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Gearhart could ban plastic bags

Recycling effort gains momentum
By R.J. Marx

The Daily Astorian

Published on August 7, 2018 4:05PM

Gearhart City Councilor Kerry Smith, Mayor Matt Brown and Councilor Paulina Cockrum, who presented a proposal to ban plastic bags in Gearhart.

R.J. Marx/The Daily Astorian

Gearhart City Councilor Kerry Smith, Mayor Matt Brown and Councilor Paulina Cockrum, who presented a proposal to ban plastic bags in Gearhart.

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GEARHART — Last September, Manzanita became the first city on the North Coast to enact a plastic bag ban.

At the suggestion of City Councilor Paulina Cockrum, Gearhart may follow suit.

“It kind of came to me with the Dollar General going in, I wonder if they’ll have those plastic bags I’m trying not to use and see them everywhere in the wetlands,” Cockrum said. “I wonder if we should consider banning plastic bags. This is stuff that birds and wildlife and who knows what all are eating.”

Mayor Matt Brown and City Councilors Dan Jesse, Reita Fackerell and Kerry Smith supported the concept of a plastic bag ban. “I have no problem banding behind that,” Jesse said.

City Administrator Chad Sweet said he will research similar ordinances throughout the state.

In July, Seattle became the first city to ban plastic straws and utensils in bars and restaurants.

Portland already has recycling rules for grocery bags and prohibits plastic single-use bags by retailers or food vendors at customer checkout.

Other Oregon cities banning plastic bags include Ashland, Eugene, Hood River and Newport, among others.

Manzanita’s effort started after a discussion between a board member of the local recycling center and a resident who said she was “shocked” at the amount of plastic debris she saw on Manzanita’s beach.

The Manzanita ban applies to all stores and vendors within the city.

Gearhart councilors are preparing to “discuss the possibilities” of a plastic bag ban, Sweet said. “Once they do their research they’ll look at getting on the agenda,” he said.



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