Seven Hood River County businesses were caught selling alcohol to minors during an undercover action last week staged by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.
However, an additional 11 businesses refused to dispense distilled beverages to the two underage volunteers who were supervised by four OLCC inspectors and other law officers during the compliance check.
The following establishments face sanctions for serving or selling alcohol to patrons under 21 years of age last Wednesday: Orchard Lanes Bowling Center, The Boys Pine Grove Grocery, Flerchinger Vineyards, Peggy’s Roost, Harvey’s 76 Gasoline Station, McIsaac’s Store and Columbia Market in Cascade Locks.
“We do this to get the word out that we are monitoring and that’s one of OLCC’s most important jobs,” said Ken Paulke, OLCC spokesman.
He said permit holders who get caught selling alcohol to minors face fines that range from $600-$1,600 for the violation of state law. In addition, he said store clerks who sell are cited into criminal court and could personally pay a $350 fine. Businesses who continue with the illegal practice are subjected first to a 30 days suspension of their liquor license and then a cancellation.
“It’s just a math mistake most of the time but we want these businesses to study people’s identification cards to be sure they are getting the date right,” Paulke said. “This is a powerful deterrent for keeping alcohol away from the kids.”
The businesses that scored well on the test were: Grace Su’s China Gorge Restaurant, Santacroce’s Italian Restaurant, Windmaster Market/Texaco, Jim’s Market, Jalisco Market, Mid-Valley IGA, Clem’s Country Store, Cooper Spur Inn, Mt. Hood Country Store and both Tim’s Texaco and the Shell Station in Cascade Locks.
According to the OLCC, during these spot checks, the 18-20-year-old minors attempt to buy alcohol from the business to determine if they are properly checking identification and obeying state law. The young volunteers carry their own legal identification and are advised not to lie about their age.
The OLCC offers training to store clerks, service permit holders and others in techniques to check ID, identifying false information and the laws regarding minors and alcohol.