BottleDrop takes over St. Johns Dollar Tree

The former Dollar Tree store at 7740 N. Lombard, previously reported as a source of blight on North Portland’s main thoroughfare, has sold. In late December 2023, Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative (OBRC), the organization that runs the Delta Park BottleDrop, bought the property for $1.8 million. That’s more than double its assessed market value. In mid February, the city started a Land Use Review for an “OLCC beverage container redemption center.”

OBRC is a collaboration of beverage distributors that facilitate Oregon Bottle Bill operations. It is mostly funded by unredeemed bottle deposits estimated to be at around 35% of all beverages sold. When customers pay the extra 10-cent deposit on a beverage but don’t return the container, the fee is kept by the beverage distributors. That gave the organization an estimated $33 million in 2022. It is unclear how much goes into the pockets of the distributors since that information is guarded. Other states with bottle bills have state-run operations and use unredeemed funds for public uses.

Since OBRC is a private coop, it is unclear how answerable to the public they are when nuisance issues occur at their return sites.

Delta Park BottleDrop photo from lawsuit
Delta Park BottleDrop photo from lawsuit
Map showing proposed BottleDrop location
Map showing proposed BottleDrop location

The OBRC/BottleDrop has been embroiled in a lawsuit since September 2022 with the owners of the Delta Park Center, TMT Development, over payment for extra security guards. TMT, the landlord, says the guards were necessary to control unruly patrons queued up near the site. 

Tensions between landlord and tenant began during the COVID pandemic when grocery stores opted out of bottle returns. Activity at the Delta Park BottleDrop increased so rapidly it was beyond OBRC’s capabilities to manage, according to its own leaders. TMT says not enough was done to control patrons. They point to their contract with OBRC that stipulates illegal or nuisance activities would not be allowed at the site. The contract also states that BottleDrop would pay extra charges as needed. 

In the lawsuit TMT complained of litter, social distancing violations, OBRC patrons blocking other businesses, as well as needles and other drug paraphernalia left near the redemption site. 

TMT is suing to recover nearly $300,000 from BottleDrop for the extra security that cost around $25,000/month. OBRC/BottleDrop responded through their lawyer that they would not pay because the charges were “unreasonable.”