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One week after OLCC checks, Tigard falls short

Second round of OLCC checks show more stores selling alcohol to minors

What a difference seven days can make.

According to Tigard Police, about 40 percent of tested Tigard businesses willingly sold alcohol to minors during a recent sting. That number is up dramatically from just a week earlier.

Tigard Police and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission conducted two stings of Tigard businesses over the past few weeks. On March 30, police and OLCC inspectors used a 19-year-old volunteer to enter seven stores and bars and attempt to purchase alcohol.

On that day, the city boasted an 86 percent compliance rate.

But a week later, on April 7, four of 10 businesses included in that sting sold alcohol to the man, giving the city a compliance rate of just 60 percent.

According to police, the volunteer showed his Oregon-issued ID when asked, which showed his birthday as underage.

It is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase alcohol in the state.

This isn’t the first time that the city has seen dramatically different results from its stings. Tigard’s compliance rate has fluctuated wildly. In 2010, the city boasted a 97 percent compliance. A year earlier, it was 30 percent.

Christie Scott, a spokeswoman with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission said that drastic changes in compliance checks aren’t unexpected.

“The sampling isn’t really reflective of the entire business community in Tigard,” Scott said. “It’s a random sampling.”

The sample size is too small to show trends in any given city, Scott said, but taken as a whole, the OLCC stings show that about 21 percent of businesses are not checking ID.

“We want 100 percent compliance every time,” Scott said. “That means businesses must ask for ID and actually look at the ID.”

Scott said that the agency uses a computer program to determine which businesses are targeted for compliance checks.

“The most important thing for us is preventing the sales (to) minors and the visibly intoxicated,” Scott said. “We want to make sure that businesses are selling responsibly.”

Jim Wolf, a spokesman with the Tigard Police Department, said that the compliance checks are just one way in which the city works to stop underage drinking.

“Whatever we can do to support that effort we will,” Wolf said. The agency has partnered with Tigard Turns the Tide, a nonprofit organization run by the Tigard-Tualatin School District, to educate teens about alcohol and drug use.

The police department works with the group to fund additional officers at school sporting events and dances.

“We want to do whatever we can to make sure Tigard students are drug and substance free,” Wolf said. “A healthy lifestyle is the only way to go.”