City's golf course liquor license fails to gain OK from Portland councilors

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PORTLAND — The City Council will need a second chance to approve the city as the operator of the restaurant at Riverside Municipal Golf Course, after failing to do so Monday night.

The city filed an application to run the former Bogey’s restaurant at the golf course, a decision that was made after city officials said they did not get any qualified applicants for the job. On Monday the application to run the restaurant, which serves liquor, went before the council for approval.

But some councilors questioned whether the city should be serving alcohol, and others took issue with the application itself, saying it contained incorrect information.

Councilors voted 4-3 to approve the license, but because five votes are required to pass an order, it failed. Councilors Cheryl Leeman and Kevin Donoghue were absent.

Councilor Jill Duson voted against the license because she said she did not think city employees should be serving alcohol.

“It seems inappropriate to me,” she said.

Councilor John Anton requested that staff take a second look at the application.

During public comment, resident Steven Scharf questioned the wisdom of the city approving a liquor license for itself.

“It is a conflict of interest that you are the issuer of the license and are going to be the recipient,” he said. Scharf also pointed out that the City Council, not the food service manager, is the principal officer of the city. On the application the city had listed the latter.

“Cities and towns should not be in the restaurant business,” Scharf said.

Anton also asked whether the city’s venture into restaurant operations would be a temporary one.

Mayor Nick Mavodones, who said he did not see a problem with the city operating the restaurant, said it was his understanding that it was a temporary solution until the city figured out if it wants to hire a golf course operator. That discussion is expected to take place this summer.

The city released a request for proposals for an operator for the restaurant earlier this year, but said that none of the proposals they received were qualified.

Meanwhile, the council will have a second vote on the liquor license on May 2.

Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or kbucklin@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katebucklin.

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