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Cheers II caught in several stings

Local pub in jeopardy of losing liquor license after allegedly selling alcohol to a minor in May and three marijuana violations in 2005

Because an employee allegedly sold and witnessed the delivery of marijuana in 2005 at Cheers II/Berlin Bear in Willamette, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission has negotiated a fine of $8,085 against Raintree Inc., Melvin Brown CEO.

The fine was paid, according to Ken Palke, an OLCC media spokesperson, to avoid the alternative: a proposed liquor license suspension from Aug. 1 to Sept. 18.

But another sting operation conducted in May of this year by the Clackamas County Sheriff's Department found an employee of Cheers II selling liquor to a minor.

The OLCC decided to suspend the Cheers II liquor license for 30 days, Palke said, but Brown objected and requested an administrative hearing.

'I believe that there's different facts that's involved that should be looked into,' Brown said in a telephone interview Tuesday.

But the OLCC will take to the hearing the fact that a Sheriff-monitored youth was able to purchase alcoholic beverages from Cheers II.

'This was a minor-decoy operation,' Palke said in a telephone interview Monday, 'where young people try to buy alcohol. And (Cheers II) apparently sold to a minor.'

This recent incident added to the 2005 incidents, Palke said, place Cheers II 'in deeper jeopardy now.'

'The only complaint I have about the whole thing,' Brown said Tuesday, 'is that there were two (marijuana) incidents in the sting operation. And I fired the person involved, but if they'd arrested the person when it happened, my fine would have been only $1,600.'

In a July 20 press release about the 2005 incidents, Palke said that Brown had agreed to a stipulated settlement, which ordered either the fine paid or the 49-day license suspension - due to the three liquor-law violations.

The $8,085 fine already has been paid, Palke said. Brown said that the initial proposed fine was larger, and that it had been reduced during negotiations.

'The violations of OAR 845-006-0347(3)(a) stem from incidents March 29 and April 7, 2005,' Palke wrote in the press release. 'The licensee permitted unlawful activity on the premises when an employee sold marijuana twice and witnessed the delivery of marijuana on the premises, in violation of ORS 475.992.'

In that 2005 Portland-metro-area sting operation, the West Linn case stood out as the largest fine among 19 other establishments.

The Willamette bar/restaurant, which is licensed for on-premises beer-wine-spirits sales, is located at 1889 Willamette Falls Drive, at its intersection with 12th Street.