The Woodburn Police Department will be working more closely with both local businesses and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to increase the safety of local establishments, the department announced.
OLCC licenses must be renewed annually, and each year, the Woodburn Police Department reviews activity occurring at or in the vicinity of licensed liquor establishments in the city. Based on the police department's review process, the Woodburn City Council then makes recommendations to OLCC on whether to approve the licenses of those establishments.
This year, while the Woodburn Police Department recommended the approval of all licenses, it also identified six "licensees of concern" in a letter included in the Feb. 27 City Council agenda packet.
The six licensees of concern identified by the police department are 7 Seas Restaurant & Bar, Rumor's Bar and Grill, Los Cabos Mexican Restaurant, Legaria's Bar and Grill, the Raven Bar & Grill, and the End Zone Sports Bar and Grill.
"Since late 2015 the Woodburn Police Department has been under a new command structure," reads the letter. "We have been in the process of updating and changing the way we conduct business, which will include OLCC yearly renewals. The Woodburn Police Department will work more closely with OLCC in order to make sure licensed establishments are operating within the OLCC guidelines, Woodburn city ordinances and Oregon Revised Statutes."
Police Chief Jim Ferraris said identifying the licensees of concern didn't mean the department was recommending that OLCC revoke the licenses of those businesses.
"We weren't asking the City Council to not recommend renewal," Ferraris said. "We want to start the process of establishing criteria to guide us on what might be a problem licensee, so we can get in on the front end of the problem."
Ferraris said the six licensees of concern were determined after reviewing both the volume and nature of the calls for service to the establishments themselves and reviewing incidents that could be attributable to the establishments, like DUIIs.
The Woodburn Police Department will soon begin conducting outreach with the six licensees of concern to figure out how to reduce problems associated with the businesses, according to Ferraris.
"We'll ask those businesses how can we work together so (they) can be successful as a business," Ferraris said.
"As certain thresholds are hit, then that will be a trigger for us to do outreach to the licensee," Ferraris continued. "If it's a serious issue, then one call for service could be a concern. Or it could be several calls of a particular category of issue."
And Ferraris said the police department is also going to start notifying OLCC about particular calls for service, especially calls for service that generate a police report.
"We'll forward a copy of that report to the OLCC enforcement division and hopefully bring it up on their radar as well," Ferraris said.
The ultimate goal, Ferraris said, is for the department to be proactive, rather than reactive, about safety issues at those businesses.
"In general, licensees do a good job policing themselves," Ferraris said. "But there's always room for improvement."