Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Multnomah County approves tobacco licensing requirements

The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners has enacted a tobacco-licensing requirement for retailers, a move intended to cut down on sales to minors.

The board approved the ordinance at its Nov. 12 meeting.

“There’s no opposition here today, so that’s a good sign,” Chair Deborah Kafoury said.

According to numbers quoted by the commissioners, more than three out of every 10 minors were successful at purchasing tobacco products in Multnomah County in 2014.

Licensing will impose penalty fees in instances where retailers are caught selling tobacco to minors.

The specific fee structure was not outlined in the county’s ordinance. The rule-making process begins soon with the appointment of a committee to consider enforcement, education, inspection, as well as a schedule of license fees and penalties. The license fee could be anywhere from $350 to $600 a year.

Before approving the ordinance, the county held several open houses to discuss the topic, as well as to gather public testimony.

“I appreciate all of the outreach that’s been done all over the county on this issue,” Commissioner Diane McKeel said.

Kafoury is hopeful the topic will become a statewide issue.

“I think we all understand having a statewide system would be the best for our constituents,” Kafoury said.

She added it’s likely the state will take up the issue at either the 2016 short session, or the 2017 session.