Possibly Banned in Bend: Plastic Bags

City Council Recap – August 15, 2018

Courtesy: Tor Hanson, Bend Chamber Special Projects Reporter

The ban would impact all retail establishments within the city of Bend

Single use plastic bags may be banned in Bend. Throughout the summer, several speakers have expressed their support for a plastic bag ban during the Visitor’s Section.

City council asked city staff to look at other cities in Washington, Oregon, and California for best practices how Bend could implement a plastic bag ban. In preparation for the August 15 city council work session, Senior Policy Analyst, Gillian Ockner looked at Bellingham and Port Townsend (Washington); Ashland, Corvallis, Eugene, and Portland (Oregon); and San Francisco and Los Angeles (California).

According to her report, the main concern is single-use plastic carryout bags used to transport or carry purchased goods such as merchandise or food. The ban would impact all retail establishments within the city of Bend, but Ockner’s report asked city council to consider including city facilities, city managed concessions, city sponsored events, and city special events permit activities in the rules.

According to Ockner’s memo, the following types of plastic bags would be exempt: plastic bags without handles used inside retail establishments for bulk food, deli or bakery goods, frozen food, pharmacy, flowers, and other items where dampness can be a concern.

A majority of city council were positive to further discuss a potential plastic bag ban in Bend.

Although the plastic bag ban is meant to steer consumers towards reusable bags – durable plastic or cloth bags – retail establishments can still provide bags to carry out their merchandise. The suggested alternative is recyclable paper bags, which retail establishments can charge a so-called “pass through charge,” typically five to ten cents per bag.

Families enrolled in WIC (Women, Infants and Children), SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), and other assistance program for low-income families would be exempted from paying for bags.

A majority of city council were positive to further discuss a potential plastic bag ban in Bend. City Manager Eric King suggested staff would come back with three alternatives. However, a plastic bag ban would not be a part of the council’s fall session, but rather one of many topics considered during the council’s goal setting session in January 2019.

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  1. Wayne Howe says:

    Washing reusable shopping bags wastes water, too. I’ll bet the super-enlightened NPCs running the major cities in California, Washington and Oregon didn’t consider that, eh? Also, contamination of reusable bags means that more will be discarded to prevent cross-contamination, salmonella, etc. Fish do indeed rot from the head down, it seems.

  2. Robert says:

    So what are people going to use to pick up their dog crap? Ridiculous over-reach from bored government officials. Its only impact is to make them feel better about themselves and that they really are important.

  3. Jonathan S. says:

    I fully support this action. It was very successful in Portland. The number of plastic bags that I see laying around on the street as litter in Bend is just stupid.

  4. lane says:

    I reuse the plastic bags from the grocery stores 2and 3 times before they are thrown out. Wastebaskets, storing things, cariying things. Baning the plastic bags from stores just make people spend more for bags for purchase form stores.

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