A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Albany’s new shopping cart code: Now what?

Written March 10th, 2021 by Hasso Hering

The council was shown this photo of carts at the Albany police station after a recent cleanup sweep.

When it takes effect in 30 days, Albany will have a new shopping cart law. The city council unanimously passed it Wednesday night without debate, but it’s not clear what difference it will make in the number of carts being dumped and left.

The main difference from the law in effect since 2008 is this: If the city takes possession of an abandoned cart whose owner can’t be identified, it can dispose of it immediately without having to wait 30 days. This should make storage of abandoned and recovered carts less of a headache.

Another difference is that while carts must bear some identification of the business as before, carts no longer need to show a toll-free number to report abandoned carts. That requirement has been widely ignored.

The council asked no questions about enforcement. There is no known case of the existing law being enforced.

The council heard from no supermarkets or other shopping cart providers, an indication that like the existing city code, the new language is no big thing to them.

Under the new code, cart owners are supposed to post signs that making off with carts is a crime. They must establish a “shopping cart retrieval group,” whatever that is. They must also retrieve abandoned carts, and do so within 72 hours of being notified.

If they don’t retrieve a cart, the city may fine them $50, the same as under the old law. If they do retrieve it from the city, the city may “release” the cart for $50. (This sounds like whether they come and get it or not, it may cost them $50 either way.)

Ominously, the council’s enactment says that for violations of the municipal code, other penalties are available. These include up to $1,000  for a violation and up to $2,500 and a year in jail for a misdemeanor.

None of that raised any eyebrows on the council before the unanimous vote. (hh)

The Albany council during its Wednesday night meeting via Zoom.




11 responses to “Albany’s new shopping cart code: Now what?”

  1. Brad Carter says:

    How will the business decide which of them goes to jail? What if it’s Wal-Mart and corporate owns their carts? Are they going to extradite people from the corporate office to Albany?

  2. Bill Kapaun says:

    Why would they force a store to place a sign warning that it’s a crime to steal a cart when nobody is ever arrested for stealing one? It doesn’t get more stupid than this. Maybe one of them can respond to this blog and explain how they got that way?

  3. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Given an opportunity to undo the stupidity of their predecessors, this council doubles down on a law they do not intend to enforce.

    It seems to me that this council could use a bit more common sense, starting with the need to debate, ask questions, or raise their eyebrows about the possibility that someone (who exactly?) may spend a year in jail over a shopping cart.

  4. Mike Patrick says:

    Idiots at large!

  5. John Klock says:

    Death by a thousand cuts to houseless people as usual.

  6. Rich Kellum says:

    I do not understand why the thief is not held accountable. To some, we are supposed to feel sorry for a thief who is blatantly showing the world that he stole somebodies shopping cart. I wonder if they would be so forgiving if somebody stole their wheel borrow and was running it around their neighborhood in their face??

    • Pat Essensa says:

      On 14th st. Behind sportmans warehouse there are a dozen carts every month. I think the people who live in assited living take them from the store. I go by there all the time so when they’re about a dozen I call freddys Togo get them and yes they pick them up. I would love to.pick up carts around down.I could use the money

  7. Richard Vannice says:

    Like so many laws and regulations which are enacted by all levels of government, it addresses a definite problem and a proposed solution (?)
    Just look at the “NO PARKING” signs posted in many locations around town that are blatantly ignored. The “STOP” signs likewise ignored. The SIGNAL LIGHTS same thing,
    People are people and it seems that many feel that those regulations are not meant for them. Come on folks, we all need to look at ourselves and see what we are doing that violates a law/regulation and police ourselves first.

  8. centrist says:

    Property is removed from a place of business without knowledge or consent. The City intends to charge a fee for return of that property.
    Sounds like a shakedown.
    This decree won’t survive the first application

    • Gordon L. Shadle says:

      Agree, “shakedown” is a very apt descriptor. This council is not off to a good start.

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      One of the rare times centrist agrees with me.

      It’s similar to when fire depts. negotiated with the homeowner on how much to charge them to put out the fire.

      Let’s see at least one of the City Council members explain their logic and prove they aren’t idiots. We know you read this blog. Why the CONSPICUOUS ABSENCE?


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