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
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.
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.
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.
Update: “Cap and trade” has been a contentious issue for the last several sessions, with Republican lawmakers staging walkouts over the issue multiple times. With no quorum to vote on legislation, Oregon lawmakers adjourned in March 2020 for the short session. We will update you on future movement on the “cap and trade” issue.
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.
March 18, 2020
Contact: Glenda Hamstreet, Executive Coordinator
Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association
Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association responds to COVID-19 impacts on restaurant and lodging industries
Wilsonville, OR. – In light of increasing concerns around the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and recent executive orders from the Governor’s office, the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) is making every effort to address challenges facing the restaurant and lodging industry.
The lodging and foodservice industry is the second largest private-sector industry in Oregon behind healthcare and is one of the hardest hit by coronavirus-related shutdowns and policies. ORLA represents approximately 2,600 members, including over 10,220 foodservice locations and more than 2,000 lodging establishments in Oregon.
“The social distancing mandates put into place by the Governor are an important step toward ensuring the health and safety of all Oregonians,” ORLA President and CEO Jason Brandt said. “However, we cannot forget about the many families and workers whose lives depend on restaurants, lodging operations, bars, wineries and brewpubs. The foodservice and lodging industries are already seeing unprecedented numbers of layoffs as restaurants temporarily close their doors and hotels see significant declines in occupancy.”
ORLA is encouraging Oregonians to support local restaurants and hotels by ordering takeout or delivery or by purchasing gift certificates.
“Now is the time for our state to support local restaurants and hotels. If we can’t eat out, now is the time to eat in,” said Brandt. “Our industry is resilient and will get through these trying times, but we will need the help of our customers and state and local officials to do so. When purchasing gift certificates for hotels and restaurants, make sure the cash from your purchase is being received immediately by the business so they can save as many jobs as possible.”
For many restaurants, the only viable option following the Governor’s executive order was to temporarily close and lay off staff. ORLA is making every effort at this time to ensure workers and restaurant owners have the relief they need to protect jobs and ensure they are able to re-open their doors once the COVID-19 restrictions have passed.
“Our entire team at ORLA is working around the clock with state and local officials to facilitate job protection and business continuity. We have open lines of communication with the Governor’s office, the City of Portland and other public officials to work toward solutions that will mitigate the economic impacts the industry is facing at this time,” said Brandt.
In the past two days, Brandt has participated as an active member of the Governor’s Coronavirus Economic Advisory Council and presented comprehensive testimony alongside Director of Government Affairs Greg Astley to the Joint Special Committee on Coronavirus Response.
Media can obtain a copy of the comprehensive report here: COVID-19 Economic Impact on Oregon Hospitality Industry
Over the last month, hotels have seen steep declines in occupancy as events are cancelled and guests are cancelling travel plans. Travel in the Portland area is reported to be down 50% already in March and one hotel in Bend reported a loss of $600,000 in one week this month.
“If lock downs and shelter in place are put in effect, it is important the Governor, City Officials and the Legislature look at hotels as ‘Essential Services’ for planning purposes,” said Brandt. “People who are traveling or stranded will need accommodations.”
Nationally, COVID-19 is expected to result in a loss of 2.8-3.4 million jobs in the hotel industry and a decline to 25% occupancy nationwide. By comparison, the recession of 2001 and 9/11 saw 400,000 jobs lost and a decline to 59% occupancy, while the recession of ’07-’09 saw 470,000 jobs lost and 54% occupancy.
“Everyone in the hospitality industry is struggling right now. Many hotels and restaurants are having to lay off employees due to a loss of business. It is vital that federal, state and local authorities make every effort to protect those who depend on the industry for their livelihood. The need for a collective sense of urgency in driving relief solutions for small businesses and employees cannot be overstated,” said Brandt.
ORLA will continue to provide comprehensive updates and resources for the restaurant and lodging industries on their website through the duration of the pandemic: https://www.oregonrla.org/covid19_info.html.
At their most recent meeting, the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) Board of Directors voted unanimously (with 1 abstention) to support a legislative bill which will originate from Governor Brown’s office in support of a permanent 1.8% statewide lodging tax rate during the 2020 Oregon Legislative Session. Revenue raised by the statewide lodging tax is invested in Travel Oregon’s efforts to strengthen the economic impact of our state’s tourism industry. Oregon’s statewide lodging tax is currently collected at a rate of 1.8% with a reduction in the rate scheduled to take effect as of July 1, 2020 to a permanent rate of 1.5%.
“We appreciate Governor Brown’s proactive outreach to meet with ORLA and some of our key lodging stakeholders in person to discuss the merits of keeping the statewide lodging tax rate at 1.8% permanently,” said Jason Brandt, President & CEO of ORLA. “Our goals for lodging tax rate structures in Oregon are two-fold – protecting all statewide lodging tax resources to create return on investment for the industry through the efforts of Travel Oregon and protecting local lodging tax reforms passed in the 2003 Legislative Session.”
Oregon continues to experience healthy growth in tourism spending logging our ninth consecutive year of industry growth in 2018. Compared to 2017, visitor spending was up 4.2% reaching a record $12.3 billion. Industry employment was also up year over year by 2.9% to approximately 115,400. Year over year, hotel room revenue increased by 4.4% as well.
“We have seen firsthand what strategic investments in tourism promotion can do when industry tax dollars are put to their most effective use,” said Brandt. “With many other competing priorities in the Capitol, it is essential the association protects the appropriate use of these dollars at both the local and state levels. The economic impacts we are seeing are significant not just for our industry but for our public sector partners as well.”
The U.S. Travel Association tracks statewide economic impact throughout the country and assists states in quantifying the value of year over year tourism growth. The most recently available data notates Oregon’s tourism growth at 5.3% when comparing 2016 to 2017, further substantiating the value of healthy tourism growth for Oregon’s public sector. From 2016 to 2017, Oregon experienced visitor spending growth of $652 million. That increase in spending and associated payroll income tax increases equates to as many as 410 firefighter positions, 380 police officer positions, or 380 teacher positions.
ORLA continues to focus on the protection of local lodging tax dollars for tourism promotion and tourism related facilities in addition to support given to Governor Brown’s upcoming legislative bill for the statewide resource. Oregon’s local lodging tax structure can be complicated with over 110 different city and county jurisdictions collecting a transient lodging tax outside of the 1.8% statewide tax. Important guidelines have been in place for the past 16 years for how local lodging tax dollars can be spent. To clarify those parameters, ORLA recently produced a new instructional video to assist all stakeholders and the general public in better understanding the rules which govern local lodging tax resources.
The new video specific to local lodging taxes (not to be confused with Oregon’s 1.8% statewide lodging tax) can be viewed here:
For more information about the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association’s policies on transient lodging taxes, please reach out to Greg Astley, ORLA’s Director of Government Affairs, at email@example.com via email.
Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association Takes Legal Action Against the City of Bend to Protect Lodging Tax Dollars Intended for Tourism Promotion
Update November 2019: The City of Bend has appealed the decision by the Deschutes County Circuit Court after ruling in favor of ORLA and our fellow plaintiffs. Arguments for the appeal were heard on November 19, 2019, and we await further decision from the courts. The law firm Karnopp Peterson is representing ORLA through the appeals process. ORLA continues to promote the appropriate use of local lodging tax dollars by local jurisdictions.
Update May 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.
Compliance extension and clarifications to single-use plastics
Ordinance No. 189537 – passed 6/5/2019; effective 7/5/2019
The City of Portland extended the compliance date for their restrictions on single-use plastics, moving the date from July 1, 2019 to October 1, 2019. They intended to give businesses more time to adjust given the impact of SB 90, which preempts local code.
It also clarifies that plastic utensil self-service stations for restaurants with counter service will still be allowed. There is also an exemption for plastic serviceware that is attached with a beverage container by the manufacturer (e.g. juice boxes), or when an ingredient like salad dressing is packaged with single-use plastic. All meals provided as a social service to vulnerable populations are exempt.
For online orders, dining establishments must coordinate with third-party ordering services to allow for the customer to request plastic serviceware. Compostable and biodegradable plastic are included in the definition of single-use plastic and are banned, but non-plastic material serviceware is allowed.
Short-term rental registration requirements
Ordinance No. 189557 – passed 6/12/2019; effective 7/12/2019
After stalled negotiations with Airbnb and low compliance rates for short-term rental permitting, the City of Portland is following the lead of the City of Santa Monica, CA, which recently had its ordinance affirmed by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. This ordinance states that home sharing platforms must either reach a pass-through registration data-sharing agreement with the City, or they can choose hosts from a registry of City-approved and permitted rental locations.
No transaction can be completed and no fees can be collected by the home sharing platform unless the short-term rental is on the City registry, or if the home sharing platform has come to an agreement with the City on pass-through registration data-sharing.
Home sharing platforms will be charged $1,000 per illegal booking transaction per day.
Pacific Power has announced a new policy of proactively shutting down power if conditions warrant it, in an effort to prevent wildfires. "Public Safety Power Shutoffs may occur with little warning and last for several days. It is currently unknown when these outages may occur; our only indication from Pacific Power is that they will occur during instances of significant wildfire danger (hot, dry, and windy days)," as stated by Hood River County Health Department in a memo to all Licensed Facilities in Hood River County.
The areas affected include Josephine County in southern Oregon (Roseburg, Medford, Grants Pass) and Hood River.
In Hood River County, health officials announced that food establishments may not operate during prolonged power outages. Within 4 hours of losing power, all food establishments shall cease operating and serving food to the public. Even if a food establishment has a generator, without formal written approval from the County Health office (in advance), no food establishment may operate during a prolonged power outage. Actions may be taken to protect inventories; however, any food exposed to temperature abuse shall be discarded.
Pacific Power has stated:
1. They will alert account holders 3-7 days out when possible
2. They will alert account holders 48 hours in advance, then 24 hours, then 2 hours and then one hour in advance whenever possible
3. Conditions will have to be sustained and will include:
If you have questions, please contact Hood River County Health Department directly:
For more information, download the memo from Hood River County Health Department.
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) has hired Nicole Peterson as its new Government Affairs Coordinator. Peterson will be the new steward of the Portland Kitchen Cabinet and its steering committee, focusing on grassroots engagement with restaurateurs and supporting their community building efforts.
“We are excited to have Nicole join our team at ORLA to add crucial capacity for our ongoing work in the Portland restaurant marketplace. Business models and paths to sustainability are changing rapidly and there are many opportunities to bring the strengths of restaurants to more Portland community conversations,” said Jason Brandt, President & CEO.
Nicole previously worked as a Research Assistant for a state and local government affairs team in Illinois and worked on a variety of issues from happy hours to baseball stadium renovations. Since moving to Oregon, she has worked in local government, giving her a broader understanding of the issues from the governing body perspective. She received her bachelor’s degree in Social Policy from Northwestern University.
In her new role with the Portland Kitchen Cabinet, Nicole relishes the opportunity to help Portland restaurants and the broader community gather, collaborate, and flourish by providing more opportunities for community engagement and advocacy for the industry. This group of informed, active and motivated hospitality community members serve as industry ambassadors with policymakers, opinion leaders, community leaders and partner organizations. With more than 100 members, the Portland Kitchen Cabinet is a proud partner of the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association and the National Restaurant Association.
On June 30, the Oregon Legislature officially came to a close. The 2019 session was marked by hyper-partisanship, two walkouts by Senate Republicans and dozens of new laws affecting the hospitality industry. Several key bills will affect how restaurants and lodging properties conduct business in the near future. Watch for ORLA's full recap of the session coming soon to the Advocacy page.
Here are a few quick updates:
HB 2005 – Paid Family and Medical Leave
SB 90 – Plastic Straws on request
Plastic straws in restaurants are now only available “on request” unless a customer is using the drive through and then employees may ask the customer if they would like a straw. Effective as of June 13, 2019.
HB 2509 – Plastic Bag Ban
Single use disposable plastic bags are banned from restaurants and grocery stores. Retailers may charge for paper bags. Effective date is January 1, 2020. Read HB 2509 Enrolled.
HB 3137 – Collection of local lodging taxes by Oregon Department of Revenue
Provides that transient lodging tax becomes due when occupancy of transient lodging with respect to which tax is imposed ends. This bill will help eliminate the issue of properties collecting and remitting the lodging tax to the state and then if a customer cancels, having to go back and recover the lodging tax paid in order to refund the customer the tax. Effective date January 1, 2020.
SB 248 – Increase in certain fees charged by OLCC
Fees for OLCC licenses will double effective July 1, 2019. Negotiated separately from this bill is the option to renew an OLCC alcohol license every two years instead of annually.
Discussions on Cannabis Tourism and Licensing Fee Increase
On a quarterly basis, ORLA has the opportunity to participate in meetings with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) to address issues impacting our industry. As members often have questions relating to licensing and other liquor or marijuana issues, ORLA appreciates the open lines of communications with the agency and the Commissioners.
At a recent OLCC Commissioners meeting, ORLA presented on cannabis tourism and the challenges our industry faces with OLCC licensees not being able to host cannabis events on site without giving up their OLCC license. Executive Director Steve Marks clarified that OLCC licensees are not able to hold cannabis-related events as the agency has defined a licensee’s entire property as being part of the license.
ORLA asked for consideration and discussion around the issue as cannabis-related tourism is a growing segment of the industry. Commissioner Matt Maletis reinforced the opportunities available to cannabis-related tourism and expressed his appreciation for ORLA addressing the issue.
At the request of Governor Kate Brown for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC), SB 248 was introduced which would increase all licensing fees including those for breweries, wineries, distilleries and retailers. The increase is needed to upgrade technology and software for the agency to help increase efficiency and productivity. ORLA has been in discussions with the OLCC about the increase and received assurances from the agency that as part of the increased fees, OLCC would make a change in administrative rules to allow for two-year licenses.
The two-year license is something ORLA has heard members are interested in to help them save time and money by only having to apply for renewals every two years instead of annually.
There would be exceptions to the two-year license offering which may include first-time applicants and applicants who have had a violation in the last 12 months. Details are still being worked on at this time and ORLA will share updates with members as they come.
If you have questions relating to OLCC licensing or other issues, feel free to reach out to me at Astley@OregonRLA.org. | Greg Astley
[Update May 7, 2019]
Menu Labeling Compliance Guideline
Today marks the first anniversary of menu labeling compliance and begins official enforcement of the law. Restaurants with 20 or more locations operating under the same name, should currently be complying with menu labeling regulations. However, during the past year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) focused on education and worked with establishments to help them comply with the menu labeling regulations.
The National Restaurant Association developed resources to help members understand the regulations and comply; download the Menu Labeling Compliance Guide.
[Posted May 7, 2018]
Menu Labeling Regulations Effective
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.
NOTE: This position statement was drafted by local restaurateurs and foodservice operations doing business in Hood River County and as a result reflects the official position of our statewide association on their behalf.
Hood River County needs a solution to their budget shortfall, but this is an ill-conceived way to do it. There is still a three-year runway to find a financial solution and this measure is fundamentally flawed. Measure 14-66 is bad for Hood River County for the following reasons:
Bad for Businesses
- Entire tax burden carried by just one business segment – this is not a fair tax.
- Restaurants are seasonal and already struggle in the winter.
- Already hit by massive cost increases from higher minimum wages and unequal share of business property taxes.
- Restaurant sales taxes are shown to shift demand to large corporate chains and grocery stores, hurting local restaurants and farms.
- Tax is complex and hard for small restaurants to implement and comply with.
Bad for Workers
- Will reduce overall income and overall employment opportunities.
- Will reduce tip income as customers will tip less to offset additional tax cost.
- Restaurant employees already struggle with affordable housing and this will compound that, especially in winter months.
Bad for Residents
- Residents will shoulder most of the tax burden as they eat in restaurants all year long. Tourism is only a factor for a few months of the year.
- Residents want to support and access local farmers and locally sourced food. This tax creates a headwind for that.
- Restaurant sales plummet during economic downturns, making this an unstable source of income for the county.
Let’s ask Hood River County to bring a fair and sustainable option for raising these funds.
Business Association Letter to the Revenue Committees
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association is one of 22 business associations who signed the following letter submitted to the revenue committees on March 21, 2019.
As representatives of Oregon’s leading private-sector employers, we recognize that the Legislature intends to pass significant new taxes this year, most of which will fall on Oregon’s businesses, small and large.
As we consider tax proposals, our organizations will be guided by the following principles:
The Oregon Legislature is considering HB 3023 which will create statewide standards for rideshare companies, drivers, and vehicles in Oregon. ORLA supports this bill as it sets standards for driver background checks, vehicle safety, and insurance - important factors in providing affordable and safe transportation options.
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.