On October 17, 2011. the City Council of Newport, Oregon held a public hearing on the Plastic Bag Community Plan. The hearing allowed for public comment on the proposed ban on single-use plastic bags.
There were fourteen people who spoke in favor of banning single-use plastic bags. There were no opposition speakers. In fact, Councilor Brusselback noted that, in terms of citizen outreach, the hearing was a publicly noticed meeting and there are no opponents. He felt that since there were no opposition at the hearing, that this could be seen as a measure of the support of the general population.
There were three emails sent to the Council supporting the ban. The only opposition to the ban was received in an email.
Speakers in favor of a ban included local Newport citizens, local business owners, a graduate student at HSMC, and members of the local Surfrider Foundation.
A most notable speaker supporting a ban was Joe Gilliam, President of the Northwest Grocers Association. With a membership of 1683 grocery retailers, wholesalers and suppliers, the Northwest Grocers Association is an industry spokesperson for the grocery industry serving the states of Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
Councilor McConnell noted that he had a packet containing a list of 40 small, local businesses that support a ban on single-use plastic bags.
The Council decided in a voice vote of 5-2 to move toward a ban on single-use plastic bags. It was agreed that staff provide a schedule at the next meeting regarding when the ordinance will come back to Council.
At the December 5th meeting of the Council, Councilor Allen presented a report on his investigation into available plastic bag options for the near and long-term. During his investigation, Councilor Allen had discussed the issue with other Council members, the Surfrider Foundation, the Northwest Grocers Association, solid waste haulers, and local business people. He reported that among those he spoke with, there was consensus on a potential path forward.
Councilor Allen agreed, along with Councilor Roumagoux, to work on a proposal for the first meeting in January, 2012.