The Taylor’s Bar & Grill liquor license hearing with the OLCC was granted a continuance on Friday, June 7 according to Matthew Van Sickle, OLCC spokesperson. More time was necessary to get through all the hearing materials, he said.
The hearing will reconvene July 1- 3, during which an administrative law judge will either deny the bar's liquor license, approve it, or find a compromise. After that, the decision will go before the OLCC for approval or rejection. This will happen as early as July 18 or at the following commission meeting August 15.
The Emerald will continue its reporting on this story as the hearing continues.
Taylor's Bar & Grill argued to keep its liquor license in an Oregon Liquor Control Commission hearing that ended Friday in Portland, OR. Taylor's license is safe — at least until after graduation.
While the results of the hearing will come out next week, the recommendation by the administrative law judge must go before the OLCC commission for approval, said Matt Van Sickle, OLCC spokesperson.
The decision isn’t final until the OLCC ratifies it, which won’t be until late June at the earliest. Van Sickle said the OLCC could ultimately decide to revoke Taylor’s liquor license or allow them to keep it and continue to operate normally, or reach a compromise in-between.
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission issued a notice to cancel the bar’s license last August, citing 29 serious incidents in the previous 22 months. Since then, the notice has been amended four times to reflect new incidents, bringing the total to 42.
“We have the evidence,” said Van Sickle, citing the OLCC’s most recent notice of proposed license cancellation and refusal to renew license.
Van Sickle said the OLCC is relying on evidence supplied by the EPD and UOPD.
“That's the preponderance of evidence in which we are basing our recommendation for,” he said.
There have been 78 EPD dispatches to Taylor’s since June 3, 2017, when OLCC alleges the first serious violation took place. In that same time period, EPD has been called to Max’s Tavern, just a few blocks away, 34 times, and and Rennie’s Landing, only a block away, just 11 times.
“I can't imagine what the defense might be in this case, but the AOJ will ultimately make a recommendation upon the evidence and either side with the OLCC or reach a compromise in the middle, or decline,” Van Sickle said.
He said that OLCC administrators may be taking into account the shooting of a Lane Community College student in a parking lot behind Taylor’s on May 4, but since EPD’s investigation is still underway, it’s not clear if OLCC administrators are considering the shooting in the hearing.
“That's one of the things that it's really up to the administrative staff determine if there's a connection there and if it does factor into this case or not,” he said.
Ramzy Hattar, the owner of Taylor’s Bar & Grill, declined comment on the status of the hearing, but said a final decision from OLCC would not be made for months.
Hattar bought the bar two years ago from former owner Charles Hare. The Register-Guard reported that Hare is being sued for $5 million by two women who allege they were drugged at Taylor’s and later sexually assaulted, saying that Hare knew this was an ongoing problem but did nothing to stop it. A former bartender at Taylor’s was investigated for drugging drinks, but no charges were ever brought.
Van Sickle said that the next commission meeting is at the end of the month, but the hearing decision likely would not go before the commission until July.
Franklin Lewis contributed reporting to this story.