While Cary Clarke takes a much-deserved vacation traversing the globe, I'll be filling in for him here at the local music news desk.
—Ezra Ace Caraeff
Last Friday, April 18, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) voted unanimously (4-0) to amend OAR 845-006-0340 Minor Postings, thus allowing minors access to limited 21-plus establishments that submit, and are approved for, a proper control plan. Simply put, this is very good news. After months of hard work courtesy of the OLCC staff, the volunteers at PDX Pop Now!, Bruce Fife and the Musicians Union, venues, artists, and other local music activists—especially the author of this column, who I am filling in for—the amendment glided through the voting process and will go into effect on the first of June.
The control plans mentioned above are for venues and mixed-use facilities that wish to allow minors entrance in an atmosphere where alcohol is available, pending that they can prove that liquor is not the main activity, and that they can prevent the two parties (kids and booze) from mixing. There is talk about how this will be implemented, whether it be roped-off areas of a club (the most likely option), the classic "X" scrawled on a minor's hand, or something less Sharpie-dependent, like a wristband—but this remains to be seen.
The effects of this ruling benefit both venues with bars that want to expand their show-going base, and all-ages establishments who wish to serve alcohol to drinking-age patrons. Pending recession or not, Portland has a long history of small all-ages venues struggling to keep their heads above water, and hopefully this decision will help lessen the strain of running such an establishment.
Of course, to follow these guidelines and submit a control plan will take a fair amount of work. In the coming months we'll see how many control plans are submitted, and of those, how many the OLCC will approve, but for the time being, this is a substantial victory for Portland's artistic community. For all those who took part in the email-writing campaigns, or braved a trip to an OLCC meeting in Milwaukie, thank you very much for your effort and support.
In other—yet equally as important—news, a few choice local artists (Reporter, Sukey Tawdry, Dragging an Ox Through Water, Luis Soto) have banded together to throw a benefit for Darcy Davidson, who is currently undergoing treatment for advanced Hodgkin's lymphoma. While cancer is something that has affected most everyone, either directly or through family, Davidson's fight is made public through her excellent—and bilingual—blog, Con Limón y Sal (conlimonsal.blogspot.com). The show is taking place on April 30 at Rotture.