Two signs, reading “SHUT DOWN TAYLOR’S” and “WE ARE NOT SAFE HERE,” were zip-tied on the exterior railing of the Taylor’s Bar & Grill Tuesday morning. The signs were taken down by the bar’s staff.
The protest is meant to “draw attention to the serious crimes that have taken place on the premises or have occurred as a result of the misconduct of Taylor’s staff and ownership,” according to the Femme Militia, a group of “four concerned University of Oregon students” that took responsibility in a press release.
Ramzy Hattar, who purchased the bar two years ago, said he will not shy away from these messages. “My staff and I are doing everything and continue to do everything to make it safe,” he said.
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission issued a notice to cancel Taylor’s liquor license last August, citing 29 incidents in the previous 22 months. The notice has since been amended four times for a total of 42 complaints. Complaints include assault, overserving, drugging drinks and theft.
The bar remains open while it fights to keep its liquor license, and a hearing over whether the bar would keep its license was held over the summer in Portland. The administrative law judge who oversaw the proceedings has yet to make a public recommendation on whether Taylor’s will keep its license, according to OLCC spokesperson Matthew Van Sickle. Hattar said he expected the recommendation to be public around mid-October.
Once the judge makes a decision, the OLCC must still ratify the agreement.
“We are several months out,” Van Sickle said in an email.
But the Femme Militia wants the bar to close now. “With a new school year starting, Femme Militia demands the shut down of Taylor’s Bar & Grill for the safety of UO students and other patrons, as well as a form of retroactive decency for the survivors who have and haven’t come forward,” the group stated in the press release.
Hattar said his goal since he purchased Taylor’s is to make the bar as safe as possible. “It’s my college bar,” he said. He said most of his payroll is for security personnel, and he’s working with groups including UOPD, students and the Bond Project to make the bar safer.
A spokesperson for the Femme Militia was not available for comment at time of publication.