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Gearhart councilor seeks plastic bag ban

Cockrum seeks to protect wildlife, environment
By R.J. Marx

The Daily Astorian

Published on August 16, 2018 9:36AM

Last changed on August 17, 2018 3:48PM

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

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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In September 2017, 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 Store 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.”

A plastic bag ban is one of the few things to reduce environmental impact a city can do, she said.

Mayor Matt Brown and councilors Dan Jesse, Reita Fackerell and Kerry Smith supported the concept of a 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 prohibiting plastic single-use bags by retailers or food vendors at customer check-out.

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 CARTM, and a resident who said she was “shocked” at the amount of plastic debris she saw on Manzanita’s beach.

The Manzanita ban, adopted in late 2017, applies to stores and vendors within the city.

Gearhart councilors are preparing to “discuss the possibilities,” Sweet said Tuesday. “Once they do their research they’ll look at getting on the agenda.”



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