Portland Fall 2013 Bar Summit: Highlights

The Portland Police, Office of Neighborhood Involvement, the Fire Marshall’s Office, the OLCC, and Portland bar and club owners gathered downtown on the afternoon of Wednesday September 25th to discuss issues of mutual concern.

Fire Marshall.  The Fire Marshall talked about how important it is for bar owners to know the occupancy limits of their premises, including both the interior and exterior areas.  He stressed the importance of proactive crowd management and monitoring of occupancy throughout the evening.  The Fire Marshall’s office will continue to inspect Portland area businesses for compliance with their occupancy limits and other violations, such as blocking entrances or exits.  The Fire Marshall expects the security staff working the door to have accurate information about the patron head count and to convey that information upon request.  In addition, the fire department staff are well trained in conducting patron counts by walking through the premises.  Although not mentioned by the Fire Marshall, another potential source of information are photos and pictures of the premises posted on the web showing overcrowding.  Upon discovery of a potential violation, the Fire Marshall’s office has a variety of options, ranging from informal warnings, citations, and/or closing the premises for the evening if there is a significant public safety concern.

Portland Police.  The Portland Police started off by thanking Portland area bar owners for stepping up and improving their screening procedures at the door, but cautioned them not to let up and to stay focused on keeping weapons, drugs, alcohol, and other contrabrand from getting into their businesses.

The Portland Police followed up with an additional caution to security professionals regarding the requirements for taking a citizen into custody.  They emphasized that even DPSST certified professionals had only limited powers to detain or take a citizen into custody.  One important requirement is that the security guard must be a first hand witness to the alleged activity to take someone into custody.  A security guard who unlawfully takes a citizen into custody may be charged with kidnapping or other criminal offenses.

The Portland Police concluding by showing the many ways in which patrons may try to smuggle contraband into a club, including fake cameras, cell phones, bags, purses, clothing, jewelry and more.  While the Police recognize that security cannot find everything, they stressed the importance of thorough screening procedures, their consistent application, and keeping up with current trends.

Multnomah County.  Multnomah County announced new programs aimed at reducing bing drinking and to discourage driving while intoxicated.  They were looking for bars willing to participate in newly developed training programs.

City of Portland Noise Office.  The Noise Office recently moved from the Bureau of Development Services to the Office of Neighborhood Involvement.  The Noise Control officer talked about recent citations and how to decrease the probability of being issued a citation, such as by keeping doors and windows closed and consulting with an acoustical professional.  That being said, the Noise Control officer sent a strong message that enforcement would increase going forward.