City of Madras, Oregon Proposes Fining Grocery Stores for Carts Stolen and Found Near Homeless Camps (VIDEO)

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Screenshot: Central Oregon Daily News/Youtube

In a controversial move, the City of Madras is proposing a new policy that would levy fines against grocery stores for shopping carts that are stolen and found near homeless camps, according to a report by Central Oregon Daily News.

Local grocery stores acknowledge the issue but are divided on the solution.

Kevin Eidemiller, co-manager of Ericksons Thriftway, expressed his frustration to Central Oregon Daily, “We’ve had close to probably 70 to 100 carts stolen in the last two years. At least once a week to every other week, we go hunting for our own carts.”

The City made contact with grocery stores late last year to prompt action to retain carts on the property.

Nicholas Snead, Madras Community Development Director, highlighted the need for a resolution: “When we started to see the relationship between shopping carts not being kept on the retailer’s property and then being used in ways that weren’t intended, we thought we needed to start figuring out a way to solve this problem.”

Despite these discussions, the city has seen no significant improvement, leading to the drafting of a new proposal. “If the shopping cart is not on the property, it’s a $100 offense,” said Snead.

According to the proposal, “Each occurrence of a violation, or, in the case of continuous violations, each day a violation occurs or continues, constitutes a separate offense and may be punished separately.”

Eidemiller, however, sees this as an unfair burden on businesses, “If you have your own private property, you shouldn’t be fined for it being taken off your own premise. It seems pretty excessive.”

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The city is hosting an open house on February 26 to discuss potential solutions with retailers.

Below is the announcement from Community Development Director Nicholas Snead via KTVZ:

“We understand that managing shopping carts can pose logistical challenges for local retailers, but it is crucial that we work together to minimize unintended impacts to the community. By keeping shopping carts on premises, we can minimize the risk of them being misused and mitigate the associated problems for our community.

“These regulations would also entail retailers being fined for non-compliance. Shopping cart management is an issue that affects not only individual businesses but also residents and the overall aesthetics and functionality of our community.

“In November of 2023, the City contacted each retailer and communicated the problem and requested changes to their operations to ensure shopping carts remain on premises. After several months of not seeing significant changes, the City is considering implementing regulations that would mandate businesses to retain their shopping carts on premises.

“City staff initially raised the issue to the Madras Homeless Advisory Committee at their December 2023 and January 2024 meetings. At the January 22, 2024, Homeless Advisory Committee meeting, the committee took formal action to make a recommendation to the City Council to approve the proposed shopping cart regulations. (The draft regulations are included in that meeting’s agenda packet.)

“The City believes it is crucial that the City provide an opportunity for stakeholders to have the chance to contribute to the conversation before the City Council considers establishing these regulations.

“The City of Madras is hosting an Open House at City Hall in the City Council Chambers located at 125 SW “E” Street, Madras, OR 97741 on Monday, February 26, from 2:00-3:30 PM to discuss the proposed shopping cart regulations.

“The purpose of this gathering is to provide an opportunity for stakeholders, including local business owners, to learn, voice their opinions, concerns, and suggestions regarding the proposed regulations. The Open House will include presentations by city staff, as well as opportunities for attendees to ask questions and share their perspectives.”

Below is the proposal:

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Source material can be found at this site.

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