LAURELHURST NEIGHBORS as well as the city were not exactly happy with two residents' recent plan to open a country-western bar called Fat Jack's on NE Sandy. In response to their concerns, the pair pitched another idea instead: opening a strip club.
Portland police sent a letter to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) in September urging the denial of a liquor application to Fat Jack's based on the history of its co-owner Tracy Doss. Chief Rosie Sizer listed a record of six fights and assaults requiring police intervention during June and July 2008 at Doss' former downtown nightclub, Fusion.
The Laurelhurst Neighborhood Association board agreed.
"It's probably one of the worst places in the city for a nightclub," says neighborhood association member Eric Fruits, noting that the currently vacant building on NE 33rd and Sandy that previously housed the bar La Fortuna is adjacent to a row of single-family homes. With La Fortuna, says Fruits, "noise was a big problem, littering. Neighbors saw people whizzing, vomiting, even taking a number two in their yard."
After failing to hammer out a Good Neighbor Agreement for Fat Jack's with the neighborhood association over the summer, the Dosses submitted a new application to the OLCC last week.
But the new application did not exactly match neighbors' hopes.
"A country-western-themed nightclub might not be the best fit for the location based on the concerns of the neighborhood association and the City of Portland," reads the application. "Based on these considerations, the applicant now desires to amend its application to change the trade name of the business to Mynt Gentlemen's Club and to add nude entertainers."
Predictably, neighbors were not pleased by the change.
"I'm not so worried about the image of the neighborhood, but I am very concerned about the other negative impacts on the area," says neighborhood association member Gary Naylor, who plans to oppose the strip club.
The tactic seems to have worked for Doss at the downtown club. In its recommendation to deny Doss' liquor application, the police noted that, "Doss was eventually able to reduce the problems [at Fusion] by changing the name to Spyce Gentlemen's Club."
Both Doss and his lawyer had no comment on this story.