Friday, March 20, 2015

Advocating on Behalf of Oregon's Hospitality Industry

Oregon State Capitol
Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association’s (ORLA) stripped down mission statement to “advocate, communicate and educate Oregon’s hospitality industry” has been discussed frequently in this publication. These three words are the reason ORLA exists, however, there is nothing like real world examples of how ORLA is meeting these goals to illustrate the point. I’ll give you some examples below.

We’re certainly in the midst of providing advocacy for you by representing the industry at the 78th Oregon Legislative Session, which began in February 2015. Your association is tracking over 300 bills that could affect your business. The most visible are statewide paid sick leave, a variety of proposals increasing the minimum wage between $12 and $15 an hour, a bill that requires work schedules be written two weeks out for foodservice operations with a penalty for any subsequent changes, and a cancellation of the ban on local governments passing their own minimum wages. ORLA’s lobbyist, Bill Perry, is at the Capitol daily representing your interests to the legislators and working to ensure all damaging legislation is not passed.

ORLA held its bi-annual Taste Oregon Legislative reception on February 17th, drawing over 225 industry members in attendance including a significant number of legislators and their staffers. Here, we’re talking about advocacy in terms of interacting with legislators, and communication by informing our members of the issues being dealt with in Salem. 

ORLA’s Education Foundation helps meet the educational mission by producing the annual OregonProStart High School Culinary Championships. This year’s event was held at Spirit Mountain Casino in Grand Ronde. There were 20 teams competing in an event that requires teams of four to plan and cook a 3-course meal in one hour using two gas burners while properly handling and prepping the food. The winning team from South Salem High School will compete in the National ProStart Invitational in Anaheim representing Oregon.

Finally, we are in the midst of preparing for and planning the annual Northwest Foodservice Show with our partners at the Washington Restaurant Association. The largest foodservice show in the Northwest, this typically draws over 5,000 and will be held in Portland this year at the Convention Center, April 26-27. We’re anticipating 400 booths featuring the latest in products and services plus a full agenda of educational seminars, new product listings and chef presentations. 

That’s just a sampling of the work and services ORLA delivered to the industry in the first quarter of 2015. For those who haven’t become ORLA members yet, please consider joining. All it takes is a call or email to get a helpful representative to review all the programs membership provides. We look forward to working with you as we support our great industry. | Steve McCoid, President & CEO,
Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association

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