In the past, anytime there has been an increase in complaints from downtown business owners, officers from the Roseburg Police Department have gone around to the downtown markets to ensure clerks are not selling alcohol to anyone who appears intoxicated.

This is, of course, done by strongly reminding them of the liability that comes with doing so. However, here about a month ago, these officers began going around to these same markets and telling all the clerks they are no longer allowed to sell any alcohol to the "homeless," whether they're currently intoxicated or not.

I myself witnessed them doing so at the market I frequent the most, though this has also been corroborated by clerks in two of the other markets in this small vicinity down here where I live (I'm unsure about whether it's been applied anywhere else in town).

This is profiling, plain and simple.

All but one or two of the clerks I've spoken to remain uncomfortable with this, with a couple of them flat out refusing to do so, though they all state they've been threatened with legal action should they not comply. This isn't the first time these officers have resorted to unethical tactics in hopes of ridding downtown of it's homeless problem, and I can empathize with the downtown merchants but enforcing discrimination based solely on one's appearance is inexcusable.

It makes me wonder what kind of mind is actually finding it acceptable to sign off on these bogus tactics, though I have to admit it remains less than surprising. Homelessness is a problem, and drinking in public is a problem downtown as well, but the law only finds it unlawful to sell to minors and/or those who show signs of intoxication, not to those dressing less than stellar.

Trevor Carlson

Roseburg

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BetsyC

After reading this Letter to the Editor, I was very concerned. So I decided to send an email to our Roseburg city council members, mayor and chief of police. I got a response from the Chief that explains what may have been going on that the letter writer observed.

A bit ago, I got a response from our Roseburg Police Chief Gary Klopfenstein regarding the allegations in the Letter to the Editor. It said, in part:

“Our Police Department/City does not have the authority to direct or order stores on who they can or can't sell alcohol to, other than minors or intoxicated individuals. “

The Chief went on to indicate that there were merchants who sold alcohol to people and then callied the police on those individuals when because the were drinking on the merchant's premises. This is a violation of the law that could get the owners of the markets in trouble and put their OLCC license at risk. So officers would tell these stores not to sell to those people.

Klopfenstein also indicated that police get called to Eagles Park, which is across from one market, for people illegally drinking in the park. When they catch the individual, they will point the person out to the merchant and tell them not to sell to that person.

Although our police chief did not tell me this, Oregon Liquor Control Commission does hold the owners of establishments that sell alcohol responsible for related violations of the law that happen within close proximity to their business. This is not just about bars, but stores who sell alcohol for offsite consumption as well. Since the one store is so close to Eagles Park, people buying booze there then drinking it in the park probably does put them at risk of losing their OLCC license. So it would be wise for them to refuse to sell it to those people.

I don't know if the letter contacted anyone to find out what it was about or not, but, if he didn't, maybe he should have. Also I am kind of wondering if maybe the NR should have too?

BetsyC

If true, this is very troublesome.

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