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Scappoose considers park rules for alcohol

City code currently prohibits alcohol in parks

Scappoose city officials are likely to create a permit process for bringing alcohol to city parks.

A discussion by Scappoose city councilors Monday, April 4, highlighted the city’s lack of rules around the issue.

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: COURTNEY VAUGHN - Scappoose Police Chief Norm Miller, left, explains how patrolling would work near parks where groups were permitted to consume or sell alcohol. Next to Miller, Scappoose City Attorney Shelby Rihala and City Manager Michael Sykes discuss the issue with city councilors.“The way the code is written right now is it’s blanketly prohibited,” City Attorney Shelby Rihala said.

Despite expressed allowances, Scappoose has allowed beer gardens at public events and last year, the city allowed the Watts House to serve champagne for a fundraising event.

Councilor Joel Haugen asked how prior events have been permitted to serve alcohol if the city prohibits it in parks.

“That’s a good question,” Rihala responded.

Councilor Barbara Hayden said the Scappoose Historical Society has come to the city and asked to serve alcohol in the city-owned building.

“I’ve come before council with a written request to allow us to have alcohol for just a certain event, and then a year ago, the council just decided the Watts House could have alcohol [for all events] because we don’t abuse it and we only do it for certain events,” Hayden explained.

Rihala offered examples of alcohol ordinances for other cities like Grants Pass and Albany, which allows beer and wine in public parks with a city-granted permit.

Councilors liked the idea of requiring a permit, but suggested limiting alcohol to parks with restrooms. That would limit the areas to Heritage Park, Veterans Park, Miller Park and the Watts House.

Scappoose Police Chief Norm Miller said his department would likely ramp up patrols near parks where an alcohol permit was granted.

Mayor Scott Burge suggested allowing the city manager to approve permits for alcohol in city-owned parks, rather than each request coming before the council.

City staff is expected to draft an ordinance for city councilors to consider at a future meeting.