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Stars Cabaret isnt a good fit for local area

Site on McEwan Road picked for latest full-nude adult entertainment strip club

Not in my backyard.

You hear this conviction played out every so often when a controversial project is proposed for a previously established area. The offending proposal could be almost anything, but typically seem to be something like:

* A prison or jail;

* A halfway house for sex offenders or people with mental illness;

* A bar;

* Or a business with an adult-entertainment theme.

It is this latter category (complete with bar) that has some folks in Lake Grove, Rivergrove, Lake Oswego and Tualatin so riled up. Randy Kaiser, owner of three adult-entertainment businesses in Oregon, wants to open a fourth Stars Cabaret and Steakhouse on the Lake Oswego side of Interstate 5. Though the chosen spot technically is in Tualatin, if allowed it would send some pretty intense - and chilling - shockwaves through the Lake Grove area.

In his other clubs, Kaiser offers full-nude venues for his customers.

He is seeking permission from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission for an alcohol license to turn the former Out of the Blues Broiler Bar and Billiards Restaurant on McEwan Road into a Stars Cabaret. He also needs to get a business license from the city of Tualatin.

At the heart of the matter is one of Oregon's worst-kept - and possibly worst - secrets. The metro area is believed to have more strip clubs per capita than any other city in the United States. More than Las Vegas; more than Los Angeles.

A free-speech clause in the Oregon constitution along with several rulings by the state Supreme Court have resulted in strip clubs and other sex-based businesses being nearly untouchable in the state. And when one comes knocking on your neighborhood door, it's not easy to keep it out.

Tualatin Mayor Lou Ogden, in an e-mail message to some area residents, sounds almost defeated from the get-go in preventing the club from coming in.

He wrote: 'As all of you are aware, we have received many concerned comments regarding this business coming to Tualatin.  It is terribly frustrating for municipalities since it is my understanding the Oregon Supreme Court ruled some time ago that these activities are not only permitted, but they are an act of freedom of expression protected by the Oregon Constitution.  As a result, the court has ruled that we cannot regulate the location of these businesses in our town.  Unfortunately, this is a long standing ruling and many, many cities in Oregon have been plagued with the inability to regulate their location.  It is my understanding there is nothing we can legally do as a municipality to stop, alter, or hinder their location here.

'I do not agree with the court, but I believe we have no legal power to do anything about that.  We do, as a community, have the ability to peacefully protest, I would imagine, on public property that doesn't impact the safety of traffic, doesn't trespass, etc.  However, I am not the City Attorney and I am at this point only expressing my personal opinions.'

It's interesting that the latest Stars Cabaret plan comes out at a time when much is being made about the 82nd Avenue prostitution problems linked to Portland's recently doing away with its prostitution-free zones. While we aren't linking prostitution with Stars, we aren't running away from the comparison either.

Sex is alive and seedy in the local area and the latest efforts to bring in a new Stars Cabaret prove the point. A meeting Tuesday night about the plan at the Tualatin Police Department brought out 150 unhappy area residents, most of them from Lake Oswego.

Across Interstate 5 sits an established strip club - Jiggles - that brings adult entertainment to a potentially younger audience as the club doesn't serve alcohol and admits people age 18 and older. Stars obviously would up the ante with alcohol, a long-standing reputation based on its three other Oregon clubs and undoubtedly glaring neon signs beckoning to travelers on I-5.

Not far away from the proposed club are several schools, concerned business owners and legions of worried and upset parents.

Right now the ball is in the OLCC's and city of Tualatin's courts. While both entitites are limited in their abilities to halt the club, there's always a possibility. If you have strong feelings about not adding a Stars Cabaret to the local skyline, we would advise you to write letters to the bodies right now saying the obvious:

'Not in my backyard.'