Plastic Pollution, Bag Bans
June 13 2011

Oregon’s Statewide Bag Ban Fails To Make It Out Of Committee

by Gus Gates

Building upon the great efforts led by the Portland Chapter over the past three years to ban single-use plastic checkout bags within the City of Portland, Senators Mark Hass and Jason Atkinson, and Representatives Ben Cannon and Vick Gilliam introduced SB 536, giving Oregon the opportunity to be the first state in the nation to ban single-use plastic bags on a statewide level.

Getting there isn’t easy.  The out-of-state plastic industry has already dumped over a million dollars to bring hired guns into the state to spread misinformation.  Fortunately, great leadership among the Portland, Newport and Siuslaw Chapters and the North Coast and South Coast Organizing Committees have helped garner Senate support of the bill.  

Since Portland passed the first resolution in the summer of 2010 to support statewide legislation to ban the bag, several other local governments have also stepped up to cast their support.  Lake Oswego, Newport, Cannon Beach, Corvallis, Beaverton, Tillamook and the Metro Regional Governments have all passed resolutions, and Surfrider volunteers have supported the entire process.

Demonstrating local support is crucial to getting 100% legislative support with this bill, and that is why Surfrider members are actively educating their legislators on this issue by scheduling constituent meetings, writing letters of support, testifying on the bill, submitting letters to the editor and opinion pieces to local media, phone banking in targeted districts, and sharing action alerts.  The level of engagement and dedication on this issue is phenomenal.  Surfrider members and volunteers deserve all the credit for getting this bill to the statewide platform.  

Win, lose or draw, Oregon Surfrider members can be proud at the end of the day that they have given it their all and initiated an important discussion on simple changes in consumer behavior to reduce a chronic source of plastic pollution from our watersheds, beaches and ocean