Take a stand for all-ages music in Oregon.
Support the OLCC’s plans to allow music venues to admit people under 21 by writing an email before Tuesday, November 13, 2007.
Composing an original letter that expresses your unique point of view is of course best, even if it’s short, but if you don’t have time for that, we have written a boilerplate email that you can use. Feel free to make whatever changes or additions you’d like, as well as to pass it on to others. Just be sure to sign at the bottom, ideally including your address.
Your feedback should go to:
Jennifer Huntsman (Jennifer.Huntsman@state.or.us)
OLCC Rules Coordinator
Click here to open up our in your mail client (e.g. Entourage, Mail)
Click here to see our suggested text for your email to the OLCC.
Click here to read PDX Pop Now! Board Member Cary Clarke’s . It’s a short summary of what’s going on, why it’s important, and what you can do.
Click here to see a . The bit about the new Minor VI Posting is the most pertinent.
Testify! Come to a public meeting Tuesday October 30 from 10am to noon at the OLCC headquarters (9079 SE McLaughlin).
As much love as we at PDX Pop Now! have for the Portland music community, and as deep a pride as we feel to be a part of it, we know that we are collectively capable of so much more, if only Oregon’s outdated and ill-considered state liquor laws weren’t preventing people under 21 from participating fully in their local creative culture. Thankfully, the sorry state of affairs of all-ages music in Oregon – where kids, teenagers and college students are prohibited from attending most live music venues, and where it is all but impossible for all-ages venues and art spaces to stay open – could significantly improve by the end of this year if we make our support for young musicians and music-lovers known to the staff of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission by Tuesday, November 13, 2007.
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) is considering changing its rules regarding admitting people under 21 to establishments that serve alcohol, but primarily serve another function, like music venues, theaters and other art spaces. In short, the proposed amendment to the Minor Postings rules would acknowledge that there is a difference between a bar and a live music venue.
The OLCC statutes governing underage access and exposure to alcohol are called Minor Postings rules, referring to the signs posted at alcohol-serving establishments indicating if and when people under 21 are allowed on the premises. By the deficient logic of the outdated, overly specific criteria set forth in the OLCC rules, most of the places that we know to be music venues first and foremost, but that also secondarily serve alcohol, are considered unfit for minors because they have dance floors, don’t have fixed seating, or consist of only one room. The proposed changes to the OLCC code include the introduction of a new type of minor posting for businesses like music venues, theaters, and art spaces that serve alcohol, but have a non-liquor-related primary function and, as such, are clearly not just bars. This new minor posting class would permit such multi-function spaces to serve alcohol and still admit minors, as long as they submit, get approval for, and enforce a control plan that effectively keeps drinks out of minors’ hands. Music venues applying for this new status would tailor a plan to meet their own unique needs, but, for the first time, the OLCC would be formally recognizing wristbands – the primary means for keeping minors away from alcohol at shows almost everywhere else in the country – as a legitimate control method. After all, why do we need age-segregating barriers at concerts, while Blazers fans at the Rose Garden can move freely in spite of beer sales. The proposed amendments would not only permit music venues that are currently off-limits to minors to open their doors to them if they meet certain guidelines, but would also make it possible for venues that are already all-ages-friendly to sell liquor to adults if they apply for a license, thereby greatly increasing the likelihood that they will remain in business. It is important to understand that these amendments will not force alcohol-serving venues to admit minors; it will simply give them the option to do so. There will always be bars and liquor-centric venues in Oregon. These establishments are not in question here.
These changes would benefit not only music fans under 21, but also the rest of the music community that stands to gain from their enthusiasm, participation and patronage, including bands, labels, record stores, music teachers, t-shirt printers, and, of course, venues themselves. Moreover, allowing kids, teens and young adults to participate in their local creative communities as show-goers serves the public good, providing them with fun, safe entertainment, and encouraging civic involvement.
If all goes well, by the end of 2007, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission will amend its rules to allow music venues to both admit people under 21 and sell alcohol, provided they can keep the one out of the hands of the other. By greatly increasing local teenagers’ and college students’ access to live music, this small regulatory change would have an enormously positive impact on everyone involved in Portland music, from fans to bands to venue owners, and helping to ensure that the OLCC adopts it is arguably the single most important thing that we can do to ensure the continued vibrancy, diversity and prosperity of our city’s music community. Portland needs more all-ages music options, and if we speak up, we just might get them.
Emails sent to OLCC Rules Coordinator Jennifer Huntsman (Jennifer.Huntsman@state.or.us) in support of these changes before November 13 will be duly noted. A sample email has been posted at www.pdxpopnow.com. If you would like to testify in person, a public hearing will take place at OLCC headquarters (9079 SE McLoughlin Blvd.) 10am-Noon on Tuesday, October 30. If you need a ride, meet at the Musicians Union (325 NE 20th Ave.) at 8:45 am. Lastly, join Cary Clarke, an OLCC representative, and others for a lively Mercury Debate Club event about these issues at Rontoms (600 E Burnside) at 8pm later that evening.
To the OLCC Commissioners, Administrators and whomever else it may concern:
I am writing to express my strong support for the Final Staff Draft of the proposed amendment to OLCC Chapter 845 regarding Minor Postings (845-006-0340). Oregon’s liquor laws have long been in need of revision so as to do away with the unintended negative effects they have had on our state’s all-ages music community. The proposed changes to the Minor Postings rules are a major step in the right direction, and the introduction of the Number VI minor posting will open up a whole host of new possibilities for Oregon’s young people to experience the joys of live music in a safe environment. Furthermore, the recognition of wristbands as a legitimate and effective method of preventing minors’ access to liquor in an alcohol-serving music venue or art space will bring Oregon into step with the majority of other states at no cost to public safety, and go a great way to better integrating musicians and music fans under 21 into their local creative community and civic dialogue.
Allowing minors into music venues, art spaces, and community centers that sell liquor to remain financially viable is of benefit to Oregon’s musicians, businesses, young people, and public welfare. Given the high cost of doing business as a live music venue or music-friendly community art space, it is nearly impossible for an all-ages music venue to stay open without the financial lifeline of liquor sales to adults. One need only consider the long list of all-ages venues that have come and gone in recent years in Portland alone to be convinced of this. Unfortunately, these are generally the kind of small, neighborhood venues where communities, artistic partnerships and mentorships are formed, making their loss tragic. The Number VI minor posting would make it possible for these types of constructive, community-oriented venues to stay in business, providing young people with positive, fun, safe places for recreation, keeping them out of the kind of trouble that is the result of boredom and a lack of engaging options for entertainment. Additionally, music venues that currently sell alcohol but are not able to admit minors would be able to apply for a new minor posting in order to do so, thereby increasing the size of their audiences and revenue. Local musicians, including the many who are themselves under 21, would likewise be well served by these changes, as they would be able to play for their young fans and friends, as well as make new ones, in a professional environment. In addition to the artistic validation of an expanded audience, this would surely increase sales of CDs and merchandise, a boon not only to the bands, but to the countless Oregon-based business that produce and print these goods as well.
If adopted, implemented in a timely fashion, and applied reasonably and fairly, the proposed amendments to the OLCC Minor Postings rules (845-006-0340) – notably the introduction of the Number VI minor posting and the recognition of wristbands as a valid primary control measure – will decidedly increase minors’ access to music. Young people have been the heart and soul of all of the truly great modern music communities, and with their energy, enthusiasm, creativity and means brought to bear locally, Oregon’s own much-lauded music community will surely reach new levels of diversity, artistic achievement and prosperity.
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