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PORTLAND Portland City Council members unanimously voted to expand the city's plastic bag ban during their meeting Thursday afternoon.

The expansion means that more retailers, including food carts and farmers markets will be required to get rid of plastic bags and instead use paper or recyclable products. The changes will take effect in phases, based on the size of the businesses.

Retailers larger than 10,000 square-feet will be required to make the switch by March 1, 2013. All others have until October 1, 2013 to change over.

The stores can choose to charge customers for paper bags.

Supporters of the proposal aimed to reduce the number of plastic bags that are taking up landfill space or polluting natural environments.

The Northwest Grocery Association said it supported the proposal, but also wanted to see a nickel per-paper-bag fee, to help stores pay for the added cost.

More: Read PortlandOnline report

Eugene and Corvallis adopt bag ban

The City of Portland had already banned plastic for large retailers, including grocery chains Safeway, Fred Meyer and also Target.

Mayor Sam Adams posed with men covered in plastic bags, calling themselves The Bag Monsters, who were on hand for the meeting Thursday.

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KGWReporterTimGordon contributed to this report

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