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Newport Considers A Bag Ban

Briana Goodwin Surfrider Field Manager and Ami Thompson with Thompson't Sanitary Service

The Newport Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation requested time to address the Newport City Council regarding consideration of an ordinance regulating single-use plastic carry-out bags in the City of Newport. The issue of plastic bags was referred to the voters in 2013 and the voters in Newport turned down the proposed ordinance.

The Newport Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation has indicated that things have changed since then and a number of Oregon cities have adopted some form of regulations of single-use plastic carry-out bags and asked the city council to also consider a ban.

Before the end of discussion and public comment Councilor CM Hall made a motion for staff to draft an ordinance to ban plastic bags and have it be voted on at the next council meeting in February. Councilor Allen voiced is opposition to making a motion so quickly and requesting the council take action without more public engagement.

"There wasn't anything indicated in the council packet about any action being taken with a motion to move forward on this with an actual ordinance. Allen added "It was to refer back to the city manager for options to consider at a future meeting." He added that things like this can't be just rushed through. "There has to be a public hearing and time for staff to put an ordinance together, and time to reach out to others in the public who may be opposed."

Councilor Allen also indicated he felt that since this matter went to a vote of the people before it should again or it would be like overriding what the people wanted and voted for.

There were a number who spoke in favor of the bag ban including three 5th grade students from Sam Case Elementary. Ami Thompson, with Thompson Sanitary told the council that the thin plastic bags create problems when they get mixed in with recycling. There is also the issue of wind catching the bags because they are light and blowing them into the environment, where they catch on trees, get into the waterways and affect birds, fish and marine mammals.

Others thought the council should respect the voters wishes from 2013. One person commented "next you'll be passing an ordinance to put fluoride in the water". The council passed an amended motion by 5 to 1 to have staff bring back a draft ordinance for discussion at the next meeting.

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