PDX Index

12 Things That Are Banned in the Beaver State

You already know Oregon law frowns on certain fireworks. But sky lanterns and pet leopards?

By Kelly Clarke June 25, 2019 Published in the July 2019 issue of Portland Monthly

Sky lanterns are among the things Oregon bans. 

Yes, Oregon law frowns on certain fireworks (Roman candles, cherry bombs, bottle rockets—pretty much anything that can “fly, explode or travel more than six feet on the ground or 12 inches in the air”). But unrequested ketchup packets and house leopards?

Offering plastic straws, stirrers, or utensils Starting October 1, these items will be available by request only at Portland businesses, per a city council policy approved last December. Getting fries from the drive-thru? Know ketchup packets are part of the new rule, too.

Sky lanterns Sorry, Tangled cosplayers, it’s illegal to release these softly glowing paper orbs into Oregon airspace. For some reason, an air balloon powered by an open flame doesn’t fly with firefighters.

The United Nations Yes, really. In 2002, Grant County voted to officially ban the global peacekeepers from this rural Eastern Oregon enclave (thus making it safe from the UN’s supposed plans for “one world education”).

Certain weed names The Oregon Liquor Control Commission nixes any marijuana strain name that could be misleading or appeal to kids (e.g., Light Saber, Incredible Hulk, Girl Scout Cookies). Which is sad, because Charlotte’s Web would’ve been hella lit.

Big-dairy raw milk In Oregon, if you want to drink unboiled moo juice, which some argue is rife with beneficial bacteria and enzymes, you’ll have to buy it directly from a local farm with fewer than three cows.

Cruising Local youth indulging in nighttime vehicular peacocking better head to Milwaukie or the ‘Couve—because the number of times a Portland vehicle can slowly roll through “traffic congestion thoroughfares” between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.? Just twice!

Exotic pets Portlanders won’t be pet-parenting any large cat from the genus Panthera (leopards, jaguars) any time soon—nor caimans, apes, bears, or wolves. (You can keep a monkey if you can prove your “trained exotic primate” is a service animal.)

Occult arts Portland is into the astral plane, obviously. But in nearby Yamhill County, it’s a misdemeanor to practice astrology, clairvoyance, mesmerism, palmistry, or anything “unsound and unscientific whereby an attempt or pretense is made” to tell the future.

Offshore drilling The Oregon Legislature overwhelmingly passed a permanent ban on offshore oil drilling (and limit drilling in federal waters by barring state agencies from helping with offshore oil extraction) this past spring, further cementing the state’s fave pastimes of defending the environment and telling Trump to suck it. The ban takes effect Jan. 1, 2020. 

Single-use plastic bags Well, people can have them, but Portland retailers like grocery stores haven’t been allowed to stock them at checkout counters since 2011. The Oregon House passed a statewide bag ban in April. If it passes the Senate this session, Oregon would become the second state in the nation, behind California, with a bag ban. 

Powdered booze Oregon just says no to drunk Lik-M-Aid; in 2015, we even preemptively prohibited retail sales of granulated and powdered alcohol—like Palcohol’s yet-to-be-released powdered rum and vodka.

White supremacy (kind of) This past February, Portland City Council passed a resolution condemning white supremacists and alt-right hate groups. Outcomes may be limited to trainings on white supremacy for city employees, but given that we live in a state that outright banned black people from living within its borders back in 1859, anything on the record is welcome.


Editor’s note: A previous version of this story listed an earlier start date for the city’s single-use plastics ban. The city council decided in June to give businesses more time.

Filed under
Show Comments