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The Co-Owner of Some of Portland’s Most Prominent Music Venues Wants Local Officials to Require Proof of Vaccination at His Shows

“Hey, no drama. Just get a test and wait 15 minutes.”

Kevin Cradock recently shrank his vaccination card and laminated it. Now he carries it in his wallet.

“Anyone can make a dummy of these cards,” he says. “You can’t undo that. That’s a CDC thing. They had a long time to come up with a card. They got a great vaccine and they came up with a terrible identification process for it.”

The co-owner of Mississippi Studios, Revolution Hall and Polaris Hall, Cradock occupies a rare position: He’s a music venue operator who also used to work in disease outbreak response, back when the Oregon Health Authority was still called the Oregon Public Health Division.

That’s also why he agreed to talk about the trailers he’s coordinated to give free COVID tests in front of Mississippi Studios and Revolution Hall, starting Wednesday, Aug. 11.

“If somebody’s going to talk about it, it would be me,” he says.

The interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

WW: So Mississippi Studios’ policy right now is no admittance for shows without proof of vaccination, but you’ll also take a negative COVID test. Correct?

Kevin Cradock: Yeah, we want to be like, “Hey, no drama. You didn’t hear about this. You didn’t get the email. Just get a test and wait 15 minutes.”

When did you start planning to offer free COVID tests?

It happened fast. No earlier than last week. This was something agents and artists were asking for. That was the primary precipitator.

What’s your background with the OHA?

My academic background is public health, epidemiology and science. I interned for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a graduate student, then worked with the Oregon Public Health Division via CDC Cooperative agreement grant.

Ironically, back in 2005, we did a full-scale exercise on pandemics. It was called Pandora, if you can believe it. It’s really surreal having worked on that and now I run a music venue that’s been closed for a year and a half because of the pandemic.

Would it be easier to enforce proof of vaccination at the door if it were mandated on a state or county level?

I understand the position the governor’s in, with a very polarized state. I get that. I want Oregon to be less polarized. If she came down with a mandate, I don’t know if some of the county commissioners and county seats could even enforce it.

On a county level, Chair Deborah Kafoury wants to possibly run for governor, so she doesn’t want to be viewed as this highly regulatory, Portland person.

I do think the conversation should happen at the municipal level—at least in Multnomah County.

What would you like to see at the municipal level?

It would take a lot of pressure off businesses if there was a proof-of-vaccination requirement. The New York model seems like it would be a good fit for Portland, and it would be an easier way to disseminate the information rather than one bar at a time.

We have the vaccination rates. We have to reopen these businesses, and keep them open. The best way to keep people safe is: vaccine, vaccine, test, test, test, vaccine.