Last night the Troutdale City Council voted 6-1 to make permanent its ban on alcohol in parks buildings. After hearing strong recommendations for the ban from Glen Otto Park caretakers, Troutdale police, and city staff, everyone but Mayor Paul Thalhofer agreed that the costs of continued property damage and threats to Troutdale's employees were good reasons to make the ban permanent.
Although Troutdale's Parks Advisory Committee recommended solving the problem with requirements for OLCC trained servers, mandatory insurance coverage, and parks exclusions for rules violators, most of the city council felt they were only a "close the barn door after the horse already escaped" solution. The proposed requirements would not prevent actual property damage or physical harm to city employees or parks patrons.
The ban on alcohol was the result of continued violations of occupancy limits, major property damage, and large groups of intoxicated folks at events in Troutdale's Sam Cox building at Glen Otto Park.
Last night, when I asked Troutdale police how many officers it would have taken to break up the parties that occurred last year, the reply was "As many as we could get".
The park caretakers provided compelling evidence of last year's damage with dozens of photographs of litter, broken bottles, and damage inside the Sam Cox building.
City staff provided us with statistics showing that only 2 out of approx. 40 groups decided against rental of the building as a result of the temporary alcohol ban put in place last year.