Commissioner Rubio Pauses, Begins Process to Reform City’s Odor Regulatory Code

News Article

Portland City Commissioner Carmen Rubio has directed the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability to begin the process of updating regulations related to odor complaints. 

Earlier this month, Commissioner Rubio called for an immediate pause on enforcement of odor regulations for food establishments after learning about the closure of a Northeast Portland restaurant stemming from complaints around odor issues. 

The restaurant owner attempted multiple measures to alleviate the impact of odor on the complainant, to no avail. The final attempt would have cost the business up to $50,000, which was not financially feasible.

“I am very concerned and am raising serious questions about the negative impacts of this policy,” Commissioner Rubio said. “After my staff met with the impacted business owner, it became clear that the City’s regulation and enforcement of odor issues is outdated and needs a more fair, practical, and equitable approach. My goal is to see the code changes happen as soon as possible.”

As is customary for legislative projects, staff will investigate the history around this regulation and other jurisdictions’ approaches, then work with Bureau of Development Services staff to provide an analysis of recent complaints and how they were resolved. Once this research is complete, staff will propose revisions to the regulations that consider the appropriate application to food establishments and consider the costs and impacts of compliance on business owners.

Per state zoning laws, those recommendations would then be evaluated by the Planning Commission and forwarded to City Council for final approval. The timing is dependent on several internal and external factors, including public comment.


Jimmy Radosta

Communications Director for Commissioner Carmen Rubio