City Council candidates’ positions on BottleDrop relocation to St. Johns

The North Peninsula Review posed a question about the possible relocation of the BottleDrop to St. Johns’ Dollar Tree to the candidates running for a District 2 City Council seat representing North and Northeast Portland. Thirteen of the 24 candidates responded. Below is a two-part question from Mike Vial followed by the candidates’ responses (Some were edited for length).

  1. Do you oppose the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative’s (OBRC) plan to open a BottleDrop at the former Dollar Tree location on N. Lombard?
  2. If so, will you make a commitment to the voters of St. Johns that you will send a letter of opposition to OLCC if OBRC submits an application to open a BottleDrop at this location?

Michelle DePass – I oppose the site on Lombard for several reasons. Even though I enthusiastically support the bottle bill, considering the conditions on the ground, these facilities need to be sited where they make sense. They do not make sense in a business district where small businesses are trying to make ends meet for their families.
I’m happy to send a letter, speak with officials and/or neighborhood residents. Whatever we do has to work for everyone.

James Armstrong – I do oppose the OBRC plan to move their BottleDrop location to the former Dollar Tree location. The residential and business communities in that particular area are not equipped to withstand any potential increase in crime or vandalism, two specific reasons that OBRC is being forced to move from Delta Park. 
I will continue to support the community in this effort and will happily write a letter in opposition to the OLCC if an application is submitted.

Laura Streib – As a resident of St Johns and a St Johns Boosters Business Assoc. Board Member, I am opposed to the BottleDrop using the former Dollar Tree as a recycling hub on the already busy Lombard Street. Our community also unanimously stated this is not the right location in our neighborhood.

Dan Ryan – I have opposed the OBRC plan to open a BottleDrop on Lombard since day one. We must prioritize our neighborhood’s safety and economic vitality. Oregon must rethink the Bottle Bill and lean into current recycling systems. I will send a letter of opposition to OLCC if OBRC fails our neighborhood.

Christopher Olson – I support Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative’s (OBRC) plan to open a BottleDrop at the former Dollar Tree location because it provides a vital income source for many struggling residents. Dismissing it as enabling drug use overlooks the genuine needs it addresses, offering dignity and financial support to our community’s most vulnerable.

Debbie Kitchin – I oppose the OBRC plan to open a BottleDrop at the former Dollar Tree location on Lombard. This site is inappropriate, as it has safety and traffic concerns. I believe the city should be involved in finding an alternative location, perhaps at a location zoned Industrial.
I will commit to writing a letter of opposition to OLCC if OBRC submits an application to open a BottleDrop at this location.

David Burnell – In theory I do not oppose a bottle drop at the old Dollar Tree, it is simply sitting there and has of course become an eyesore due to neglect. I would encourage OBRC to look at multiple sites and not just settle on one place without doing their due diligence.
I would support a cease-and-desist letter to OBRC until our neighbors in St. Johns were allowed to have actionable input on this decision.

Will Mespelt – Yes, I 100% oppose adding a BottleDrop in St. Johns period. We have to urge state leaders to reform the bottle drop program to help save Portland.
I will gladly submit a letter in support of St. Johns and oppose any bottle drop locations being added here in St. Johns.

Jonathan Tasini – I oppose the plan, and will so write, because my potential constituents are overwhelmingly opposed—and an elected representative should always reflect the constituents. In opposition we must proclaim: forcing people to rely on bottle recycling for survival is inhumane and we must end such an immoral system. 

Elana Pirtle-Guiney – The impact to local grocery stores and transit-dependent neighbors of not having a local bottle drop is unworkable. However, I share concerns about this location. Wherever the bottle drop is located, we must have a strong Good Neighbor Agreement and safety precautions, like newer locations in East Portland and Beaverton.

Mike Marshall – Yes, given the neighborhood opposition, it should not be located at that location.
Yes, I will absolutely send a letter. I will also call the executive director of the OLCC, Craig Prins, and urge him to schedule public comment on the issue at one of the bi-monthly OLCC meetings. If he does, I will testify against it.  www.MikeMarshallForPortland.

Tiffani Benson – I am strongly opposed. While bottle returns assist our most vulnerable economically challenged neighbors, currently they attract another vulnerable, yet drug-addicted population, increasing unsafe and unsanitary conditions for businesses and neighbors. I’m working to keep our communities safe and increase access to critical services for our most vulnerable neighbors.
Yes. I will continue to work with the neighbors of St. Johns to oppose this application.

Nat West – I am opposed to the new BottleDrop. I am a proponent of the BottleDrop program statewide, but BottleDrop should be required to create a Good Neighbor Agreement with its neighbors, like the Safe Rest Villages. If elected, I would propose a change that allows retailers to return the deposit in store credit, which would incentivize retailers’ continued participation in the program and reduce operational expenses.

Candidates who did not comment before press time or who only recently announced their candidacy:

Reuben Berlin
Alan Blake
Marnie Glickman
Mariah Hudson
Sameer Kanal
John Middleton
Jennifer Park
Sam Sachs
Bob Simril
Nabil Zaghloul

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