Oregon Liquor Control Commission

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Oregon Liquor Control Commission
Agency overview
Formed 1933

Jurisdiction Oregon, U.S.
Headquarters Portland, Oregon
Agency executives Steven Marks, Executive Director
Rob Patridge, Board Chair
Website oregon.gov/OLCC

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) is a government agency of the U.S. state of Oregon. The OLCC was created by an act of the Oregon Legislative Assembly in 1933, days after the repeal of prohibition, as a means of providing control over the distribution, sales and consumption of alcoholic beverages.[1] To this end, the agency was given the authority to regulate and license those who manufacture, sell or serve alcohol. Oregon is one of 18 alcoholic beverage control states that directly control the sales of alcoholic beverages in the United States.


Prohibition in the United States began in 1919 with the passing of the Eighteenth Amendment. In the early 1930s, Oregon Governor Julius Meier appointed a committee, led by Dr. William S. Knox, to study Oregon's options regarding the regulation of alcoholic beverages in the state. In what came to be known as the Knox Report, the committee recommended a system similar to Canada's.

Based on the recommendations in the Knox Report, the Oregon Legislative Assembly held a special session that created the Oregon Liquor Control Commission in 1933, just days after the national repeal of prohibition. Governor Meier signed the Liquor Control Act (also known as the Knox Act) on December 15, 1933. The act gave the state exclusive rights to sell distilled spirits and fortified wine as well as the authority to license private businesses to sell beer and wine by the bottle or glass.

2006 director resignation after DUI arrest[edit]

On April 27, 2006, Teresa Kaiser, the director of the commission at that time, resigned after being charged with driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.16, twice the legal limit in Oregon.[2] The arrest was widely reported in mass media after the incident occurred.[3][4][5] Following the arrest and resignation, the OLCC board held an emergency meeting to appoint an interim acting executive director.[5][2]


Today, Oregon's alcohol regulation program has two major components: Distilled Spirits, and Enforcement and Compliance.

The Distilled Spirits program centrally purchases, warehouses, and distributes distilled spirits to Oregon's 240 state-regulated liquor stores, which are operated and managed by state-appointed liquor agents who act as independent contractors.

The Enforcement and Compliance division has five regional offices—in Portland, Medford, Salem, Bend, and Eugene—that license businesses and enforce liquor laws. Also OLCC Enforcement Agents are considered peace officers under Oregon law, but they do not carry firearms.


A five-member board of commissioners meets monthly to set OLCC policy and make decisions in areas such as liquor licenses, rules, contested case hearings and appointments of liquor store agents. The governor appoints and the Senate confirms these commissioners for four-year terms. Each commissioner represents a congressional district and one also represents the restaurant and hospitality industry.


  • Regulatory Operations issues liquor licenses and alcohol service permits. Licenses are required for anyone who manufactures, distributes or sells alcoholic beverages in Oregon. Service permits are issued to employees who serve alcohol in restaurants, bars, or other businesses. Regulatory Operations also promotes compliance with liquor laws through education and proactive programs for licensees and permittees. This program also focuses on enforcement efforts geared toward reducing underage drinking.
  • Merchandising Operations has three divisions: Purchasing, Distribution, and Store Operations. The Merchandising Program operates the state's retail liquor business, including supplying the 244 (as of September 2010) retail liquor stores. Oregon has been partially privatized since the 1980s. Oregon retail liquor stores are privately owned by independent small business contractors. The OLCC contracts with the independent business owners to sell Oregonians the distilled beverages they want, while operating a business that is one of the top revenue producers for the state. In fiscal year 2010, the OLCC contributed nearly $172 million to Oregon's general fund, county and city treasuries from the sales of distilled spirits, taxes on beer and wine and other revenue.
  • Support Services consists of three divisions: Administration, Administrative Services, and Financial Services. The program provides support and administrative services for OLCC staff and numerous partners.

Enforcement authority[edit]

ORS 471.605 Duty of officers to enforce and to inform district attorney. The state police, sheriffs, constables and all police officers within the state shall enforce all provisions of the Liquor Control Act and assist the commission in detecting violations of that statute and apprehending offenders.

ORS 471.775 Service of subpoenas; authority of inspectors. 2) Inspectors and investigators employed by the commission shall have all the authority given by statute to peace officers of this state, including authority to serve and execute warrants of arrest and warrants of search and seizure.

Although, OLCC Inspectors are not currently authorized to carry a firearm in the commission of their duties.

Minor decoy operations[edit]

OAR 845-009-0200 Uniform Standards for Minor Decoy Operations (1) Purpose. ORS 471.346 directs the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to develop, through rulemaking, uniform standards for minor decoy operations used to investigate licensees and agents operating stores on behalf of the Commission under 471.750 for violations of the laws of this state prohibiting sales of alcoholic beverages. It is the Oregon Liquor Control Commission's intention that decoy operations are to be an impartial test of a licensee or agent's ability and willingness to obey laws on preventing sale or service of alcoholic beverages to minors.

(2) Uniform standards for minors used in minor decoy operations:

(a) The minor must be under 21 years of age; and
(b) The minor may not use false identification; and
(c) The minor must look under the age of 26 years; and
(d) The minor may not lie about their age.

(3) Uniform standards for operations. In cities with populations of 20,000 or more, minor decoy operations must be conducted on either a random or targeted basis.

(a) "Random" decoy operations. Selection of the agent(s) or licensee(s) to be visited will be done using simple random sampling which ensures to the greatest extent possible that each licensee or agent has an equal chance of being selected. The simple random sampling may be performed using a variety of generally accepted simple random sampling tools, such as a random number table, a random number generator, or other method.
(b) "Targeted" minor decoy operations may be conducted for a single licensee or agent, but may be used only if there is a documented compliance problem with the specific licensee or agent that is the target of the operation.

(4) Uniform standards for coordination with law enforcement agencies. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission will coordinate with law enforcement agencies to ensure, to the greatest extent possible, that:

(a) Law enforcement agencies are informed of the Commission's uniform standards for minor decoy operations; and
(b) Law enforcement agencies provide the Commission with copies of their minor decoy policies;
(c) In order for the Commission to process violation cases in a timely manner, law enforcement agencies will be encouraged to provide the Commission with the results of their minor decoy operation(s).

(5) DEFINITIONS: Documented compliance problem. For purposes of this rule, "documented compliance problem" means:

(a) OLCC or Law Enforcement has received one or more documented complaints about an agent, licensee or license applicant alleging one or more of the following occurred at the retail sales agency or on the licensed premises:
(A) Failed to check, or failed to properly check identification;
(B) Allowed minors in prohibited areas;
(C) Allowed minors to consume alcohol;
(D) Sold alcohol to minors; or
(b) The agent, licensee or license applicant has received one or more citations, or administrative Notice of Warning or Notice of Violation tickets for one or more of the following:
(A) Failed to check, or failed to properly check identification;
(B) Allowed minors in prohibited areas;
(C) Allowed minors to consume alcohol;
(D) Sold alcohol to minors.

(6) Uniform standards for licensees. A licensee using a person under the age of 21 years for the purpose of investigating possible violations by employees of the licensee for sale of alcoholic beverages to a person or persons who are under the age of 21 years must:

(a) Comply with the uniform standards for minors used in minor decoy operations; and
(b) Notify the Director of OLCC's Regulatory Program and the Chief or Sheriff of their local law enforcement agency of the minor decoy's name, date of birth, provide a current photograph of the minor decoy, and the date(s) and location(s) of the minor decoy operation(s) at least 24 hours prior to the use of the minor decoy.

(7) Licensees, service permittees, licensee's employee(s), agents, and agent's employee(s) must immediately return identification presented by the minor decoy upon request of law enforcement or an OLCC representative.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ OLCC - About OLCC. Retrieved September 2009.
  2. ^ a b Frazier, Joseph B. (2006-04-27). "OLCC's director resigns after DUI arrest". KGW. Retrieved 2008-12-20. [dead link]
  3. ^ KGW News, OLCC's director resigns after DUI arrest. Retrieved September 2009.
  4. ^ Northwest Cable News, Top Stories - Oregon Liquor Control director resigns after DUI arrest. Retrieved September 2009.
  5. ^ a b KATU News - OLCC director resigns after DUII citation. Retrieved September 2009.