1 in 4 Springfield businesses sold alcohol to minors in sting

1 in 4 Springfield businesses sold alcohol to minors in sting »Play Video
Oregon IDs for adults (left) and minors (right) are different to help retailers and restaurants avoid selling alcohol to people under 21.

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Eight out of 32 Springfield businesses recently served alcohol to minors in an Oregon Liquor Control Commission investigation.

In other words: one in four liquor sellers - 25 percent - broke the law.

It’s part of the OLCC’s decoy operation to reduce illegal liquor sales to minors.

Mark Jaehnig, an investigator with the OLCC, said the businesses were randomly selected and that “there was no trickery involved” in the process.   

A group of undercover, underage police cadets participated in the investigation. They carried their real Oregon driver’s licenses into the businesses and attempted to purchase alcohol.

The majority of those businesses looked at the ID but failed to correctly calculate the ID holder's age.

“I don’t think we have licensees out there intentionally selling to minors," Jaehnig said. "I think that everybody has a bad day and everybody makes mistakes.”

The good news is businesses can quickly tell the difference between a minor’s ID and an adult’s ID without doing the math.

The photo on a minor’s ID is on the right side of the card, whereas the photo on an adult’s ID is on the left.

The minor’s ID also has a bright red border around the photo, which plainly states the date that person turns 21.

"The two are night and day as far as being able to see when somebody’s going to turn 21,” Sgt. John Umenhofer with the Springfield Police Department said. "Anything that makes is easier for people to start drinking or to obtain alcohol at that age is a negative thing and has some serious repercussions.”

The eight businesses cited in the investigation are The Far Man Restaurant, Courtsports Athletic Club, Buffet City, Eirinn’s Bistro, Lee’s Mongolian Grill, Memos Mexican Restaurant, Centennial Steak House and Dari Mart Store number 1 on M Street.

They face charges of up to $1,650. They can opt to purchase age verification equipment or have their liquor license suspended as alternative punishments.

Jaehnig said what this recent investigation tells them is that “we need to be out and educating folks in the communities in the different places that we’re doing the checks, and explaining to them a little bit better about how we need to check ID.”