Jiggles closes doors in Tualatin
After 30 years, Jiggles' lease ended and owner Jane Coppedge doesn't know where the dance club is going
Dim lights and popular music. Soda and leather couches. Tinted windows and a pink freeway sign. A parking lot that no matter why youre there, part of you feels like youre going to get caught.
At 30, Jane Coppedge opened the Tualatin strip club. Today, she doesnt understand what she was thinking at the time after all, it was three decades ago. But, not remembering the inception of the idea doesnt mean shes ready for its closure.
On Saturday, June 21, the lease ended for Jiggles, Tualatins controversial and well-known entrance landmark since 1984. In the coming weeks, the building will be demolished and the plot leveled, making room for three restaurants as part of Nyberg Rivers, being developed by CenterCal Properties.
On its final day, business ran as usual until 2 a.m., when closing marked the last time an 18-year-old could order a Sprite and a lap dance in the same breath within Tualatin, that is.
We like Tualatin. A lot of us live here in Tualatin and Tigard its our home, said Bobby Deshotel, Jiggles DJ of 10 years. Its like losing a girlfriend, though. Its kind of tough to grasp.
In three months of looking for a new location for her business, Coppedge has come up dry. Rumor spread that the juice bar would make its way to Wilsonville after closing shop in Tualatin, but Coppedge confirmed that the talk was nothing more than speculation. Living in Troutdale, she was adamant that the business wouldnt be moving any further south. Ideally, she said, theyd remain in Tualatin, though Coppedge also noted that she doesnt see it happening. If all else fails, shes hoping to land closer to Portland than anything else.
While Coppedge isnt discouraged by her predicament, she does have a difficult time not feeling slighted.
According to Coppedge, it wasnt until a few months ago that she was told shed have to take her business elsewhere upon the leases close. She said that if shed known further in advance, she could have found a place and had her club moved already. As it is, this week shes packing everything away into storage until a viable location is scouted.
All I know was a year ago I was fenced off, she said. I couldve probably been moved out of the way by now.
But according to CenterCals Chief Executive Officer Fred Bruning, the company met with Coppedge a year ago, right around the time that they were entering into their own 60-year lease. Because CenterCal doesnt own the Jiggles plot, Bruning does not know when Coppedge was officially informed shed have to relocate her business. The land is owned by Dean R. MacBale of West Linn, who was recently under investigation for fraud and sexual assault.
CenterCal offered Coppedge an early buy out of $150,000, but an agreement was never met, as Coppedge countered with a $750,000 demand, said Bruning.
Since it appeared that Coppedge wanted to stay the length of her lease, Bruning felt it was best to continue with construction instead of stalling the entire project.
Honestly, I feel that what were doing in this project is an upgrade, he said.
While staying open through the Nyberg Rivers construction, Jiggles was also faced with a shattered freeway sign, giving many people the impression that the business has been closed for months. According to Bruning, Wendys, which is also amidst the construction, reported a 10 percent gain in business since this time last year. Coppedge, on the other hand, described their recent customer traffic as so-so.
I have no intentions of quitting, she said. This has kept me really busy for a long time. Ive been my own boss for a lot of years its had its headaches, but also its freedoms.
One of those headaches was a suspended liquor license several years after opening due to alleged ties to organized crime. However, the alcohol-free business model has worked well, and Coppedge plans to keep it that way. For many teens in Tualatin and the surrounding area, a trip to Jiggles truly was a right of passage. Unable to go to other clubs of its kind, Jiggles was where high school boys went on their 18th birthdays, and where theyd then sit awkward and confused, unsure where to look first were the dancing girls, then came the fear of seeing a familiar face. For Coppedge, however, those familiar faces are what make leaving so sad.
Ive seen a lot of the girls buy homes and put themselves through college, she said. Its really hard. Thirty years in this location ... all the employees and girls ... its going to be really strange and different no matter what.
When it closed, Jiggles employed between 50 and 100 dancers. Coppedge couldnt give an exact count because not all of the women had a fixed schedule. But she isnt worried for their future successes, saying that they wont have a hard time finding work. Long-time DJ Deshotel is job hunting, as well, but just as Coppedge is confident her dancers will find employment, Deshotel knows he will, too.
Both Coppedge and Deshotel noted how amenable the city was to them for years. Deshotel had high praise for the Tualatin Police Department, and mentioned that the officers helped keep away many of the drugs typically associated with nightclubs.
I would say that a lot of the local people have kind of seen it as an eyesore. When a lot of us are really average people who make a living, stay out of trouble, said Deshotel. Although we really appreciate Tualatin, we just wanted people to know that were not a bunch of bad guys around here.
Thirty years is a long time for anything. While Jiggles owner wishes things were different, shes accepted that she just needs to keep pushing into the future.
Itll be what its supposed to be, she said. Ive always believed that.Add a comment