Out of the five businesses in Clatsop County visited by Oregon Liquor Control Commission inspectors Aug. 20, just one sold liquor to a minor volunteer during a compliance check.

That business, Oney's Restaurant and Lounge on U.S. Highway 26 in Elsie, and the employee who made the sale now face administrative sanctions including a fine or license suspension, according to Ken Palke of the OLCC.

The businesses that refused to sell alcohol to a minor volunteer were the Pig 'N Pancake Restaurant and Tolovana Park Grocery in Cannon Beach and the Hamlet Quick Stop, Seaside Liquor Store and Seaside Safeway in Seaside.

OLCC inspectors have made four visits to Clatsop County since February 2002, Palke said, and visited 35 businesses. Twelve of those 35 businesses sold alcohol to a minor volunteer, he said, a non-compliance rate of 34 percent. The state average is about 25 percent.

Compliance checks are part of the OLCC's enforcement program aimed at curbing underage drinking. Two inspectors and an underage volunteer made the checks, Palke said. During a compliance check, young people age 18 to 20 attempt to buy alcohol from businesses that sell alcohol to see if they are properly checking identification and obeying state law prohibiting alcohol sales to anyone under 21. The underage volunteers are supervised by OLCC inspectors or other law officers and use their own legal ID.

The OLCC tests about 1,000 licensed liquor businesses annually. A number of police agencies also do compliance checks. The agency offers training to store clerks, service permit holders and others on ID checking techniques, spotting false identification and the laws regarding minors and alcohol.

Targeting prevention of alcohol sales to minors and the use of false IDs, the OLCC made 16 percent more compliance visits statewide in 2003 than in 2002, Palke said in a news release earlier this year.

Citations jumped 40 percent during that time period.

He said inspectors ticketed 79 licensees and employees for sale to visibly intoxicated people and 422 for failing to verify age or check ID last year. Inspectors cited 295 people for minor in possession of alcohol, 125 for sale to a minor or furnishing, and 268 for ID-related violations, such as misrepresentation of age or using another person's license, Palke said.

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