PENDLETON – A new ordinance regulating abandoned carts comes into effect in Pendleton on Friday, July 30, but many retailers don’t anticipate much change to their operations.
Marjorie Bartlett, assistant manager at Bi-Mart, said her store already collects its carts whenever they are found off premises. Dan Canale estimates that he only had to drive five times to retrieve one of his carts in his seven years as co-owner of Grocery Outlet.
If a cart leaves the parking lot, he says he often finds it across the street near the Safeway Recycling Center.
On July 6, Pendleton City Council approved a new local law that requires retailers with shopping carts to post return information in their stores and on shopping carts and to collect abandoned shopping carts in a timely manner or face potential fines. .
The goal of the new law is to put the responsibility for recovering abandoned carts on retailers rather than the city.
Like many of his peers at other stores, Ace Hardware manager Paul Turk said lost carts weren’t much of an issue when most customers tended to leave their carts at the establishment instead. than putting them out in the parking lot.
But he still had some problems. He didn’t know who would report lost carts to the store and how long staff would have to retrieve them after they were reported. He also didn’t know if the police would provide an escort to retrieve a cart if it was in a dangerous location.
Pendleton Police Chief Chuck Byram said anyone can report a missing cart to a store, but the time only starts after police notify the store. Under the ordinance, cart owners must reclaim their property within 12 hours, but the city won’t begin citing an owner for five calendar days.
Byram added that Pendleton Police would be willing to work with shops to provide protection when the carts are recovered and encouraged them to contact him with any questions.
“My door is always open,” he said. “I answer my emails. My phone is always on.
Byram said the impetus for the new order was an increase in abandoned cart calls in 2019. While most calls came from a small group of individuals and “99%” of stores complied when When asked to get their property back, Byram said police can’t ignore their reports, especially when a store is slow to respond to an abandoned cart.
Byram said they try to handle every call about the carts on a case-by-case basis, especially when someone is still using it. Byram said the police response is different when dealing with an elderly resident who uses the cart as the only way to transport food or goods home.
Ultimately, Byram said he doesn’t plan to invoke the ordinance often, but it gives the city “teeth” when it needs a store’s attention.
Turk said he worked at an Ace in Baker City before managing the Pendleton location and the Baker store sometimes found a cart in a nearby river.
Although it’s not an issue now, Turk said he wants to preserve the Pendleton Ace carts, not only because they’re expensive to replace, but also because he sees the carts as an important service to customers.