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.
Valuable Training for Recruitment and Retention
“When we play a game, we always ask the questions ‘What are the rules?’ and ‘How can I win…?’ When employees are asking these questions and the questions are not answered for them up front, they can become frustrated and upset because they do not know how to win at their job.” - Joe Lipham, Training Account Manager, Signature Worldwide
The power of training has been proven to help attract and keep good employees in this very competitive employment market. Clearly, despite varying levels of passion for the job, nobody goes to work hoping to look stupid and to fail.
Skill needs vary by job within each organization and necessitate specialized instruction. However, what is the one common skill that all hospitality employees need to feel comfortable in their role? Universally, experts agree that a company that focuses on teaching and empowering its associates to provide excellent guest service not only is more successful at gaining and keeping loyal customers but also more successful at attracting and retaining its employees.
Standards are set high and employees are trained and empowered to deliver. Happy associates, who treat each other well, tend to create happy guests and help create a positive and rewarding work environment.
"A culture of high standards is protective of all the 'invisible' but crucial work that goes on in every company," writes Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, it’s the “work that gets done when no one is watching. In a high standards culture, doing that work well is its own reward..."
Bezos also notes that to build and maintain a culture of high standards, there are four critical elements; “they are teachable, they are domain-specific, you must recognize them, and you must explicitly coach realistic scope."
CREATING AND EVALUATING A TOOL
I have been proud to be a partner in Oregon’s statewide initiative to build a guest service curriculum that incorporated those four elements, via the support of Travel Oregon and the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI).
Our goal in creating Guest Service Gold Tourism: Oregon Edition, which awards the internationally-accredited credential Certified Guest Service Professional (CGSP) upon successful completion, was to provide a tool that offered a common language and teachable principles specific to challenges employees in Oregon’s hospitality industry face.
The effort has been a bit of a case study for us all, as I now realize students’, managers’, and trainers’ feedback all support the theory of the value of training and its secondary benefits overall. Here’s what we’ve learned:
From Managers and Owners:
From Our Trainers:
TAPPING ADDITIONAL TOOLS
Preparing employees about what to expect in their roles is a skill and confidence builder. Many accommodation and foodservice businesses use online courses, such as the internationally-accredited courses offered by AHLEI. Line-level position curriculum includes Certified Front Desk Representative, Certified Restaurant Server, Certified Kitchen Cook, Certified Guestroom Attendant, and Certified Maintenance Employee. Supervisory courses are also available; learn more about their tools at AHLEI.org/certifications.
“According to Canadian tourism and hospitality HR association Go2HR, around 40 percent of employees who do not receive adequate training end up leaving their post within a year.” - Entrepreneur Magazine/ Stephen Maclaren, Head of Regional Sales Employee Benefits, Al Futtaim Willis
While there is certainly intense competition for employees, perhaps considering increasing training opportunities can help you better recruit and retain staff. If you think our guest service training tool can assist in your efforts, please visit OregonGuestService.com and feel free to contact me with any questions. | Wendy Popkin
Wendy Popkin is the Executive Director for ORLA’s Education Foundation (ORLAEF), a nonprofit foundation dedicated to supporting the educational and training needs of the hospitality industry. Wendy is a 32-year career veteran who describes herself as “fanatically enthusiastic about helping others enjoy the same type of fabulous career opportunities I have enjoyed in the hospitality industry.”
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
Four members of Oregon’s foodservice and lodging industry have been selected for the statewide 2018 Hospitality Industry Awards as announced by Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA). Dave Thomason (Thomason Hospitality Group LLC, Grants Pass) was named Restaurateur of the Year; Doug and Becky Neuman (Neuman Hotel Group, Ashland) were named Lodging Operators of the Year; Kaarina Vera (Seaside Lodging LLC, Seaside) was named Employee of the Year, and Karnopp Peterson LLP (Bend) was named Allied Partner of the Year.
The recipients of these awards will be recognized among their peers and over 300 delegates of ORLA’s Convention during the Hospitality Industry Awards Dinner on September 30, 2018, at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Portland – Washington Square, in Tigard, Oregon.
“Oregon’s hospitality industry is teeming with individuals who contribute significantly to the health of the trade,” says Jason Brandt, president and CEO of the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association. “These winners represent not only some of our industry’s most dedicated leaders and advocates, but also the exemplary service that sets the high standard for the entire industry to achieve.”
Restaurateur of the Year: At 16, Dave Thomason started in the restaurant industry working as a busboy for the Carl’s Jr. chain in Anaheim, CA, and now has his own company overseeing 44 operations with a total workforce of over 600 employees. He has also been a very strong advocate of the industry having served 18 years as an ORLA Board Member and is a Past President of the Association. Through Dave’s leadership, experience and passion for hospitality, Thomason Hospitality Group has realized tremendous growth in recent years with no signs of slowing down. Taprock Northwest Grill opened for business in May 2009 and has been the centerpiece of Thomason Hospitality Group’s portfolio which also includes holdings throughout the state of Oregon for Elmer’s, Pita Pits, Human Beans, and Purple Parrots. Success isn’t all about growth and profits however. Dave believes their employees are their best asset and the greatest advantage over their competitors. He maintains that treating employees with respect values their individuality and empowers them to provide great service.
Lodging Operators of the Year: In less than two decades Doug and Becky Neuman have transformed Southern Oregon’s hospitality scene. It all started as a real estate investment when they purchased the dilapidated Ashland Springs Hotel in late 1998 and “brought it back to its glory.” Their passion for Oregon led them to expand investments, and now Neuman Hotel Group’s portfolio includes four hotels, three restaurants, tow spas and soon a Victorian home. The Neuman’s impact on Southern Oregon goes beyond economic development and job creation, they filled a need in the community by revitalizing properties that celebrate what Oregon has to offer. More importantly, they have created an incredibly supportive work environment for close to 350 employees, investing in training and benefits that attract and retain a staff that love what they do.
Employee of the Year: From front desk agent to manager, Kaarina Vera has proven that hard work, along with insight and being a quick learner can reward you with greater opportunities. When Seaside Lodging acquired ownership of the property where Kaarina was working the front desk less than a decade ago, they quickly saw her potential and transferred her to sales. Shortly after, she was promoted to Sales Manager for the Inn at Seaside – a strategic move for the Inn, as she helped double the sales. Kaarina’s exceptional performance directly contributed to the growth of the company which now includes four hotels. In her current position of Sales, Marketing and Revenue Manager for Seaside Lodging LLC, Kaarina continues to shine as one of the most “honest, ethical, sincere and efficient” staff members the company is proud to employ.
Allied Partner of the Year: Karnopp Petersen, a law firm in Bend, Oregon, operates with a simple philosophy, “do your best work and give back.” For Karnopp Petersen, it’s not just about resolving disputes or winning litigation; they want to be a “value creator” for their clients by designing legal strategies that truly fit their clients’ needs, thereby giving them the best chance at achieving their goals. ORLA saw the value in this approach firsthand with a recent lawsuit regarding local lodging taxes. “The lodging industry in Oregon was in need of a law firm that could prevail in our pursuit of lodging tax protections. Karnopp Petersen has and continues to be one of ORLA’s most crucial partners in establishing the appropriate ways lodging taxes should be spent in Oregon,” said Jason Brandt, President & CEO, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association. “We’re more than pleased with the service they’re able to provide.”
For more information on the Hospitality Industry Awards, visit OregonRLA.org/Awards or ORLA’s Convention, visit OregonRLA.org/Convention or call 800.462.0619. For press inquiries regarding the Hospitality Industry Awards, please contact Lori Little, director of communications, at 503.682.4422.
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.
Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association’s Statewide Publication Caters to Oregon’s Broader Restaurant and Lodging Industry
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) unveiled a new quarterly publication under its own name, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association Magazine, with an editorial focus that serves both restaurant and lodging industry members.
The inaugural issue, which included the annual Buyer’s Guide directory, landed in mailboxes across the state in early July. This publication was born from combining the association’s former Main Ingredient and Lodging News magazines, two award-winning publications that have served Oregon’s hospitality industry for many years. In addition to a fresh new look and design, ORLA’s new magazine will continue to bring relevant, timely information as well as curated content for both the lodging and restaurant industry.
With a distribution of over 10,000, and an estimated reach of over 30,000, the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association Magazine hopes to serve as Oregon hospitality industry’s primary source of information. ORLA’s goal with the new publication is to create a viable, sustainable publication that continues to provide a valuable benefit to members while staying on top of reader’s interests.
A digital edition is available at http://bit.ly/ORLAmag, or contact ORLA’s Director of Communications, Lori Little, to subscribe at LLittle@OregonRLA.org. For a media kit, visit OregonRLA.org.
Best Practices and Tools for Recruiting and Retaining Employees
Here’s the good news: year over year, 2016 to 2017, the hospitality industry ranked second for job growth in Oregon at a rate of 3.9 percent. The challenge: how do we fill the 210,000 jobs we have?
With Oregon unemployment at a historic low of 4.1 percent, everyone is lamenting about the difficulty in finding employees. March’s 2018 Oregon Economic and Revenue Forecast notes that “…the tight labor market is resulting in faster wage gains here in Oregon than in the typical state.” Business owners expressed concern about recent legislation to increase minimum wage, but many have told me they are now offering above minimum wage in competitive attempts to attract workers.
Nationwide, an almost unbelievable and very disheartening and expensive fact - 72.5 percent of people left their foodservice or hospitality positions in 2017. While we struggle with the high cost of hiring associates, the conversation is also turning to the high cost of losing employees. Training time, costly product and customer service mistakes, and overtime paid to cover unfilled positions are direct hits to the bottom line.
I was fascinated to find a Turnover Cost Calculator with a shocking example. For a business that had 150 employees, and a turnover rate of ‘only’ 11 percent, a reduction in turnover of 20 percent would save an estimated $313,000 annually in training and opportunity costs. Check it out and use this template to estimate your own potential savings: bit.ly/TurnoverCostCalculate.
Emerging Best Practices Addressing the Employment Challenge
While some managers interpret that the current generation lacks a focus on and commitment to employment and loyalty, others are finding creative and successful ways to help fill positions and reduce turnover by addressing the priorities of today’s employee.
I think Jack Altman, CEO of Lattice, summed it up well when he wrote “Younger workers… prioritize things like personal growth and career opportunity over income and job security. Giving your employees authentic opportunities for growth is something you have to build into the fabric of your company.” You can read more at bit.ly/2sHIfee.
Interpretation. We, as an industry, can find ROI in nurturing employees’ values to attract and retain them by offering pathways and assistance to help them meet their goals. One way to do this is via education and training.
“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat people well enough so they don’t want to.” - Richard Branson
There is growing proof that this approach is working, and that the investment pays off. CNBC does a nice round-up at http://cnb.cx/2JFBt2i where they note;
More Tools on the Horizon!
ORLA’s Education Foundation partnered with the Oregon Coast Visitors Association and the owners of the Overleaf Lodge & Spa, Kristin and Drew Roslund, this year to secure grants from Travel Oregon and the Siletz Tribal Charitable Contribution Fund. Funds awarded were used to pilot a workforce development program in Waldport. The target was recruitment and retention via a program that offered free skills-based certifications.
From this effort we developed an encouraging relationship with enthusiastic partners at WorkSource Oregon in Lincoln County. WorkSource Oregon is a network of public and private partners who work together to “effectively respond to workforce challenges through high-quality services to individuals and business, resulting in job attainment, retention, and advancement.” They are the agencies most in touch with untapped populations who could help fill those 210,000 jobs and provide critical support for both the employee and employer in that effort.
Our next step is to expand our partnerships and phase-in a more comprehensive program. We believe the model has potential to replicate throughout the state, and our hope would be to leverage available state and federal training funds and Oregon Employment Department staff expertise to help serve industry’s workforce needs. An unexpected benefit was learning about the resources WorkSource offers to our employees, previously unknown to most of us! These include funding and staff support for employees such as uniform purchase, housing and transportation vouchers, and skills and mental health counseling.
We are encouraged by the potential to offer hospitality business partners more active assistance with our industry’s workforce challenge and our organizations will be providing regular updates and resources. | Wendy Popkin, ORLAEF
Wendy Popkin is the Executive Director for ORLA’s Education Foundation (ORLAEF), a nonprofit foundation dedicated to supporting the educational and training needs of the hospitality industry. Wendy is a 32-year career veteran who describes herself as “fanatically enthusiastic about helping others enjoy the same type of fabulous career opportunities I have enjoyed in the hospitality industry.”
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 Restaurant & Lodging Association is pleased to honor four state finalists for the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) 2018 Restaurant Awards! These winners will be recognized during ORLA's annual Convention in Tigard this fall.
NRAEF created the Restaurant Neighbor Award with founding partner American Express to highlight the positive contributions restaurants make in their local neighborhoods each and every day. The Faces of Diversity American Dream Award honors individuals from a diverse background who, through hard work and determination, have realized their American dream.
FACES OF DIVERSITY AMERICAN DREAM AWARD
Jessica Ritter, Ritter's House Made Foods, Salem
Background: Jessica Ritter started the Wild Pear Restaurant with her sister Cecelia over 18 years ago with little money and a lot of determination to build it into a local successful business employing an ethnically diverse staff that shares in their passion of great food and community. Jessica has lead a team of high school students in the ProStart program and has mentored several other aspiring young
chefs. Being a mix of Vietnamese and Irish decent, Jessica and Cecilia
live the example of promoting diversity in their work and community.
Overcoming obstacles: While in their early 20’s, Jessica and her sister started with little to no start-up capital but showed through their passion, hard work and family values that by pulling together they could achieve their dreams.
Community support: The Wild Pear Restaurant supports many local charities such as Family Building Blocks, the Union Gospel mission and others. The Ritters also volunteer their time to coach young staff members aspiring to learn the industry both in management and in the kitchen.
RESTAURANT NEIGHBOR AWARD
Greg's Grill on the Deschutes, Bend
Charitable activities include: Each month the restaurant chooses a local charity and donates a dollar per glass of wine or four per bottle from a wine selection to that cause. New this year, Greg’s Grill is organizing a Clam Chowder Cook Off with six other restaurants where the money raised through ticket sales will be donated to local food banks.
Impact on the community: The restaurant has had a great deal of success, averaging close to $400-500 a month in donations. Their primary focus has been local, veteran-affiliated charities, as well as food bank charities. Not only does the community greatly benefit from these activities, the staff get invested in the idea of benefitting local organizations that need support.
Skyland Pub, Troutdale
Charitable activities include: The activities are numerous, including a golf tournament, giving tree, torch run, Polar Plunge, and several causes to support local businesses, law enforcement, firefighters, veterans, and foster children.
Impact on the community: Proceeds from the annual golf tournament go to support Oregon Veterans, a special cause for Skyland Pub. They work with the Wounded Warrior Project (a nationally-focused organization), directing their efforts to support the needs of local area men and women. The pub also supports Forward Assist, an Oregon-based volunteer-run organization that solely supports Oregon Veterans. The impact they make on their community is immeasurable, and their reward is knowing they are making a positive impact on people who deserve it the most.
Three Creeks Brewing Company, Sisters
Charitable activities include: Long-time supporter of the American Cancer Society and local Relay for Life of Redmond-Sisters. Donation of countless gift cards, swag, money, beer and time to those in need. They funded the start of the Sisters Stampede, sponsor the Sisters Folk Fest and the Quilt Show, contribute to the Sisters Parks and Recreation District, and put on the Annual Sisters Fresh Hop Festival.
Impact on the community: The company supports virtually every event in the community, raising thousands of dollars for charities and local causes. A recent noteworthy accomplishment was raising over $10,000 for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life.
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