Alcohol Sales to Minors Show Drop

 The Oregon Liquor Control Commission performed alcohol sales checks to minors in Portland, Gresham and Troutdale on May 19 and 22, and the results were encouraging.

The compliance rate averaged 90 percent for both operations, which is well above the 2008 statewide average of 78 percent. 

“Binge drinking before turning 21 can cause damage to a teen’s still developing brain,” said Carl Lewis, Regional Enforcement Manager.  “Oregon’s store clerks and servers play a critical role in keeping alcohol out of minors’ hands.”

• Eastern Multnomah County (Portland, Gresham, Troutdale) had an 86 percent compliance rate on May 19 with 26 out of 30 businesses passing.  The compliance check was performed by OLCC and Gresham Police Department.
• Portland had a 94 percent compliance rate on May 22 with 15 out of 16 businesses passing.  OLCC performed the minor sales check.

The commission performs the minor sales checks in an effort to reduce drinking by minors, which is a serious problem throughout the state.  The OLCC tests about 1,800 licensed liquor businesses each year.  Licensees or their employees can be held liable for alcohol-related damages and injuries if they serve or sell alcohol to a minor.

Under Oregon law, businesses in cities with a population of 20,000 or more have an equal chance of being randomly selected for a minor decoy compliance check.  A business can also be selected for a compliance check if there is a documented complaint of sales to minors.  Businesses in cities with a population under 20,000 and unincorporated areas in counties are not subject to these selection requirements. 

The OLCC offers a free training course on how to check ID’s.  Participants learn how to identify false identification and the laws regarding minors and alcohol.  Additional training opportunities are available including classes for store clerks and service permit holders.  Interested persons can call the local OLCC office to schedule a training session.

During the sales checks, a minor volunteer attempts to purchase alcohol from a licensed business to see if staff are checking ID’s correctly and refusing to sell alcohol to anyone under 21.  Commission inspectors or other law enforcement officers supervise the minor volunteers.  The volunteers carry their own legal ID and do not disguise their age or lie to encourage the sale of alcohol.

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