Portland to update odor code that led to closure of Vietnamese restaurant Pho Gabo – Yahoo! Voices

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The City of Portland is in the process of updating its odor code after a Vietnamese restaurant was forced to shut down from smell complaints.

Portland Commissioner Carmen Rubio, who previously put a pause on the enforcement of odor regulations for food establishments, announced Wednesday that her office would be updating the smell code through the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.

“I am very concerned and am raising serious questions about the negative impacts of this policy,” Commissioner Rubio said. “After my staff met with the impacted business owner, it became clear that the City’s regulation and enforcement of odor issues is outdated and needs a more fair, practical, and equitable approach. My goal is to see the code changes happen as soon as possible.”

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The Northeast Portland restaurant, Phở Gabo, is one of three restaurants in the Portland metro area owned and operated by Eddie Dong. Last month, Dong told KOIN 6 News he was forced to close down the shop at Northeast Fremont Street and 73rd Avenue after a neighbor made a complaint about the smell.

A sign posted on Phở Gabo’s front door said the business needed to be shut down because of “the city’s and the neighborhood’s complaints about the smell of the food that we grill and the foods that we serve customers.”

Earlier this month, five Vietnamese-American Oregon representatives co-signed a letter calling the restaurant’s closure a “dangerous precedent” and urged Portland to update its code.

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The Oregon Restaurants and Lodging Association Director of Government Affairs Greg Astley told KOIN 6 News last month that the issue stems from the odor code enforcement relying heavily on a “subjective standard” in which a violation can arise “if an inspector detects an odor.”

In Rubio’s announcement about her plans to revise the code, she explained these smell complaints escalated to the point that it would have cost the business $50,000 to alleviate the impact of the odor, which wasn’t feasible for the owner.

The Bureau of Development Service staff are currently analyzing the odor code and its history as part of the legislative process. After that, a recommendation from Rubio’s office would be formally submitted for evaluation to the Planning Commission and then to the Portland City Council for final approval.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to KOIN.com.

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