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Most Portland stores stop accepting bottle returns; TriMet creates free shuttle to bottle drop

A new bottle drop location opened in NW Portland in April to help alleviate demand.

PORTLAND, Ore — Most major Portland retailers, like grocery stores, have stopped accepting can and bottle returns during the coronavirus pandemic, in an effort to reduce the number of people in their stores.

This week, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission extended a non-enforcement of redemption requirements for Oregon stores through at least May 31, 2020, in order to comply with Gov. Kate Brown's stay-at-home order from late March. 

You can still drop off cans at BottleDrop redemption centers for cash, or - if you are signed up for a BottleDrop account - drop off green or blue bags at there locations. The OBRC is also matching donations of untagged green bag dropoffs to the Oregon Food Bank up to $25,000. 

"Anything that is a specifically branded BottleDrop location is open right now. So, that includes about 9 redemption centers in the Metro area and the 10th emergency location that we opened up in NW Portland at our headquarters. That also includes all of our Green Bag drop doors. So there's about 15 other locations in the Metro area where people can drop their green bags," Joel Schoening with the OBRC said. 

And to help Oregonians return cans while stores have paused their return programs, the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative (OBRC) created a bottle drop location at its headquarters at 3900 NW Yeon Ave. It's open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

There's a limit of 350 cans per person, but people can get back in line with more cans after cashing in if they have more to return.

On Wednesday, TriMet launched a free shuttle bus that goes from the Moda Center to the OBRC bottle drop on NW Yeon Avenue that runs every hour. 

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