By Tom Henderson • Staff Writer • 

Bag ban causes blowback for city

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I must thank the city for the new bag ban. It has been great. Since the ban went into effect I have spent less than $100 local on retail items. I now spend my lunches at work going grocery shopping, or picking up other retail items we need or even ordering online. It is actually saving me money as I critique if my family is in actual need of the items, and now with not just running to the store to grab things, we have less spur of the moment purchases. We also have found some really neat mom and pa stores out of our area that we have spent large sums of in. I have come to a new comfort level of refusing to shop at ANY store in McMinnville due to the bag ban. Of course it is not the ban I disagree with. It is the City making it mandatory for a store to charge a fee on paper bags. That decision should be up to the store – not the city. Why is McMinnville the only city to not put this up for a vote? Do you know there are Walmart’s in plastic bag ban areas that GIVE you paper bags? And that Paper bags come from trees, and we have become very successful at Farming trees… (Please see examples - Magness Tree Farm) So why does the city feel the need to make us pay a mandatory charge on paper bags, and not make this decision one the retailer can make? Then my decision to not shop a store because the charge for bags is my own… Not forced by the city… Paper bags were free prior to plastic bags... Bags are an overhead cost of business. A store should have the right to give away free bags, adjust shelf prices to compensate for bags, or charge at fee at the door, but that should be their choice, not one the City of McMinnville says a company MUST FORCE upon their customers!
Until the five cent rule vanishes.. All my money not needed in a critical emergency, including pharmacy, gas, snacks, movies, DVD rentals, grocery, clothes, flowers, wine, and alcohol all leaves town.


Andy you said exactly what a lot of people feel. It should be retailers choices to charge for bags. I'm not a plastic bag guy I prefer paper anyway. That said a city that does not put things on a ballot to be voted on by the people has way to much control. What's next no jeans on Third Steet or no pickups in the city limits? This used to be a simple town to live in and it's getting more difficult everyday. The city should be more worried about helping the police force keep everyone safe and our children get a well rounded proper education.


It probably shouldn't be too surprising to hear that people don't like the government controlling their lives. Especially when they clamp down with such an asinine law as banning bags, and then have the gall to charge the citizens money to be in compliance.
I think the 5 cent per bag to the merchant was a way to get them onboard and willing to do the governments dirty work. That adds up to a LOT of money merchants over time.



You may want to check your economic model. In your tantrum of trying to avoid a nominal .05 fee, you’ll be spending exponentially more on fuel.

But hey, it’s your money.

Big oil thanks you for your fit.


Since the city doesn't get the five cents mandated charge per bag, why not leave the decision to charge or not charge to the merchants, who have, up until recently, treated it as a cost of doing business. Anyone who uses that rationalization of the mandated charge is either stupid as a rock, or thinks we are.

Good on you, AndyA. I'm right behind you on my way to Newberg.


I think the motivation for the mandatory 5-cent charge is to provide an incentive for joining the reusable bag movement. I figure people willing to impose a bag ban are also willing to impose a bag fee to help further they're desired outcome.
I'm not endorsing that rationale, just providing my personal take on it.



Exactly. I betcha there was the same temper tantrums and hyperbole when the .05 bottle deposit was started. I’m sure there were legions of people threatening to make their own pop and beer, and stomping their feet in anger.

Of course nobody did, and after awhile they accepted it. In time, all ridiculous fits twitter out.


Since I work out of town, the reality is I do not spend more on gas. I already drive into the metro area daily, so multiple stores are minutes from my work. The bag ban has actually decreased my running around town after work, and on weekends. Thus increasing time spent with my family playing game, doing homework, watching movies.. Or we are, working on my house. Since we no longer run to the store at night, or to multiple stores on the weekend, this is saving me gas, time, and money.
As I said, in the event of an emergency my children will not go without. The city of McMinnville Stores are now convenience stores for such emergencies. (i.e. illness, meds, etc.) but only if it can not wait. If it can wait until I get home from work Monday night, then on the list it goes, or Amazon Prime it is...
And yes in the end it might cost me a few cents more to save my nickles. But this is about principle. Being told I must pay for a paper bag at a store by local government is wrong! Being told not to use plastic bags to save the environment I am OK with, but to be told to carry my own bags with me, or now pay a fee is not OK.
To me this is our City Government overstepping. Its great to do away with the plastic... Not Ok to mandate I carry a bag or pay a fee! Leave that fee and decision to the store!


I know several people who are doing exactly what Andy is doing. Just doing their shopping out of town on the way home from work. I think that's the best way to protest this.


Well then I guess you better not buy any bottled beverages. Or drive a car, or buy gas, or pay taxes, or do anything else.

Or, just stick a stupid bag in your car. I mean, how complicated is this?

But, whatever. If you truly stick to your guns, and you won’t, it’ll cost you more and nobody will care.



NewsRegister can you solve a mystery for me and I'm sure other people. Where does the .05 per bag go if the retailers don't keep it and the city doesn't keep it ?


Change isn't easy. I admit I've only been 50% successful remembering to bring my own bags (despite having many in the car!) so far. I expect I'll get better as time goes on. But I'm thankful for the new ordinance as it does make me more mindful to do better for our planet.

I'm choosing to ignore all the hullabaloo over 5 cent charges. I'm not going to waste any energy over this. I simply got some bags and am working on changing my habits.

This doesn't have to be as grueling or complicated as some folks are describing.

(By the way, I was at Winco today ...9/15...and there were no plastic bags available. Thanks, Winco, for keeping your word!)


Reminds me of the time when service stations quit providing service. Used to get tire pressure, oil checked and windows cleaned while getting gas. Now in OR. we pay a attendant to insert and remove the gas nozzle only---because we are incompetent drivers.
Now we are paying the stores for paper bags that are not reusable Or pay for cloth bags----which the store makes a profit on.
The concept of freedom means having a choice.
So I am going to other towns that respect MY wishes. I can afford to drive but don't care to increase profits of businesses that restrict my freedom of choice. Paper bags DO NOT cost five cents. Remember what created the plastic bag-----it was to save the trees. You know, the trees that have been raised solely to provide paper products. A whole industry was compromised to be "green" and the plastic bag was born. Now, we have a law that increases the profit of stores rather than provide a choice.
And that also was passed with out citizens making that choice. Drop the five cent charge for a less than a cent paper bag.
the city has made a choice, now I choose to go elsewhere.

Don Dix

Jim -- If you take any bag, box, backpack, or any other container to the store, your bill @ checkout will reflect a .05 credit (at least @ Roths). It may be that the extra charge for bags and the credit for reusable is a wash.

The smaller plastic bags, which are used in store for produce, etc., are not part of the program. When looking at the reason(s) for the ban, it makes no sense to exclude some and not others.

As for the ban itself, it seems this would be a great opportunity to circulate petitions to get this on the ballot. This city is not the private playground of any entity, including the council. Let the citizens who have made Mac what it is decide. I'm in -- give me a call --- Don


Just noticed that the law allows those with less than 10 employees does not have to charge for the paper bags. And the bigger stores have to. Does it make any sense at all to enforce the collection by large stores supposedly to cover their expense (and add profit)while the smaller store eats the cost so they can be competitive.
Sounds like mandating profits to large "box stores" If any thing the large stores can eat the cost better than the smaller stores.


This bag ban stinks! Not necessarily for the reasons for it, but how it was forced upon the McMinnville populace without a vote. Put it on a ballot, and then if it gets voted in, I will shut my trap and live with it. In the mean time, the majority of my money is getting spent out of town. Denise, the bottle deposit example was implemented statewide, not just in McMinnville. Poor example.


And the bottle ban RETURNED the customer's money on return of the container. Not the same as paying the merchant and increasing their profit-----which insured their support.



Jim: The nickel stays with the retailer. It is designed to cover the cost of paper bags and associated expenses.


Thanks Steve. I've read conflicting reports on where the money went.

Mac Native 66

For all you clowns who don't like the bag ban, what was your life like before the plastic bags where invented? Everyone says that we need to quit relying on foreign oil. So why not stop using plastic bags? Even those reusable bags are made of plastic. Paper bags are easier to recycle then plastic bags. I put all me recyclables in my paper bag and then put it in the recycle container. Can you do that with a plastic bag? NO! What made me mad was when I went into sLowe's to buy some stuff I had to carry out in my arms. They had no brains to order up paper bags. I should of used one of their buckets.
To sum it up, shut up and use the paper bags or move the f*** out of town.


The five cent charge was put into the law at the insistence of small retailers in Mac. Large chain retailers were happy to go along for the sake of being rid of the plastic bags. Not surprisingly this is all in the public record and has been reported out in the past by local news and the city. I hope this clears up the confusion about the five cent charge.

john fritter

Hey 66 nobody is complaining about USING paper bags. I have always used paper because I reuse them and will continue. But I have to agree with the point of this dialog. They have taken away one option and forced a charge on the other. As for the .05 can deposit you get that back! If the stores are crediting customers that bring their own then good on them! Myself I will pay the fee because I wont remember to carry bags. Just like I donate my empty cans and bottles now that I have to waste too much time standing at a machine to return them.

Bill B

Read Denise's comments. That's the problem as I see it. Her attitude like the majority of the populace is to say oh well the decision has been made and I'll just have to live with it. Sad.

Ramsey McPhillips

The 5 cent fee is for a variety of good reasons. 1) paper bags cost more so 5 cents offsets cost to stores to provide paper. They do not make money off the sale of bags but they do save money by not having to buy plastic bags which they gave away by the millions. 2) it encourages the real goal of Bag It Better... the use of re/usable bags. 3) Big stores could afford not charging 5 cents which would disadvantage small stores which could not afford to give them out. The Council wisely chose to level the playing field by requiring all stores charge the same fee/bag.

It's great to see the majority of the city... stores, waste haulers, Council and citizens earnestly work to make this transition period as smooth as possible. From all reports, people are now remembering their re-usable bags and all the benefits of not having plastic bags as litter and in our natural environment is working!

It's a small step in a long goal to help McMinnville become the first city in Oregon to reduce and divert 90% (definition of Zero Waste) of its Waste from landfills by 2024.


Winco gives you a $0.10 discount for each reusable bag you use.....#winning


As I read all the comments... Lets look at Roth's IGA.. They always gave you a free option of Paper or Plastic, now Paper costs .05, Winco always had Paper available... Now it costs .05, Safeway you could always ask for paper now it costs .05,
The other aspect is do any of you know what it takes to manufacture paper bags, or what the environmental impact of that process is?
Have you looked at volume to move paper or plastic to a landfill, or looked into the myths of plastic bags? Or the research on bans and how ineffective they are?
There are many websites... All about bags ... how stuff works... and many others... Please do some research.
Mac Native asks what did we do before Plastic bags.. Easy.. I used Free paper bags supplied by the store.. but now I have to pay .05 because they cost more? and they city says I must pay that... Not the retailer...
The reality is most of this argument is not about paper vs plastic. For those that it is.. Please look into the information above. You will be shocked. Paper is really bad!
For the rest of us.. It is about a government mandate that says a store must charge us for a bag. Not provide a service, but the store is mandated by ordinance to charge. A charge passed to us, that was not put out for a vote.
I think the best solution was the older lady in line in front of me at Albertsons that had the cart full of groceries. When asked about bags she said no thank you. Please put the items back in the cart. Then when done, she asked the cashier for a courtesy clerk to take groceries out. I saw the clerk unloading the items into totes in the woman's car. 40+ items unloaded from her cart, put back into her cart, taken out by another employee, and then unloaded 1 by 1 into the ladies car. That must of cost the store 15 to 20 minutes of employee time. The store lost how much on labor because the city mandated that the store must charge for bags.
This is about the charge not the bags!


If everyone commenting on this topic put this much positive effort into making something good happen then we could probably do something pretty wonderful. Instead I see a bunch of people fighting over a first world problem and whining about what bag they use at a grocery store. How about this idea; go volunteer to read to children or something positive and forget about the silly bags.

john fritter

TTT, very true. How about I go read to kids and you hang out at the grocery store and donate nickel's to all the customers for their bags!


Point validated. Enjoy your day Fritter.


How about an issue rarely mentioned? Why not ban all disposable diapers and return to those thrilling days of yesteryear with the reusable cloth kind? Maybe the city council in its Big Brother know-it-all judgment could blast us poor feebs back to the '50s with this sage prohibition.


I like that lulu


I agree with TTT, I don't think we ought to wine and complain about the intrusions of bureaucrats who seem to think they know what is best for us. I think we should simply fix the real problem: Abuse of the power given by us to govern.

1) Every city councilor who voted in favor should be ousted in the next election
2) A petition needs to be started if it has not yet. Has anyone started one and if not where do we go to determine the requirements to make it happen?


Lulu be careful what you ask for! Any idea that sounds reasonable to power brokers who have no appreciation for what liberty and freedom are may come to pass.

It never ends with people who spend a lifetime legislating to others how to live.

F. Bank

I am so thrilled that the City has made this decision for all of us, my goodness, I know THEY know best, we, the Citizens, cannot make those decisions for ourselves. And to Mac native 66...You are a person who cannot deal with making decisions on your own and want govenment to make them for you and your fellow citizens. So what is next? I hate popcorn, and popcorn with butter I really hate, and it is not good for you and makes people fat and unhealthy, and that in turn costs us all money, so shall we have big brother ban buttered popcorn as well?


Mr Mayor, REVERSE this Bag Ban!


well, I figure I have a five year plus supply of plastic bags---I save them to stuff my archery target with them. Also The times i will shop in town will be for single last minute items. By the way it's neat that Lowes doesn't charge for paper bags---THEY DON"T HAVE ANY.


just bought some items at BI-Mart and they GIVE you a paper bag--as long as it is a medium sized one. I did not ask but I assume that there is not a "one bag " limit. Just keeps getting dumber


I think whining about a bag ban or the cost of a $0.05 paper bag is the very definition of first world problems.
If THIS is the upsetting event in your life right now, consider yourself fortunate, and go throw some reusable bags into each car. Humans are incredibly resilient in the face of adversity; you will probably be OK.


McMinnville tries to save the world. What a great idea. Let's not be concerned about the homeless, rising crime or drugs. The best way to fix the city is ban bags. We want it to be a pain to go shopping in town. I will get most things elsewhere so that I can have the convenience of carrying my purchases instead of chasing them around a cart or my car!

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