THE DOWNTOWN DELI & Greek Cusina might be just another deli soon, if the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) successfully yanks the club's liquor license.
Citing "a history of serious and persistent problems... including public drunkenness, fights, altercations, harassment, and public urination," the OLCC announced a proposed cancellation of the club's license on March 26. The liquor agency says they've documented at least 34 troublesome incidents at the club—known by a giant inflatable purple octopus above the door, at SW 4th and Washington—since early January 2007. The most recent incidents began just months after the club owners filed a "control plan" with the OLCC in August 2006.
In a letter to the club's owners on March 21, the OLCC outlined six pages of specific allegations spanning 13 months. In several incidents, the OLCC alleges that "patrons were visibly intoxicated," and customers were taken to detox by Portland police after doing things like "yelling, acting violent, and refusing to leave the premises" or "smashing his head into the glass windows of the premises." On March 10 last year, security staff allegedly pushed a male customer "down a stairwell" after he'd been involved in an altercation with a female customer—the guy reportedly needed 20 stitches for a head injury.
In September, one patron "was assaulted... inside the premises. He suffered a skull fracture and internal bleeding in the brain." The next day, "a female patron's alcoholic beverage was believed to be drugged inside the premises," which prompted a trip to the hospital where the woman reportedly spent two hours in a medical coma. There are also several reported incidents of staffers "continuing to provide private security services without the required certification."
"This isn't just that they were too loud at 10 o'clock at night," says OLCC spokesperson Christie Scott. "What happened is, we've been working with them for several years, trying to get them in compliance." But the owners "haven't shown a willingness or ability" to deal with the public safety problems at their venue, she says.
The Greek Cusina's owner, Ted Papas, says he intends to defend against the allegations. "They are just allegations," he tells the Mercury. The owners may request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge to contest the proposed cancellation.
With additional reporting by Matt Davis.