>OLCC & Piedmont Meeting: Recap

>Today in the Fireside Room of the Peninsula Park Community Center 5 PNA board members, 10 residents, PPB Officer Lisa Clayton met with OLCC Executive Directory Stephen Pharo and 3 OLCC folks. Previous to the larger meeting the OLCC group met w/ Amie Massier (Peninsula Park Community Center Director). The OLCC’s Stephen Pharo’s visit was to survey the park, the community center, and to listen to resident’s concerns first hand. This was in addition to the overwhelming number of letters to the OLCC opposing the removal of the Civic Food Mart’s liquor license restrictions.

Stephen Pharo opened by asking residents to describe what the neighborhood “was” vs what it is now. PNA Parks Co-Chair Allan Folz was first up commenting that we don’t have to look at the neighborhood’s distant past to point out problems, but rather just look to recent events (e.g., shootings, hit and run) to see that the neighborhood is not the calm oasis they claim (paraphrased heavily). Resident after resident spoke up with their observation that the lifting of the restrictions (for more info on the restrictions, see HERE) would be the magnet that would draw crime and irresponsible behavior to the park and community where we live and breath every day.

The OLCC team left the concluded the meeting by restating that the hearing this Friday will still occur and that residents and concerned citizens should come and address the OLCC Board of Commissioners. The board will vote on the restrictions immediately following the comment period.

The OLCC hearing is scheduled for Friday, April 18th at 9am. The hearing will be located at 9079 SE McLoughlin Blvd., Room 103A, Portland, Oregon, 97222. You must show up at 9am and sign in with OLCC employee Carrie Korbe (she will be in the front lobby) if you wish to speak to the OLCC Board. For those that will be speaking, the time allowed for this issue is during the “License Matters” portion of the agenda (not the “Public Forum”).

To view a copy of the OLCC’s original recommendation to their Board of Commissioners, click HERE.

“Those that forget history are doomed to repeat it” was my parting comment to the OLCC.

Speak up at the meeting or simply show to support if you can.

6 responses to “>OLCC & Piedmont Meeting: Recap”

  1. >At the meeting, the OLCC folks recommended that groups of people with the same comments to make band together, with one making the statement and the others standing to show how many are spoken for. I suggest Piedmont residents use this forum to organize any such common comments.Also, I advise that any comments to the OLCC — whether individual or for a group — seek to persuade the commissioners to vote how you wish. Statements criticizing the overall process (“I can’t believe we’re here today”) or the commissioners (“Can’t you see what’s happening?”), or threatening them (e.g. with lawsuits), do not persuade them in your direction. They only alienate.Show the commissioners that there is a solid, legal reason to vote the way you want. Justin can assist (and has done so before) by providing links to the letters, articles, and other pieces relevant to this issue.Remember, the commissioners are bureaucrats, and experts at operating within a bureaucracy. They can’t be threatened or intimidated, but they can be persuaded, especially if shown that political, or better still legal, weight supports your goal. Showing your anger or your passion matters less to them than showing that you’re right.

  2. >Shelby said…”Statements criticizing the overall process (“I can’t believe we’re here today”) or the commissioners (“Can’t you see what’s happening?”), or threatening them (e.g. with lawsuits), do not persuade them in your direction. They only alienate.”For the administrative hearing, absolutely- be concise, factual, and to the point. Be polite and respectful. But express yourself honestly – and of course- be right!However for today’s forum I think it was appropriate to criticize the process- and show our collective outrage. We won’t have that opportunity on Friday. The OLCC staff were there to get the actual experience of our neighborhood and its constituency. Re: the “long view” on this issue:I later asked the OLCC executive director how we might work together to change this process, even at the legislative level, (because you know we will be re-visiting this all again next year, even if the restrictions are not lifted). And he agreed that it needs some work.For that, legislative, and legal recourses might be necessary, as well as significant community effort. Any ideas on addressing this pre-emptively at the state level?

  3. >One thing OLCC made clear last night is the most powerful arguments will be those that can tie specific acts of criminality to the customers Civic Mart.So, that means emphasize the Feb shooting occurred following a verbal altercation in the Civic Mart parking lot. Similarly, emphasize the hit-and-run occurred as the motorist was turning to enter the Civic Mart parking lot.The Civic Mart’s responsibilities do not end with the ID check at the point of sale, on the contrary that is where their responsibilities begin. OLCC can’t micro-manage Civic Mart’s merchandise. But if Civic Mart makes the choice to offer merchandise and hours of operation most appealing to those with propensity for criminal activity, then Civic Mart is responsible for the ill-effects of the customers they have choosen to appeal to.

  4. >One additional point to be made: clearly the demographics of Piedmont, indeed, all of North and North East Portland have changed markedly for the better over the past 5, 10, 15 years; making for the appearance of better relative crime statistics.However, the Civic Mart’s desire to increase hours of operation and sell higher alcohol content beverages is marketing aimed at the remaining criminals and hooligans.Given the 3 violent incidents (not mere property crimes, but violent person on person acts) at that corner in the last few months, and a brawl in Peninsula Park just last weekend, criminals and hooligans clearly remain in the neighborhood. It behooves the OLCC not to let the lessened per-capita crime rates lull us into a false sense of security.

  5. >legislative, and legal recourses might be necessary, as well as significant community effort.Quite true. Although I don’t think threats to sue (if eventual violence can be tied to relaxed restrictions) are useful in any event — the doctrine of governmental immunity is extremely difficult to defeat. Complaints about the OLCC process are best addressed to the legislature, and it’s remarkable how much influence a small constituency can have in lobbying state congressmen.Allan, I’m generally sympathetic to your points, but I think comments about beneficial demographics can easily lead down non-productive paths. That aside, my only comment is that while tying Civic Mart to criminal acts is important, what matters most from the OLCC’s perspective is the link between alcohol sales there and criminal or sanctionable activity. The police are in the best position to investigate such connections, but even for them proving the link is often very difficult (as evidenced by their inability to do so for the events you mention).Unfortunately, the difficulty of proving such a link makes it harder for the OLCC to justify denying the new owner’s request to lift restrictions. That doesn’t mean anyone should give up — but I’ll be surprised if PNA’s request for reimposition of the lifted restrictions is granted.

  6. >Shelby, Re: your opinion about “threats to sue”. Threats are obviously counterproductive. Were threats were made to the OLCC reps at the meeting? I had pointed out the “possible culpability” of the OLCC in the event of alcohol-related mishaps that could be linked to Civic Mart and OLCC regulatory action. (OK, well, maybe that’s “veiled…”)As a PNA board member, I was compelled to share this concern about OLCC accountability- which was expressed to me by several community members. And that element of accountability and standard of maintaining the welfare of the public by a/this govt agency should be strongly emphasized- & certainly not be ignored- in the presentation of necessary legal arguments, supporting statistics, and polite, pandering speech before bureaucrats.

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