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A reprieve for Oregon City cigarette store

Police rescind request to shut down store accused of selling to minors
by: raymond rendleman Cigarettes Cheaper.

A second sting operation at Cigarettes Cheaper this month came up empty this time, and the store was spared losing its business license over selling tobacco to minors.

The Oregon City Police Department had originally advocated license revocation for the store located a mile from the high school. But the City Commission unanimously accepted Police Chief Mike Conrad's latest recommendation to give the store a second chance.

In addition to the failed sting on March 7, police determined that the store's installation of a video camera and a card reader showed the store's commitment to improve behavior. Store owner Tri Trinh paid a $890 fine for selling tobacco to a minor during a sting on Dec. 29 and the commission voted Feb. 16 to hold last's week's unusual quasi-judicial procedure.

'Clearly, from speaking with Mr. Trinh, I don't think that he quite understood the seriousness of it after he was cited; in speaking to him, my impression now is that he clearly understands the importance of it,' said Lt. Jim Band.

Trinh also won't sell tobacco products to anyone younger than 19 since he's worried that 18-year-olds at the high school might buy for their friends.

'I want to apologize for all the problems I have caused,' he said. 'All I ask for is another chance, (and) I guarantee that this won't happen again in my store.'

One OCHS parent protested the new recommendation at the meeting. Band said that the process was initiated by parents who were upset by the store's admitted laxness in selling to minors.

'It makes me really angry that they (Cigarettes Cheaper) have disregarded what parents have said to them,' OCHS parent Cathie Martinez told the City Commission last week.

Citing his two adult children still addicted to nicotine, Mayor Doug Neeley warned Trinh to continue a newfound vigilance and follow any other police recommendations.

'It's an extremely important issue, because that's when kids get hooked,' Neeley said. 'It is an illicit drug when you're that young.'