Protect Portland’s Pollinators

PPP_CampaignGraphic_BTversion_600pxCity of Portland passes an ordinance banning neonicotinoid pesticides on city property…

We are proud to announce that the Portland City Commission has voted unanimously to ban the use of  neonicotinoid pesticides on all city-owned property. It was passed with an emergency clause for immediate implementation.

(left to right) Commissioner Amanda Fritz; Bob Salinger, Audubon Society; Lisa Arkin, Beyond Toxics; Lori Ann Burd, Center for Biological Diversity; Rich Hatfield, Xerces Society; Mayor Charlie Hales

(left to right) Commissioner Amanda Fritz; Bob Salinger, Audubon Society; Lisa Arkin, Beyond Toxics; Lori Ann Burd, Center for Biological Diversity; Rich Hatfield, Xerces Society; Mayor Charlie Hales

This morning the Portland City Council took a big step forward in protecting Portland’s wildlife and park users by passing an ordinance to ban the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, and plants treated with neonicotinoid pesticides, on lands owned by the City of Portland. The ordinance also encourages retailers operating within the City of Portland to accurately label plants, seeds and other products that have been treated with neonicotinoid pesticides. Neonicotinoids are persistent and widely used pesticides that are causing well-documented harm to wildlife and in particular, bees, all pollinators and beneficial insects.

“These toxicants kill bees outright or slowly over time, so this ordinance is critical to protecting Portland’s burgeoning local foods movement,” said Lisa Arkin, Executive Director of Beyond Toxics, the group spearheading the adopted protections. “Bees pollinate over 30% of the food we eat and over 70% of all flowering plants. Importantly, children using Portland parks will be safer because of this ordinance.”

For interviews, contact any of the representatives of the Protect Portland’s Pollinators coalition:
Lisa Arkin, Executive Director, Beyond Toxics, (541) 465-8860
Lori Ann Burd, Environmental Health Director, Center for Biological Diversity, (971) 717-6405
Bob Sallinger, Conservation Director, Audubon Society of Portland, (503) 380-9728

Read the April 1 Press Release (PDF)


Current full text of proposed Portland ordinance to…
“Prohibit the use and purchase of neonicotinoid pesticides by the City of Portland; amend Integrated Pest Management strategies; and urge retailers operating within the City of Portland to label plants, seeds, and products containing neonicotinoid pesticides.”


What can I do to help?
Please send messages of thanks to Portland’s leaders in appreciation for the Portland Ordinance to ban neonicotinoids on Portland City property: see Take Action to Protect Portland’s Pollinators.

Help Portland join other cities, including Eugene and Seattle, that have shown they care about bees by banning the use of neonicotinoid insecticides.

Native and managed bees provide Oregon an amazing service. Their crop pollination service in Oregon is estimated at $600 million. That doesn’t even include the pollination service provided in our communities and natural areas. More than 70% of flowering plants require an insect pollinator to produce seeds.

Our bees are at risk. Bees struggle to find sufficient toxic-free forage. An important factor in their decline is their exposure to neonicotinoids and other harmful pesticides.

Neonicotinoids are highly-toxic to bees and other beneficial insects. Neonicotinoids caused seven high-profile bee kills in Oregon over the last two years, six of which were in the Portland metropolitan area. Studies have found that the levels of these chemicals detected in the environment can: reduce foraging capacity and queen bee production, reduce bees’ ability to collect pollen, and suppress their immune system.

These insecticides are also long-lived, building up in the environment from season to season. Furthermore, their systemic nature allows them to move through plants and into the pollen and nectar, providing a direct route of exposure to pollinators. Neonicotinoids are also being linked with cascading ecosystem failures because they decimate aquatic insects that form the bottom of the food chain for birds and fish.

How to get involved:
Take Action to Protect Portland’s Pollinators

Read more about our Save Oregon’s Bees project


Protect Portland’s Pollinators is a joint project of Beyond Toxics, the Xerces Society, the Center for Biological Diversity and The Portland Chapter of the Audubon Society.

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Beyond Toxics is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and all contributions are fully tax-deductible. Please consider giving a gift of a Beyond Toxics membership to a friend or family member!