Protect Portland’s pollinators

March 20, 2015: We need your help to protect Oregon’s birds and bees!

At 2 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25, the Portland City Commissioners are holding a hearing to discuss a proposed ordinance to prohibit the use of neonicotinoid insecticides (“neonics”) on city property. This is an important step forward in protecting Portland’s wildlife! Please consider attending the hearing or emailing City Council to let them know you support the ban.

Anna's Hummingbird on Red Flowering Currant, photo by Audrey Addison


Date: Wednesday, March 25
Time: 2 p.m.
Location: City Hall | 1221 SW 4th Avenue, Portland

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What would the ordinance do?

The ordinance would prohibit the city from using neonics on city-owned property, and encourage nurseries and other retailers to label any plants they sell that have been treated with neonicotinoids.

Bee die-offs demonstrate the need to take action

In Oregon, seven neonicotinoid insecticide applications in the summers of 2013 and 2014 caused the death of nearly 100,000 bumble bees, representing hundreds of colonies. Poisoning incidents occurred in Beaverton, Eugene, Portland, Wilsonville and other cities. High-profile investigations by the Oregon Department of Agriculture implicated dinotefuran in two of the kills and a closely related pesticide, imidacloprid, in the others. These insecticides, along with clothianidin and thiamethoxam, are neonicotinoids, the most widely used group of insecticides in the world. They are highly toxic to honey bees, as well as many native pollinators, including bumble bees.

Neonicotinoids also harm birds and other wildlife

Studies show that a single neonicotinoid-treated seed can kill a songbird. Neonicotinoids can also have sub-lethal effects on birds such as reduced reproduction. Neonics also wipe out the insects on which many birds depend for survival.

The Bird Alliance of Oregon, Beyond Toxics, Center for Biological Diversity and Xerces have been working to promote this ban – please help us ensure that City Council passes the ordinance!

Key points to make

  • Council should pass the ban to protect our birds, bees and other wildlife.
  • Neonicotinoids should not be used by local governments, because governments have a special obligation to protect children. Children, who are especially sensitive to health risks posed by pesticides, are a primary user of public parks.
  • Portland should join other northwest cities like Seattle, Spokane, and Eugene that have banned the use of neonicotinoids on city-owned lands.
  • Bees and other insect pollinators are under great environmental stress and are experiencing die-offs and diminishing populations, which adds costs to and burden on major sectors of agriculture. Bee die-offs in Oregon and around the world are putting food security at risk.
  • An independent review of more than 800 scientific studies concluded neonicotinoid pesticides are causing significant damage to a wide range of beneficial invertebrate species and are a key factor in the decline of bees.
  • The United States Geological Survey has highlighted the growing use of neonicotinoids in the United States, and found significant neonicotinoid contamination in our nation’s waters.
  • Neonics can persist in plants and soil for years after treatment, which can lead to chronic exposure.
  • It is time for Portland to protect our children and wildlife by banning the use of neonics on city-owned property.

Thanks to Commissioner Amanda Fritz for her leadership role in this effort.

Help us protect Portland’s pollinators – support the neonic ban!