As of Friday, September 16, 2016
Cliff Wirtz, owner of the Dufur Pastime, asked the Dufur City Council Tuesday to reconsider its decision to recommend that his annual state liquor license not be renewed.
But Mayor Robert Wallace told him the city had already forwarded its recommendation to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC), and the council wasn’t inclined to change its mind.
The recommendation does not affect the business currently, and the Pastime will continue to be licensed to serve alcohol while the OLCC considers the matter. Its current liquor license is effective until Jan. 30, 2017, and a decision from the OLCC is likely to occur before that time, said Wirtz’s attorney, Tom Peachey, said earlier.
In early summer, the council chose to make no recommendation either way to the state on whether or not to renew the Pastime license.
In July, two people were killed in a car crash, and, according to law officers, the occupants had apparently come directly from the Pastime, where they had reportedly been drinking for some tme. Wasco County Sheriff Lane Magill said that, after the crash, he was asked by several people to take action, and in August he asked the city council to recommend denial of the liquor license. The council complied.
At the August meeting, Magill described five other drunk driving incidents since 2013 — three of them crashes — where all the people arrested admitted they’d been drinking at the Pastime.
Peachey wrote a response letter to the city and OLCC, saying Magill’s letter amounted to innuendo and allegations. He said nothing Magill wrote showed that employees at the Pastime violated the law by serving alcohol to people who were visibly intoxicated.
Magill said the proof was clear, with the high levels of intoxication found in the drivers, and their admission that they had been drinking at the Pastime.
Wirtz, who noted the Pastime had been in business for 35 years, told the council, “I haven’t been charged with anything.”
Another man, who did not state his name at the meeting and declined to be identified later when he spoke to , asked the council, “What about due process?”
He said he couldn’t understand how the council could take the position it did when nothing had been proven.
Wallace indicated the council’s decision had been based on the sheriff’s report.
The unidentified man asked why Kramer’s Market was allowed to continue selling beer and wine, and Wallace said, “Concerns were brought up about the Pastime.”
He was slightly unclear on what the city’s role was, other than to make a recommendation for approval or denial of liquor licenses.
Wallace added the “whole thing is unfortunate” and said the matter was in the hands of the business owner, the OLCC and the sheriff.