The Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission announced during its Sept. 22 meeting that it would assign a subcommittee to look into rising theft at liquor stores across the state.
Earlier this month, WW reported that shoplifting at liquor stores across the state was on record pace—largely driven by a rise in crime in Portland.
One of the owners of those stores, Dan Miner, gave a presentation at the meeting that included the WW analysis. Miner’s stores were victims of a trio of armed robberies in recent months.
“I was surprised by this information,” Commissioner Marvin Révoal, a former Eugene police officer, told the board. “I never like it when certain newspapers around the Portland metro area have better information than we do.”
Révoal said he was less concerned about the loss in product and more about the danger faced by liquor store employees. “It demeans quality of life for the organization and for your employees,” he said.
Board chairman Paul Rosenbaum called the issue “frustrating” and assigned Révoal to create a committee to look into it.
OLCC staff told the board they were already working to address the issue. Jason Hanson, OLCC’s compliance director, said he had recently joined a new task force at the Oregon Retail Crime Association that is partnering with law enforcement. It will meet monthly until next year and will be “evaluating legislative options,” Hanson said.
Hanson pointed to drug use as the underlying cause of the rise in crime. People are looking for ways to fund their addiction, and liquor stores are an appealing target. “Smash-and-grab incidents” had become “more brazen,” Hanson said.
That’s exactly what concerns Miner. Now, he’s waiting to see what the OLCC does next. “I’m confident that there’ll be some action,” he said. “To what extent that is, remains to be seen.”