MAYOR CHARLIE HALES' push to create a vibrant, walkable "entertainment district" in Old Town took a step forward earlier this month, when the Portland Police Bureau began fielding applications from bars and restaurants who want to extend seating into the area's cordoned streets.

It's a potential game changer for a district that's struggled to find its feet this summer. Despite the mayor's talk of creating a "street festival" atmosphere, and the addition of portable toilets in recent weeks, the closed-off segments of NW 3rd and adjacent streets still feel empty and eerie most weekends.

The only problem: Almost no one's on board.

More than two weeks after the city announced it would accept applications, only one Old Town business has taken the city up on the offer. According to documents obtained by the Mercury, the Dixie Tavern at NW 3rd and Couch, is the lone bar in the area with streetward aspirations. DIRK VANDERHART


A NORTH PORTLAND TAVERN has been slammed with nearly $400,000 in fines after asking that a group of transgender women stop visiting each week.

According to the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI), the owner of the Twilight Room Annex (formerly the P Club) ran afoul of Oregon law last year when he asked 11 members of the Rose City T-Girls to cease stopping by because he didn't want his establishment known as a "tranny bar." For the discrimination, owner Chris Penner will pay members of the group between $20,000 and $50,000 each.

Penner called a member of the group, asking that they not return to his bar. He claimed business had dropped since the T-Girls began coming in.

The case marked the first time BOLI has filed a complaint under the 2007 Oregon Equality Act, which offers protections for gay, lesbian, and transgender people. DVH