition to two public hearings on February 15 and 18 in Salem before the committee.
Protecting Our Industry
During this session ORLA will be tracking several bills and engaging on those particularly to the hospitality industry. Members are encouraged to stay informed and engaged on the issues by subscribing to ORLA communications. If you have any questions, contact Greg Astley, Director of Government Affairs, at Astley@OregonRLA.org.
Update: Dec. 5, 2018 - Portland City Council passed a new ordinance to reduce the automatic distribution of single-use plastics in Portland. The City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) worked with the Mayor’s office to research the policies of other cities, conduct a series of workgroup meetings, analyze community feedback and land on a policy recommendation.
The ordinance will include restrictions on plastic service ware (defined as straws, stirrers, utensils and condiment packaging) for the following situations, when applicable to the food and beverage order:
The workgroup consisted of a representative from ORLA, restaurant owners, wholesalers, a medical facility, American Disability Act (ADA) straw users, and environmental advocates. “The Portland restaurant community appreciates the City keeping the ordinance “by-request,” respecting the need for single-use plastics for our customers, especially those in the disabled community. Portland restaurants recognize the need to reduce plastics in the waste stream balanced with the needs of our guests,” noted Greg Astley, ORLA's Director of Government Affairs.
Notification and outreach to businesses will begin in January 2019, and the ordinance will go into effect on July 1, 2019.
Visit www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/reduceplastics for more information.
Nov. 30, 2018 - Three ORLA members recently served on a workgroup convened by Mayor Ted Wheeler to craft policy related to Single-Use Disposable Plastics (SUD’s) in the City of Portland. The workgroup also included members of the Surfrider Foundation, environmentalists, community members, members of the disabled community and city staff.
The Mayor tasked the workgroup with creating an ordinance around plastic straws but encouraged the group to look beyond just straws as well. Concerns about liability, lack of access to medically necessary plastic straws, and proceeding cautiously led to an “on request” policy for plastic straws for dine-in restaurants. For delivery and take-out orders, employees will need to ask if patrons need utensils or condiment packets before placing any in the take-out carrier or bag.
Specifically, all retail food and beverage establishments and institutional cafeterias, where beverages may be consumed at dine-in areas, shall provide plastic straws and stirrers only after customer request as of July 1, 2019.
Further, as of July 1, 2019, all retail food and beverage establishments and institutional cafeterias, where customers may order take-out and delivery, shall provide plastic utensils and condiment packaging only after asking if the customer needs plastic utensils and condiment packaging and the customer responds affirmatively. This requirement applies to face to face, phone and electronic orders.
Plastic service ware is defined as single-use plastic straws, stirrers, utensils and condiment packaging. Condiment packaging is defined as plastic packaging used to deliver single-serving condiments to customers. This includes but is not limited to single-serving plastic packaging for ketchup, mustard, relish, mayonnaise, hot sauce, coffee creamer, salad dressing, jelly and jam and soy sauce.
For more information:
ORLA Informs Portland City Council of Efforts the Industry is Already Making to Reduce Plastics Use
In July, a work group was formed to discuss policy options to reduce single-use plastics. The work group consisted of restaurants, wholesalers, a medical facility, American Disability Act (ADA) straw users, environmental advocates and ORLA. Among the policy recommendations that came out of the group was a single-use plastic by request policy that would affect all retail food and drink businesses.
ORLA has been actively engaged in these work groups for several months and earlier today Greg Astley, ORLA Director of Government Affairs, attended the Portland City Council Meeting where a "by-request" plastics ordinance was being voted on. The following is testimony submitted on behalf of ORLA:
"Thank you for the opportunity to speak today and for the invitation for our members, restaurant owners and operators, to be a part of the workgroup and the discussion leading to today’s proposed ordinance. We appreciate being involved in the conversation from the start to help shape policy that works for everyone.
As consumers become more aware of the issues of single-use disposables in the waste stream, plastic waste reduction and the restrictions on recycling, restaurants and their suppliers have responded to the requests to reduce use of these items.
In just the last year, two major vendors to restaurants and food service establishments report significant reductions in the ordering of plastic straws. In one case, more than a third fewer straws are being ordered by food service establishments and local restaurants.
Some of our members in Portland are already voluntarily reducing usage with their own by-request straw policies, replacement of plastic straws with alternatives and by asking customers who are getting take-out whether they need plastic utensils.
Hotels and bars are also voluntarily reducing their plastic straw usage. Many of them are already promoting the fact they are a “by-request” restaurant or bar with signage and materials on tables.
Having the option to offer plastic straws to our customers who may be disabled or impaired in some way and whose safety may be at risk with metal or wooden straws is important to us too. We’ve heard from members of the disabled community who need plastic straws as an option for their own well-being and we want to be able to accommodate them.
Portland’s restaurants, hotels and bars are cornerstones in our community. They give generously to worthy causes, feed the hungry and provide a place where people can meet and break bread together. The people who own, manage and run them are Portlanders too and they care about the environment and are sensitive to customers’ requests and feelings. With so many other challenges facing the people running restaurants, hotels and bars, we appreciate the Council’s consideration and approval of a by-request ordinance coupled with education and outreach to our customers."
ORLA Engaged in Local and Statewide Measures and Races
A week after the election, there are still some races across the nation undecided or in the middle of a recount to determine winners. Here in Oregon though, the ballots are counted, and the results are definitive.
Governor Kate Brown (D) beat her opponent, State Representative and physician Knute Beuhler (R), giving her the opportunity to serve four more years in the office. With final numbers still to be reported, according to the Oregon Secretary of State’s website, the two raised and spent a record $36 million in this race.
Democrats in Oregon won big victories and now officially have a supermajority in both the House and the Senate for the first time since 2009. ORLA believes the best policy occurs when there is more parity in the two chambers which can result in more compromise between legislators. The 2019 Legislative Session could see more partisanship or less depending on how Democrats choose to leverage their position in the House, Senate, and Governor’s office.
ORLA’s upcoming legislative priorities will be discussed and approved at our combined Public Policy Committee meeting on December 11th here at the ORLA offices in Wilsonville. Members can RSVP to join us from 1:30-3:00 p.m. by emailing Glenda Hamstreet at GHamstreet@oregonrla.org.
ORLA took a position on four of the five statewide ballot measures in this election cycle. We supported Measures 102 (Affordable Housing), 103 (Keep Our Groceries Tax Free) and 104 (Requirements for Raising Taxes) with only Measure 102 passing. In addition, we were opposed to Measure 105 (Repeal State Sanctuary Law) which was defeated.
In local ballot measures, ORLA was opposed to Portland’s Measure 26-201 (Gross Receipts Tax) which passed. We were also opposed to a local sales tax on meals in Jacksonville which was soundly defeated 65%-35%.
In another local race, Bambuza owner Daniel Nguyen, won a seat on the Lake Oswego City Council and will begin serving January 1, 2019.
The team at ORLA very much appreciates all of our members who contributed to the ORLA Political Action Committee (ORLAPAC) and allowed us to participate in a meaningful way in these important races. Your support and contributions will be needed even more in the future as we look ahead already to the 2020 election cycle.
Update: Metro has updated draft administrative rules to guide the implementation of its business food scraps separation policy, adopted by the Metro Council on July 26. The draft administrative rules were available for public comment through Friday, Sept. 28. Read more.
Portland Area Businesses to Be Subject to Food Scrap Policy
As part of ORLA's ongoing engagement with Metro on the food scraps, ORLA President & CEO Jason Brandt and Director of Business Development Marla McColly recently testified at Metro’s public hearing against the proposed food scrap mandate. ORLA and our members have been involved in the past in the voluntary collection of food scraps and we testified to that fact and the fact that participants in the past have exceeded the goals set by Metro. (Read ORLA's comments)
We also raised concerns about the logistics of food scrap collections across the Metro area, about the implementation dates and about issues around public health and safety if food scraps are not picked up in a timely manner. In addition to ORLA there was opposition to the plan from local governments in both Sherwood and Hillsboro, citing the lack of analysis on the costs to implement the new mandate and the ability of local governments (especially in Washington County) to efficiently dispose of food waste. Despite ORLA’s efforts and those of local governments, Metro Council voted in favor of the staff recommendation for a food scrap mandate on a 7-0 vote.
The mandate is scheduled to start on March 1, 2020 and will be implemented based on the amount of food waste generated by businesses. ORLA will continue to monitor the implementation of this program and provide information to our members. As the program is rolled out, if you experience problems or have concerns, please share those with Greg Astley, ORLA Director of Government Affairs, at Astley@oregonrla.org so we can keep Metro informed as to the effectiveness and success of their mandate.
In the news
Oregon has a strong track record of enhancing tourism and creating thousands of jobs that trigger local economic growth while making Oregon a top travel destination. That is why we are supporting Measure 104 – it will ensure tax fairness for businesses and consumers.
Join the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association and protect the entrepreneurial spirit that brings award-winning plates from chefs who use Oregon’s farm fresh Marionberries and hazelnuts, salmon and crab and thousands of handcrafted beers and wines.
Unfortunately, this entrepreneurial spirit is under attack.
New taxes on beer, coffee, food, and soda have become common amongst politicians in Salem, as they search for new revenue, despite record spending levels.
How are politicians gaming the system and getting around the law?
Over 20 years ago Oregon voters passed a constitutional amendment requiring a supermajority vote on all revenue-raising legislation. But now, thanks to a creative loophole found by politicians and their lawyers, politicians have changed the rules to avoid the supermajority vote designed to protect taxpayers from increased taxes on food and beverages.
This year, politicians used this trick to steal $1 billion from small businesses on a simple-majority vote, eliminating lower tax rates for hardworking, family-owned businesses throughout Oregon. That isn’t right and it needs to be stopped.
A "Yes" vote on Measure 104:
Supporting Measure 104 will help prevent partisan gamesmanship and ensure tax fairness for Oregonians. Join us in protecting the Oregon way and the entrepreneurial spirit that makes Oregon a great place to live, visit, work and play.
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association encourages a "Yes” vote on Measure 104.
Here's how you can help:
For more information on volunteering for the campaign download the Volunteer Info flyer.
Contact the campaign: Yes@Yeson104.com | 503.974.8860 | www.yeson104.com
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) supports Measure 103 because it protects low-income Oregonians and small businesses, including restaurants, from new taxes on the sale or distribution of food and beverages, regardless of where such items are purchased.
Measure 103 specifically defines “groceries” as “any raw or processed food or beverage intended for human consumption except alcoholic beverages, marijuana products, and tobacco products.” This broad definition includes food and beverages purchased from restaurants.
Taxes on food would have a disproportionate effect on Oregonians who can least afford it, including low-income households and seniors on fixed incomes. While many states other than Oregon have sales taxes, many exempt food and beverages from those taxes for this very reason. Measure 103 protects all Oregonians from regressive and harmful taxes imposed by state and local governments on the sale of food and beverages.
Oregon currently does not have any statewide sales tax but many local governments tax certain items. Measure 103 would ensure that if new state or local sales taxes are passed in Oregon, those taxes will not apply to the sale of food and beverages. Measure 103 protects customers and businesses from the negative affects new taxes on food and beverages would have.
A meal at a restaurant or from take-out is a regular and increasing part of many Oregonians’ busy schedules. ORLA supports Measure 103 because it will ensure that such meals remain as affordable as possible without unnecessary and burdensome taxation.
Join us in voting Yes on Measure 103.
Hospitality workers make our thriving tourism industry possible. For every dollar we invest in tourism promotion, $237 comes back to Oregon in visitor spending—in addition to $11 in local/state tax revenues for important community priorities—according to third party research by Longwoods International. However, restaurant and lodging employees from Ashland to Portland, Coos Bay to Bend, are finding it more difficult to find housing close to their place of work.
Due to rising housing costs, these hard-working Oregonians are finding it more difficult to secure housing options that meet their needs. The result is long distance and congestion-filled commutes that mean less time spent with families and more money spent on transportation. Hard-working Oregonians should be able to afford to live near their job, but a lack of affordable housing options across the state is making that more difficult.
Across Oregon, there is an opportunity to lift the ban to public-private housing development partnerships that assist in solving the challenges we face. Support for Measure 102 will give local governments the opportunity to create comprehensive workforce housing proposals and present them for consideration to local voters. We believe communities deserve the right to vote on housing proposals that, if planned appropriately, can stimulate local economic growth while adding to the quality of life for hospitality workers and their families.
Measure 102 is an important, bipartisan measure that will give communities across Oregon greater flexibility to create the housing they need. By allowing local governments to partner with non-profit and private housing providers, any bond dollars they raise specifically for affordable housing will be able to go further, creating more affordable homes. This measure is a small tweak that will have a big impact in the lives of Oregonians.
Please join us in voting Yes for Measure 102.
Measure 105 would repeal the state law, Oregon Revised Statute 181A.820, which forbids state agencies, including law enforcement, from using state resources or personnel to detect or apprehend persons whose only violation of the law is that of federal immigration law.
Measure 105 would allow any law enforcement agency to use agency funds, equipment, and personnel to detect and apprehend people whose only violation of the law is a violation of federal immigration law.
ORLA's position, which has been in place for several years and which the ORLA Policy Committee reconfirmed at their meeting on September 10, 2018, is that Immigration is a national issue and ORLA supports the viewpoint that reform should be addressed at the federal level, not in a piecemeal approach by individual states.
Comprehensive immigration reform must include all aspects of immigration issues—border security, worker supply and employee verification—which means that Congress is the only political body which can actually solve the immigration problem. State and local governments only make a solution more complex by trying to pass their own laws. ORLA is opposed to random, individual pieces of immigration reform and supports Congress working together on a national level to enact comprehensive reform.
For this reason, ORLA says No to Measure 105.
The public is invited to join Andrea Valderrama, Carmen Rubio, Latino Network, Forward Together and PCUN to Support Oregonians United Against Profiling at an even in Portland next month:
Oregonians United Against Profiling Happy Hour
White Owl Social Club, 1305 SE 8th Ave Portland OR 97214
October 10th, 4:30-6:30 pm
RSVP and donate here
It has long been held that federally recognized Native American tribes are considered sovereign nations that hold the right to self-government within the boundaries of their tribal lands. This includes the right to engage in economic activity on reservation lands, specifically gambling.
While tribal casinos are largely thought of as competition only to state lotteries, the truth is they enjoy a competitive advantage in comparison to other hospitality industry businesses as well. Oregon has some of the highest labor costs in the nation, and the rising costs associated with employee benefits is creating an escalating challenge for Oregon’s restaurant and lodging properties.
Local economic impact of additional casino location proposals is and will continue to be of serious concern to ORLA members. Our position since April of 2008 has been as follows: Changes to current federal and state gaming policies should not be made for the purpose of allowing off-reservation casinos, tribal or private.
For more information on ORLA’s policy relating to casinos, please contact Greg Astley.
June 27, 2018 - A measure strengthening Oregon’s required supermajority in order to increase state revenue appears that it is headed to the ballot in November. The measure clarifies that changes in tax rates, exemptions, or elimination of credits or deductions require at least three-fifths support in each chamber of the legislature.
A coalition of small business groups turned in over 174,000 signatures supporting the measure by the end of June. The coalition believes that tax and fee increases should receive support from at least three-fifths of the legislature as voters intended when they passed Ballot Measure 63 in 1998.
Do you think raising taxes on your family and homegrown Oregon companies should be as easy to approve as declaring marionberry pie the official state pie?
We didn’t think so.
The bar should be higher for the legislature to approve taking more of your hard-earned paycheck. Tax increases should always be the last option—never the first.
We have a solution. We need you to visit EndEasyTaxHikes.com/orla right now to add your name to a citizen initiative petition to prevent the legislature from using gimmicks and loopholes to raise taxes easily.
At EndEasyTaxHikes.com/orla, you can download and sign a petition—it will only take you three minutes. The website includes easy instructions to help you get signatures from your family members and colleagues as well.
With your help, ORLA and thousands of other Oregonians will place Initiative Petition 31 on the ballot this November to end easy tax hikes.
Ten years ago Oregonians smartly passed a constitutional amendment requiring any tax increase be approved by a supermajority of both the State House and State Senate. Now, since our state legislature can't get a supermajority to vote for a tax increase, they are creating and increasing "assessments" and "fees" that are really tax increases - because they only need a simple majority to implement and raise fees and assessments. We need you to visit EndEasyTaxHikes.com/ORLA and add your name to a citizen initiative petition to prevent the legislature from using gimmicks and loopholes to raise taxes easily. It's time to put a stop to this… a tax is a tax.
Oregon's Minimum Wage Continues to Rise
The 7-year minimum wage escalation plan for Oregon went into effect with the first increases on July 1, 2016. The plan includes 3 regions with different escalation methodologies over the course of those 7 years. The wage scale is as follows:
STANDARD: Includes portions of Multnomah / Clackamas / Washington Counties not within the Portland Urban Growth Boundary as well as Marion, Clatsop, Polk, Josephine, Jackson, Deschutes, Lincoln, Benton, Linn, Lane, Tillamook, Yamhill, Columbia, Hood River, and Wasco Counties.
• July 1, 2016: $9.75
• July 1, 2017: $10.25
• July 1, 2018: $10.75
• July 1, 2019: $11.25
• July 1, 2020: $12.00
• July 1, 2021: $12.75
• July 1, 2022: $13.50
PORTLAND METRO: The Portland Metro rate applies to employers located within the urban growth boundary (UGB) of the metropolitan service district. This includes portions of Multnomah / Clackamas / Washington Counties and cities including Portland, Gresham, Troutdale, Fairview, Hillsboro, Beaverton, Tigard, Tualatin, Sherwood, Forest Grove, Wilsonville, Lake Oswego, West Linn, Oregon City, Gladstone, Happy Valley, Milwaukie, and Damascus. Use Metro's Urban Growth Boundary lookup tool to determine if your address is within the UGB.
• July 1, 2016: $9.75
• July 1, 2017: $11.25
• July 1, 2018: $12.00
• July 1, 2019: $12.50
• July 1, 2020: $13.25
• July 1, 2021: $14.00
• July 1, 2022: $14.75
The Urban Growth Boundary is expanded through the process outlined in Title 14 of the Urban Growth Management Functional Plan. The process involves a needs assessment every 6 years, and as-needed review based on local jurisdiction input on a more frequent basis. For questions about the process of UGB expansions, contact Tim O’Brien at Metro.
NONURBAN: Includes Baker, Coos, Crook, Curry, Douglas, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Jefferson, Klamath, Lake, Malheur, Morrow, Sherman, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa, Wheeler counties.
• July 1, 2016: $9.50
• July 1, 2017: $10.00
• July 1, 2018: $10.50
• July 1, 2019: $11.00
• July 1, 2020: $11.50
• July 1, 2021: $12.00
• July 1, 2022: $12.50
ORLA will continue to educate Oregon’s lawmakers on the value of tip credit as a solution to bring stability to the industry and solve wage inequality issues.
Deschutes County Circuit Court Case No. 17CV41968
On September 26, 2017, the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association, BHG Bend, LLC, and Wall Street Suites, LLC (together, the “Plaintiffs”) filed suit against the City of Bend alleging that the City’s recently enacted Ordinance NS-2291 violated ORS 320.350(3) by impermissibly lowering the amount of room tax revenue expended to fund tourism promotion. Through their Complaint, the Plaintiffs sought (1) a declaration from the Court that NS-2291 violated ORS 320.350(3), and (2) an injunction preventing the City from enforcing NS-2291 and ordering the City to expend room tax revenue in accordance with ORS 320.350(3).
The City answered, denying that NS-2291 violated ORS 320.350(3). The City’s sole affirmative defense was that the Plaintiffs each lacked standing to challenge the validity of NS-2291. After limited discovery was concluded, Plaintiffs and Defendants filed cross-motions for summary judgment. On May 8, 2018, the parties’ motions were heard by the Hon. Judge Beth Bagley. Plaintiffs were represented by Josh Newton. The City was represented by Ian Leitheiser.
On May 23, 2018, Judge Bagley read the Court’s decision from the bench. The Court found that each of the Plaintiffs had standing to challenge NS-2291. The Court then found that by enacting NS-2291, the City violated ORS 320.350(3) by lowering the room tax revenue expended on tourism promotion below the rate agreed upon by the City prior to the enactment of ORS 320.350(3). Karnopp Petersen is in the process of preparing an order and judgment to be entered in the action.
Once the final judgment is entered, the City may appeal the Court’s decision. The City will have 30 days from the date the final judgment is entered to file its Notice of Appeal.
ORLA thanks the firm Karnopp Petersen LLP for their excellent representation in this case.
Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association Takes Legal Action Against the City of Bend to Protect Lodging Tax Dollars Intended for Tourism Promotion
Update May 23, 2018 - A Deschutes County judge ruled that the City of Bend broke the law by redirecting restricted lodging tax dollars to street maintenance. As a result of the court hearing, $350,000 that had been reallocated to road repairs will be directed back to tourism promotion. ORLA thanks the firm Karnopp Petersen LLP for their excellent representation in this case.
On May 8, 2018, the Judge heard arguments from the city’s attorney and an attorney representing the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association and two local hotels that sued the city in September.
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) filed a lawsuit September 26, 2017, against the City of Bend for diverting the City’s room tax revenues away from tourism promotion and reducing the allocation for tourism promotion below what is required by law.
ORLA is challenging the validity and implementation of a recent Bend City Ordinance which amends the percentage of room tax revenue the City spends on the promotion of tourism and improperly diverts restricted room tax revenues to road maintenance.
“Cities must follow the restrictions in place for disbursement of the lodging tax revenues they collect,” said ORLA President & CEO Jason Brandt. “Unfortunately, Ordinance NS-2291 results in Bend being out of compliance with state law. The vast majority of tourism revenues in Bend can already be spent on general fund purposes so we hope our lawsuit results in acknowledgment from the courts that this recent act is in violation of Oregon law and must be undone.”
Bend City Ordinance NS-2291 violates state law (Oregon Revised Statue 320.350) in one or more of the following ways:
a) 9% of the City’s 10.4% city room tax rate has a set of restrictions for appropriate use of those funds. Within the 9% city room tax rate, the City is statutorily required to spend 30 percent on tourism promotion and tourism related facilities.
b) The remaining 1.4% city room tax rate is subject to a statutorily required 70% investment in tourism promotion and tourism related facilities.
“Lodging operators should be recognized as financial partners of local governments,” said Brandt. “As tourism becomes more successful, so does the tax revenue provided to local governments to invest in the projects important to local residents.”
A report from Longwoods International shows for every $1 invested in tourism promotion, $237 is generated in economic impact and $11 in tax revenue to the benefit of Oregon residents.
ORLA is engaged on a state and local level, helping local municipalities realize that shifts in tourism promotion investments can do more harm than good. Brandt argues there is a direct correlation between tourism promotion and a community’s own tax revenue. “Tourism promotion dollars are crucial to keeping Oregon’s visitor destinations top of mind. Local communities stand to lose significant tax dollars for their general funds if tourists choose to travel elsewhere.”
In 2003, the Oregon State Legislature passed HB 2267, mandating 70% of new or increased local lodging taxes be directed to tourism promotion or tourism related facilities. At that time, the City made the commitment to fund tourism promotion with 30% of the initial 9% tax rate in Bend. In 2013, the City’s residents approved Measure 9-94, which increased the City’s room tax rate from 9% to 10.4%. That 1.4% increase in tax rate is subject to the restrictions established in HB 2267. This past May the City passed an ordinance, in violation of the law, changing the allocation of tourism dollars.
“The City claims their new allocation of lodging tax dollars still follows state law. This is incorrect,” said Brandt. “There is an error in the total investment they are required to make in tourism promotions and/or facilities.”
The hospitality industry sees transportation investments as a crucial contributor to Oregon’s continued economic success. ORLA looks forward to working with Bend and other communities to help identify appropriate revenue streams to fund transportation investments including the unrestricted portion of lodging taxes.
For more information, contact ORLA President & CEO, Jason Brandt, at 971.224.1501.
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association represents approximately 2,500 members, and advocates for over 9,900 foodservice locations and 2,200 lodging establishments in Oregon. The foodservice and lodging industry is responsible for 173,700 jobs bringing in over $10.8 billion in annual sales and generates over 54% of the annual tourism dollars spent in Oregon.
Update: Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office recently announced a plan to increase the Portland business tax from 2.2% to 2.6% to pay for an additional 58 officers in the police budget. That number was reduced to 49 new officers, however the City Council agreed to hire 55 officers by the 2019-20 budget year. The tax was something of a surprise to us but does not in any way diminish our commitment to increasing the number of police officers in Portland.
The Portland Business Alliance (PBA) is supporting the increase on business taxes and agreed to step up on this tax increase in order to help address Portland’s top issue of homelessness, which impacts businesses and livability throughout the city. The additional revenue will be targeted toward measurable outcomes.
Like the Portland Business Alliance, ORLA is supportive of the focused efforts on homelessness, providing community-based policing and targeting measurable outcomes. Visitors to and residents of Portland should feel safe to walk the streets, day or night, and should believe Portland to be a place welcoming their presence and patronage.
Support for Portland Policy Bureau's Budget Request
As the City of Portland continues to be a preferred destination for many visitors regionally, nationally and internationally, it’s important they feel safe while staying in our hotels, eating at our restaurants and enjoying all we have to offer in the hospitality industry.
With the 2018-2019 budget season well underway, the Mayor’s Office is encouraging constituents with public safety concerns to give testimony in support of Portland Police Bureau’s budget request for additional officers.
The Portland Police Bureau is struggling to fulfill its mission to serve and protect due to a lack of funding and resources. As both the population of Portland and the number of visitors grows, they are being asked to do more with less. There are the fewer officers in the bureau than there were a decade ago, despite a 10 percent increase in Portland’s population. Consequently, the bureau continues to face challenges in patrol staffing, which has led to declining response times. In the last five years, total 911 call volume has increased by over 22%. These calls include a 97% increase in stolen vehicle calls, 64% increase in unwanted persons calls and a 32% increase in disorder calls.
Mayor Wheeler is proposing adding 93 additional sworn positions and 9 additional non-sworn positions at a cost of $12.3 million and a one-time funding request of $8.8 million which includes $2.6 million for technology replacement and $3.8 million for facilities enhancements. This budget request would increase the number of officer positions by approximately 10 percent--on par with Portland’s growth.
Key Points to the Proposal
The Police Bureau's budget requests for additional ongoing resources will advance the bureau’s mission and goals to provide 21st Century Policing services, to support organizational excellence and inclusion, and to rebuild their units to deliver community policing. Priorities include:
Read more on ORLA's engagement in Portland's homeless issues.
Share Your Testimony
We want to show the Mayor we support his priorities to increase public safety and police accountability to enhance livability. Submit your testimony online or attend a public hearing. If you send an email, please Cc: Astley@OregonRLA.org on your message to the City Budget Office so we can share our industry's collective feedback.
Attend a Hearing:
Budget Committee Hearing
May 10, 2018, 6:00pm - 8:30pm
Council Chambers, Portland City Hall
1221 SW 4th Ave., Portland, OR 97204
Council Action to Approve City Budget
May 16, 2018, 2:00pm
Council Chambers, Portland City Hall
1221 SW 4th Ave., Portland, OR 97204
Hospitality Business Leaders Act on Portland’s Homeless Issues
Menu Labeling Regulations Effective May 7, 2018
The final rules for menu labeling apply to restaurants and similar retail food establishments if they are part of a chain of 20 or more locations, doing business under the same name, offering for sale substantially the same menu items and offering for sale restaurant-type foods. Read the latest update on guidance for the rule: FDA Finalizes Guidance to Help Food Establishments Meet Menu Labeling Requirements.
The FDA has stated their intention to educate restaurants and foodservice establishments during this first year of implementation without issuing penalties.
In May 2017, based on comments received, FDA is extending the compliance date for menu labeling requirements from May 5, 2017 to May 7, 2018. This extension allowed for further consideration of what opportunities there may be to reduce costs and enhance the flexibility of these requirements beyond those reflected in the final rule. For more information see, the Federal Register Notice Announcing the May 7, 2018 Compliance Date.
See also National Restaurant Association's issue paper on Menu Labeling.
Metro, the agency that manages systems for handling and transporting solid waste, wants to transform how the Portland area handles food waste in an effort to convert our food scraps into renewable energy instead of burying them in a landfill.
In 2016, the Metro Council directed staff to investigate ways to do that. In fall 2017, Metro sought public comment on an initial policy proposal to keep more food scraps from restaurants, grocery stores, and other food service businesses out of landfills and put to better use creating energy, compost or other valuable products. The regional government is in the process of seeking a private company to build a plant that breaks down food waste and turns it into biogas, electricity, or compost.
ORLA is engaged in these discussions, anticipating that many restaurant owners will oppose the new mandates that would produce operational challenges.
Metro has developed a guide for businesses to reduce food waste, focusing on prevention, donation, and composting strategies. Learn more about Metro's campaign at FoodWasteStopsWithMe.org.
Read more on Metro's website
Read more in the Portland Tribune