The percentage of randomly selected retailers in Multnomah County selling alcohol to minors has increased slightly from the previous two decoy operations carried out this year.

Of the 76 stores, restaurants, and bars visited on December 12th, 19 establishments sold alcohol to minors, which equates to 25%.  That compares to 31 sales to minors of the 157 establishments that were visited last June, which equates to 19.7%.

During last March’s decoy operation, 18% of the establishments visited sold alcohol to minors.

“We plan on conducting these compliance checks about every two months,” said Pam Erickson of Oregon Partnership, a non-profit alcohol and drug prevention organization that spearheaded the missions under a grant from the Oregon Department of Human Services.

“We’ve found the more often we carry out the decoy missions, the better the results we get with fewer illegal sales.”

Compliance checks are a proven method to reduce sales of alcohol to underage drinkers. 

Those who sell alcohol to minors are charged with a misdemeanor and face the possibility of jail time and/or fines.  In addition, bartenders and business owners face additional penalties levied against their permits and licenses by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

For example, someone with a liquor license could face a fine of $1,650 or a ten-day suspension for a first offense.

This month’s decoy operation involved police officers from Portland, The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, Gresham, and Fairview as well as 12 OLCC inspectors and 13 volunteer decoys.

Each team included two unmarked vehicles, police officers, OLCC inspectors and decoys.  The underage decoys attempted to purchase alcoholic beverages as part of the operation.

Alcohol use is associated with the leading causes of death of young people.  According to the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, underage drinking costs Oregonians $697 million a year in medical costs, pain and suffering and work loss costs.

Youth who start drinking before the age of fifteen are four times as likely to become addicted as adults compared to those who wait until the age of twenty one.

Oregon Partnership is urging licensed businesses to become members of the Responsible Vendor Program, which trains and educators employees about the law and techniques for avoiding alcohol sales to minors. The free program has found that those who participate are less likely to sell alcohol to minors.

About Oregon Partnership:
Oregon Partnership is a statewide nonprofit that has worked to promote healthy kids and communities for well over a decade by raising awareness about drug and alcohol issues, providing prevention education in classrooms, and 24-hour crisis lines for people needing help. To learn more, visit


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