Show Your Support for a Pesticide Use Ordinance in Portland that Protects Health and the Environment!

The Portland City Council is on the cusp of passing one of the strongest organic land care ordinances in the country, and we need your help to get it over the finish line.

There are efforts by some in the City to weaken certain aspects of the law, so we need to make a big push to urge City Councilors to strengthen, not weaken, the ordinance before the vote!

The City Council is likely to vote on the ordinance at the December 18th Council Meeting, taking place at Portland City Hall. Please join advocates that day at 5:00pm to speak out in support of the ordinance. Help pack the room, and consider making a short public statement before the City Council in support of the ordinance!

In the meantime, we need one last big push to show Portland Council members that the community wants a safer, healthier, pesticide-free Portland that uses organic land management practices! These practices are safe for our community –our children, pets, pollinators, and the health of the Bay. Email the City Council, and please consider following up with a phone call!

Ask your Councilor to support the pesticide use ordinance, which will put in place organic land management practices to protect Portland residents from unnecessary pesticide exposure. The ordinance will:

  • Require organic land care and prohibits conventional pesticides on all municipal property beginning in 2018 and all private property in 2019.

Ask your Councilor to support strengthening amendments to the ordinance that address current weaknesses in the bill, which:

  • Allows prohibited pesticides to be used on Portland varsity athletic fields until January 2021, when the council may issue an extension. (Leading organic expert Chip Osborne advised the council that three years may be needed to transition an athletic field to complete organic management.)
  • Exempts Riverside Golf Course (the city's biggest pesticide user), Hadlock Field, invasive insects (even ones where there are organic and mechanical removal alternatives), old elm trees, rights-of-way, and "health and safety" applications.
  • Creates a 7-person oversight board and requires that three of the members have organic credentials (which means the majority could still be pro-pesticide individuals).
  • Establishes a 2-person waiver committee, including one city staffer with organic credentials, which will approve or deny waiver requests. The City Manager would handle any appeals of those decisions.
  • Prohibits abutters from appealing waivers granted for prohibited pesticide use on neighboring properties.
  • Does NOT restrict synthetic fertilizer use or retail sales of pesticides and fertilizers.

Additionally, ask your Councilor to reject further weakening of the bill, including city staff-recommended amendments that will:

  • Remove the public from the process of evaluating wavier requests;
  • Delay the start date to 2019;
  • Extend the current 3-year deadline for athletic fields to transition from prohibited pesticides to organic land care;
  • Allow prohibited herbicides to be used on invasive plants;
  • Remove the requirement that the city staffer assigned to the pesticide oversight board maintain organic land care credentials;
  • Make the ordinance sunset in 2023.

The full ordinance can be read here.

Find council contact information here to make a follow up phone call.

Please let local advocates know that you’ll attend the December 18th hearing with an
RSVP at this Facebook event page!

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12345 Honey Hammock Hill
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