PORTLAND – Last weekend’s shooting at the New Copper Penny was hardly the first incident where police were called to the bar in Southeast Portland’s Lents neighborhood.
According to the Bureau of Emergency Communications, police have been called in or around the New Copper Penny 136 times in the last 2 years.
The calls range from traffic stops to the weekend shooting that unfolded early Sunday morning.
So, what does it take for a business to get its liquor license suspended?
Adam Simmons, who lives just blocks away, said Monday that two shootings in the past two weeks is too many. He wrote a letter asking the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to pull the New Copper Penny’s liquor license.
OLCC spokeswoman Christie Scott confirms they will review Simmons letter.
Records show the OLCC has sent inspectors the business several times before. In 2005 they fined the New Copper Penny for having “a history of serious and persistent problems.” The agency later acknowledged the owner had taken steps to prevent future problems.
In 2012, they investigated the business again following a shooting outside the bar, but didn’t find any fault on the bar’s part. Now the OLCC is looking into Sunday’s shooting outside the business.
“What we look for are situations where the staff could have prevented the violence or if alcohol service was involved. Things that the business owner and their employees could have done to prevent the violence from happening,” Scott said.
KGW repeatedly tried to contact the owner of the New Copper Penny, but no one has returned phone calls.
A nearby business owner, however, did come to the owner's defense, saying the shootings that happened outside the bar are out of his hands.
“He can police the inside of his place, but once you get to outside, what do you do? Then it’s time for the police to police it,” said Chris Trickle from Trickle’s All American Cycle.
As for the 136 police calls in the past two years, numbers from BOEC show that far exceeds the 54 calls to the Fontaine Bleau nightclub during the same time period.
The OLCC suspended its license after a shooting last November. The agency points out that just because a shooting happens outside a business that serves alcohol doesn’t mean it’s the businesses fault. In the cases where they do find fault, they can take action.
KGW reporter Mark Hanrahan contributed to this report.