A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Two retailers join Albany ‘BottleDrop’

Written June 8th, 2015 by Hasso Hering
The redemption center will take the place of these machines at eight big Albany retailers. (These are at Fred Meyer.)

The redemption center will take the place of  machines like these at eight Albany retailers. (These are at Fred Meyer.)

Two more retailers have decided to participate in the Albany bottle and can redemption center being planned by the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative, says Cherilyn Bertges, the Portland-based cooperative’s public relations and outreach manager.

“Safeway and Target will also be participants,” she wrote in an update she emailed today to a story that appeared here last week. “There was an amendment in the application request after it had been submitted. They both have OLCC signage at their stores now.” Six others were listed on the original application.

The legislature authorized central bottle and can redemption centers several years ago in order to make the 1971 Oregon Bottle Bill work better. The idea was to relieve retailers of the chore of handling empties, a task getting bigger because lawmakers added to the types of containers covered by Oregon’s first-in-the-nation deposit law.

When the Albany “BottleDrop” — the cooperative’s term for its redemption centers — opens, participating retailers plan to quit accepting empties. The others in Albany, besides Safeway and Target, are Fred Meyer, Bi-Mart, Costco, Mega Foods, Rite Aid, and Walmart.

As reported last week, the cooperative expects the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to approve the Albany center at 2141 Santiam Hwy. S.E. this month so that it can open by the end of August. The location, a former tool store, is across the highway from Fed Meyer and Bi-Mart and next door to the Los Dos Amigos restaurant. (hh)


8 responses to “Two retailers join Albany ‘BottleDrop’”

  1. Bill Kapaun says:

    Makes one wonder why the OLCC is involved, especially since they don’t recycle liquor bottles?

    • Hasso Hering says:

      Because the legislation on redemption centers said the OLCC was in charge of reviewing them. Just like lawmakers piled the marijuana regulation on to the commission’s job.

  2. Theodore Lee Salmons says:

    Well that makes sense. After all, legal monopolies always do such a fine job of doing those jobs that should be left to private companies. Want to ship a package reliably? Think fast, USPS, FEDEX, UPS.

    • Hasso Hering says:

      The usual criticism notwithstanding, the downtown restoration program’s rationale is very simple and direct: In the 1980s and ’90s, the central area was decaying because commerce was moving elsewhere. The city council decided, with almost no opposition at the time, that public investment would be needed to keep the core area from crumbling and the 19th century buildings from being lost. The city would never have been interested in doing this if the private sector had not all but abandoned downtown. CARA took a very conservative approach. Instead of wading in and launching huge development projects, it offered only to help private owners and developers with their own ideas. That accounts for the slow progress since the district began in 2001. The only initiative CARA undertook was the First Avenue streetscape renovation, which cost a modest million bucks or so but has had some good results, though more could have been wished for. As for “cronyism” and “favoritism,” those are cheap shots and factually wrong. Downtown restoration projects necessarily are limited to owners of property downtown. Anybody is free to acquire a crappy old building downtown, make plans to restore it and apply for CARA help. No need to be anyone’s crony. And in fact I would love it if people fond of complaining about CARA would pool their money and do a downtown project without even asking for CARA help. That would be the private sector in action and to hell with government aid. (hh)

      • Gordon L. Shadle says:

        Hasso, I believe your reply was intended for your CARA story, not your bottledrop story.

        Nevertheless, I assume you have read Mr. Mikesell’s CARA application. He essentially admits that his project could be done privately with his money and a bank loan. But it appears he is not able to convince a bank to lend him $500k. He wants the building to be a “gem”, so to meet this expectation extra money is needed and that is where CARA enters the picture, and at 0% interest. Is this what CARA was designed to do? Fund “gems” at 0%?

        I say if private money can do an adequate job renovating an old building, public money should never even be considered to achieve “gem” status.

        • Hasso Hering says:

          Right, after all this time the WordPress format still has me befuddled. Thanks for the tip on where that reply belonged. As for the Century Building, it could be renovated at less cost, but as I read the application, the CARA help would pay for a façade that fits downtown and replaces the 1960s exterior on the building now, as well as covering permits and other city fees, and above all pay for a thorough seismic retrofitting that would not be done otherwise. (hh)

  3. russ tripp says:

    CARA says Mikesell must put in a restaurant. We have enough restaurants downtown. What we should have is more retail.

    • Hasso Hering says:

      This week CARA changed the deal. Mikesell will start paying down the loan he got (it had been a de-facto grant on the condition he open a restaurant), and he’ll be freed of that condition. He says he’ll still try for a restaurant but can rent the space for any type of commercial use. (hh)


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