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“This beverage tax hurts neighborhood businesses and families most. It seems like another tax that the people and families of Portland and Multnomah County aren't equipped to handle. Just say no.” - Sheila Costner, The Bean Scene

Who We Are

Move Forward Multnomah is a coalition of concerned residents, businesses and community organizations actively opposing new taxes on everyday items like juice drinks, sodas, teas, sports drinks, energy drinks, coffee drinks, and even kombucha. We’re taking a stand because Multnomah County consumers can’t afford to pay more and are committed to protecting neighborhood businesses and jobs. Learn more about our coalition here.

For all press inquiries, please contact:


What can we expect if the beverage tax passes in Multnomah County?

  • The cost of hundreds of beverages may double in price, some may jump by up to four times as their original priceThis astronomical increase includes sodas, juice drinks, energy drinks, some teas, sports drinks – even kombucha.
  • Working-class families will be hard hit, and many shoppers will cross county lines to avoid the tax.
  • Increasing costs and diminishing sales will hurt Multnomah County’s economy, negatively impacting neighborhood stores, restaurants, food trucks and other businesses. That’s exactly what happened in Philadelphia, and sales and job cuts followed.
  • The tax revenue will line political coffers, but it remains unclear how these funds will be used. Despite politicians’ promises, there are no guarantees where the money will go.

Is this the future we want for our community? Or do we want to stand strong for progressive values by rejecting regressive taxes that will cost us jobs and hurt working-class families?

This tax hike is simply not worth the risk. That’s why we created Move Forward Multnomah, a coalition of community businesses and county residents urging opposition to this dangerous proposal. After all, we know the best way to encourage smart decisions is through education and information – not the government trying to make products so costly that working-class families can’t afford them.

Join us in urging your lawmakers and your community to oppose a beverage tax.

New Report: The Economic Impact of Philadelphia's Beverage Tax

In January 2017, Philadelphia implemented a 1.5 cent per ounce tax (PBT) on all sweetened beverages – even those with no calories. The impact means that Philadelphia will lose an estimated 1,190 jobs, $54 million in labor income, and $80 million in annual GDP. We can't let the same thing happen here in Multnomah County.

Please also click here to download the key highlights of the study.


What is the Beverage Tax?

Multnomah County residents are being asked to consider a proposal to tax beverages with sugar like soda, juice drinks, sports drinks, coffee drinks and iced teas. This tax on the distribution of beverages with sugar will be passed on to county restaurant owners, grocers and corner stores, who will then be forced to raise prices on hundreds of beverages.

How much is this beverage tax going to cost me?

The proposed ordinance creates a 1.5-cent per ounce beverage tax. This may not sound like a lot but it quickly adds up. A two-liter bottle would cost an additional $1.02. For a 12-pack of cans, it would cost an extra $2.16. If this proposal passes, hardworking Multnomah County families will be left paying this hefty tax.

Which beverages would be affected by this tax?

Hundreds of beverages with sugar are included, such as sodas, juice drinks, energy drinks, some teas and sports drinks—even kombucha.

Who’s going to pay for the tax?

You will. All taxes get passed on to the consumer. Whether the tax is slapped on wholesalers or retailers, consumers eventually pay it. This is what happened in Philadelphia, where people were shocked to find their beverages had doubled in price in some cases overnight.

Where is the money going?

The tax money is supposed to support education and health programs. But we know from experience in other places—the money doesn’t always go where they say it will. Take the Portland Arts Tax, for instance. City officials pledged to devote the tax revenue to music and art programs. Instead, most of the funds have gone to administrative activities. The Multnomah County beverage tax is vulnerable in the same way. Politicians will appoint a committee to decide where the money goes, which guarantees the funds will be in jeopardy of being diverted to elected officials’ special interests at any time.

What can I do to stop this tax?

Tell your friends, neighbors and elected officials why you oppose this tax. By raising your objection, you’ll send a clear message that residents and neighborhood businesses have higher priorities for government than taxing beverages. Join us, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest tax developments.

How will this tax affect Multnomah County residents and businesses?

This tax is regressive because it disproportionately impacts the grocery bills of those who can least afford it. It’s unfair that the wealthy pay a much smaller share of their income under a beverage tax. Neighborhood grocery stores, restaurants, movie theaters and other local businesses that rely on beverage sales for a good part of their income will be hit especially hard. They will lose sales when people leave the county to shop to avoid the tax. Losing business like that means a loss of income for employees whose hours are trimmed, or worse, jobs are cut.

I’ve heard this tax referred to as “regressive.” What do people mean by that?

You will often hear taxes like a beverage tax referred to as "regressive." That’s because taxes like this target working-class families who spend a larger percentage of their income on food than wealthier families. As this Tax Foundation article recently pointed out: “a 10 percent soda tax could burden high-income families by $24.29, while poor families would be harmed nearly twice that amount at $47.38.” Read more about regressive beverage taxes here.