Good news for late-night al fresco tipplers, bad news for sleepless neighbors: The Oregon Liquor Control Commission won't be restricting bar-patio hours this summer.
For weeks, Portland officials all the way up to Mayor Charlie Hales have complained that the OLCC's proposed rule change—which would have closed patios at 11 pm on weeknights and 1 am Fridays and Saturdays—didn't go far enough. The city wanted patios to close at 10 pm every night.
This morning, the OLCC voted not to make any new rules at all. That means bar patios can still stay open until 2:30 am.
Hales testified this morning that the OLCC should amend the rules to let Portland set earlier hours for bars close to houses. Restaurant owners, including McMenamin's chain co-founder Brian McMenamin, had told the OLCC that setting standardized rulers would cripple their businesses.
Hales policy director Josh Alpert tells WW the mayor's office is grateful the OLCC didn't set a statewide curfew. "A one-size-fits-all approach isn't going to work," he says.
But Alpert says the city will keep pushing for the right to set its own hours for outdoor drinking.
"We are continuing to work on using the city's authority to regulate the balance between residences and entertainment," Alpert says. "Inevitably, the city will need the freedom to regulate noise and liquor—either from the OLCC or from the state."