Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bar Dispersal Ordinance

Requiring adequate distance between bars is essential not only to protect public safety, but also to maintain a healthy economy and quality of life. A solid base of research suggests that as alcohol outlet density goes up in a community, so do crime, violence, and motor vehicle crashes.

The Portland Police Department, the Portland Downtown District, and the Night Life Oversight Committee all agree that 100 feet is the minimum space required to prevent problems with overcrowding of bars. If it were up to 21 Reasons, there would be even more breathing room between bars-–at least 200 feet.

We need to be intentional about the future development of our downtown district. We need to promote diversification, so that we have a healthy mix of retail, restaurants, bars, and residences. Just as we have set-back requirements for new construction, we need to have "set-back" requirements for new bars going into this zone. We all want our downtown entertainment district to grow as a destination that is exciting, vibrant, and safe. Please help that to happen by maintaining a 100 foot buffer zone between bars.

Furthermore, we need to respect the process and previous efforts of our civic leaders. This issue has been studied, discussed, and decided upon only one year ago. There have been no significant environmental or cultural factors which warrant a revisit to all the hard work and thoughtful consideration that went into the 100' bar dispersal ordinance. To bring this up again so soon afterwards is disrespectful to our civic leaders and the process by which they adopted the ordinance.

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