At 5:30 this afternoon, Mayor Riley and City Planner Tim Keane will hold a public bitching — er, I mean, input — session regarding the recently passed, and oh-so-misguided 12 a.m. late-night ordinance, the one that will force all new bars on King and in the Market area to close at midnight.Even if you don't stand where I stand on this issue, I urge you to attend ... but please, keep your comments to yourself and mumble under your breath as much as possible. We don't want you to infect anyone else with your silly ideas. Just kidding. Speak up and rant away. Bonus points if you can work in Ayn Rand, Nazis, and Fran and Frankie Fannypack from Findlay, Ohio.
Anyhow, Charleston isn't the sole city to have to address this kind of draconian BS. Even good ole progressive Portland, Ore. is in a late-night ordinance fight. According to a report by Rebecca Turley of Willamette Week, the battle there is much like the one here, in which city leaders have proclaimed that the sudden proliferation of bars is threatening the peace and quiet in nearby neighborhoods. Turley reports:
For years, the city of Portland and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission have worked as uneasy partners in law enforcement, playing a game of “good cop, bad cop” with bars they identify as problems.However, it sounds like the folks in Portland might have it even worse than us. Turley notes that the Porland PD has been urging venues not to book hip-hop and EDM shows because they bring out the riff-raff. Yikes.
But since taking office in 2012, Mayor Charlie Hales has chafed at the partnership.
He asked the OLCC to let the city set a 10 pm curfew for bar patios, but it refused. He wanted the agency to crack down on pubs serving revelers at Last Thursday—no dice.
Now, the city is working on a way to gain greater clout and enforcement power over bars, taverns and other late-night venues.
The proposed solution: a new city permit for businesses serving the public after 10 pm.
The permit—and the threat of revoking it—would give the city leverage to compel changes in a business’s operation or shut it down altogether.
City officials point to a 35 percent increase in retail liquor licenses in Portland and an overall increase in community events as reasons to more closely regulate the entertainment industry.
Growing friction between late-night venues and residential neighbors is also a problem.
“The overarching reality is that Portland is becoming a city [where] there are more and more interactions between late-night establishments and their respective neighbors,” says Chad Stover, a project manager in Hales’ office. “We have to find a way to get along.”