Update May 29, 2019 - Portland City Council adopted amendments to the original policy on single-use plastics. The new effective date for the ordinance is October 1, 2019 (it was originally July 1, 2019) and several exemptions to the original ordinance were approved:
Find more details about the policy on the City of Portland FAQ page.
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.
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."
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
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
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