A WORD TO ASPIRING business owners: Do not get on the wrong side of a neighborhood association chair with a Ph.D. Convinced that the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) was doing a shoddy job vetting the owners of strip club planned for NE 33rd and Sandy, Laurelhurst Neighborhood Association Chair (and Portland State University Economics Professor) Eric Fruits went digging on his own.
Though applicant Tracy Doss listed managing a bar in Ohio on the OLCC's required personal history form, Fruits discovered that Doss actually owned or managed four Columbus, Ohio bars. One of those bars, a joint named B.K. Flyers, had its liquor license renewal application denied after a bizarre 1993 event got it in hot water with local politicians and animal rights activists: drunken human versus bear wrestling.
According to articles in the Columbus Dispatch, Doss' bar scheduled multiple nights in which dozens of "drunken college students" would pay $10 each to wrestle a 900-pound, 7'6" bear named Ceasar "who had his teeth and claws and was not muzzled." Three people succeeded in pinning Ceasar, winning $1,000 each.
In response to complaints over the bar's bar-bearic event, Columbus City Council moved to ban not only bear wrestling, but also kangaroo boxing and "donkey diving."
Fruits presented this information to the OLCC board last Thursday, December 17, during a vote on whether to approve the license for Doss' new Sandy venture, Mynt Gentlemen's Club. The Portland Police Bureau and Laurelhurst neighbors officially recommended denying the strip club's license earlier this year, saying the location (the previous home of La Fortuna Mexican Restaurant) had a bad history and so did Doss ["Fat Chance," News, Nov 26]. But leading up to the board's decision, OLCC staff recommended approving the license despite complaints. The staff report reads that although La Fortuna had four violent incidents in 24 months, including a homicide, "the problems do not appear to rise to the level of problems that the commission has determined are serious and persistent."
Given the omissions from Doss' liquor license application, the OLCC decided last Thursday to postpone a vote on the strip club until February.
"This is the best I could have expected," says Fruits.
Doss declined comment on his OLCC application and former bar's bear-wrestling event.