Direct the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability to review Portland's franchise system for the collection of residential solid waste, recycling, and composting


WHEREAS, in 1991, Council granted residential solid waste, recycling, and yard debris collection franchises in the City of Portland to introduce services and implement standards and rates to encourage increased recovery of recyclable material from the waste stream (Ordinance No. 164701); and

WHEREAS, Council has periodically directed Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) staff to review the residential franchise system; and

WHEREAS, effective in January 2019, Council granted a 12-year renewal of residential solid waste, recycling, and composting collection franchises (Ordinance No. 189242); and

WHEREAS, the franchise renewal ordinance allows Council to initiate a review of the franchise system during a six-month period beginning 48 months after the ordinance became effective (Ordinance No. 189242 Section 19.A.); and

WHEREAS, the review provides the City with an opportunity to assess the effectiveness of the franchise system in meeting goals for waste reduction and recovery, providing cost-effective rates, customer service, and reducing barriers to economic opportunity for minority-owned and women-owned companies; and

WHEREAS, guiding principles, included as Exhibit A, provide direction to BPS staff in undertaking the franchise review process and identifying issues to be examined.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability conduct a review of the residential solid waste, recycling, and composting collection franchise system using the general guidelines described in Exhibit A attached to this Resolution, together with such other matters as may be identified in the course of the review, and submit a report to Council within 180 days of passage of this Resolution.

Documents and Exhibits

Impact Statement

Purpose of Proposed Legislation and Background Information

This resolution implements and supports existing City policy in place to administer the residential franchised garbage and recycling system. The purpose of the proposed resolution is to initiate midterm review of the residential solid waste and recycling collection franchise system.

Since 1992, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) has overseen a residential franchise system authorizing and regulating garbage and recycling collection companies providing residential curbside collection to households living in single-family homes through four-unit complexes. The City’s franchise establishes geographic areas for residential collection services and limits truck traffic in neighborhoods. Through annual fee-setting and the City’s administrative rules, the system is intended to enable affordable, efficient, and effective collection service while implementing waste reduction and recovery policies as directed by City Council.

The current agreement between the City and nine garbage and recycling collection companies is governed by a twelve-year franchise. Under the franchise, the City may embark on a midterm review, and at that point may renew the franchise for a new twelve-year period. In 2017, the City initiated a review of the franchise, which was renewed in an updated form by City Council and which took effect in January 2019. The franchise review is:

  1. An opportunity to ensure the franchise system is still in the public interest and to identify improvements to help the system better meet the City’s goals.
  2. A required first step to renew the franchise. Typically, the franchise is renewed for another term and the new franchise (including any changes) supersedes the remaining years of the current franchise.

If the City does not conduct the franchise review and recommend renewal, the franchise will expire at the end of the current term (January 2031) and the franchise may be updated or renewed at that time, or another system for collecting residential discards must be identified and established.

The franchise states that once the review is launched, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability shall report back to the City Council within 180 days.

Financial and Budgetary Impacts

If City Council votes to initiate midterm franchise review, BPS staff will proceed with the review process. BPS may use a contractor to support stakeholder engagement, within our existing budget.

If City Council does not vote to initiate franchise review and opts to allow the current franchise to expire in 2023, BPS staff will seek to hire a consultant to assist in developing and analyzing more significant changes to the franchise system as well as alternatives to the franchise system for collecting residential garbage, recycling, and composting.

Otherwise, this resolution does not entail any long-term financial or budget impacts or authorize any spending on any projects or programs.

Community Impacts and Community Involvement

The proposed review of the franchise will consider updates or revisions to of the franchise governing collection of residential garbage, recycling, and yard debris / food scraps from single-family through fourplex dwellings, serving approximately 157,000 households across the City from a variety of different communities citywide. The residential franchise system delivers value to the community in several ways. It ensures that defined service is universally available for a clearly defined and publicly-set price while maintaining an incentive to provide service cost effectively. It provides the City and our community opportunities to continue advancing goals to promote recovery and recycling of valuable materials and reduce the environmental and safety impacts of collection. Through the establishment of service areas and terms of service, it promotes efficient collection and use of City roadways by heavy duty trucks. To accomplish these benefits, the franchise system grants exclusive rights for collection service. The franchise review is one of the opportunities available to the City to identify ways to continue to improve how the system delivers on environmental, community and equity values.

Accompanying this resolution is a set of proposed guiding principles.

If the City Council adopts the proposed resolution to initiate the franchise review process, the process will engage stakeholders including current franchisees and interested parties. The process will also include public hearings at City Council to provide opportunity for Portlanders to comment on the draft and final recommendations.

100% Renewable Goal

Previously, the City has used its franchise regulatory authority to increase renewable energy use through requirements for biodiesel fuel and newer reduced emissions vehicles. The franchise review proposes to open discussion on further movement towards zero-emissions collection vehicles. It is also worth noting that the residential garbage and recycling collection franchises help minimize energy use tied to collection through more efficient use of heavy-duty collection vehicles.

Agenda Items

231 Time Certain in March 22, 2023 Council Agenda


Eben Polk

Solid Waste & Recycling Manager

Requested Agenda Type

Time Certain

Date and Time Information

Requested Council Date
Requested Start Time
10:05 am
Time Requested
30 minutes
Confirmed Time Certain