A pub proposed for the old Shenanigan's bar location has gotten a thumbs down from Medford police Chief Tim George, citing the owner's criminal record and nine citations for improperly painting a building without permits.
Jeff Rahenkamp, owner of Phat Kat Tattoo, said, "I got nine citations for paint. What a bunch of idiots."
The police chief has recommended that the Medford City Council urge the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to deny a liquor license to Rahenkamp.
George will make his case before the council at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 20, at City Hall, 411 W. Eighth St.
Rahenkamp, who formerly ran Pub Ink on Main Street, wants to open a club at 17 S. Riverside Ave. in the former Shenanigans bar and at 25 S. Riverside. Shenanigans' multi-bar operation drew huge crowds but went belly up after it ran afoul of the OLCC for a series of violations.
The building has been partially painted dark gray. (See correction, below.) The area is a historic district, requiring review of paint colors under Municipal Code 10.406, but Rahenkamp didn't get approval before hiring someone to paint the building.
In a memo to the council, George pointed out the nine citations issued to Rahenkamp for altering buildings in a historic neighborhood without receiving permits.
The chief also cited Rahenkamp's conviction in 1996 for second-degree theft and a conviction for prostitution in 2006, but noted it had been expunged and sealed by the Jackson County Circuit Court as of June 11, 2012.
"This arrest/conviction cannot be part of this consideration for recommendation," George stated in the memo sent to the council.
Rahenkamp said he finds it curious that George would mention the conviction for prostitution even though the record has been sealed.
"And, yet, there it is," Rahenkamp said Monday.
Rahenkamp said he had hired a crew to paint the building but forgot to tell them not to paint the facade because that would require permission from the city.
"I didn't think about the front facade of the building," Rahenkamp said. "Then they cited me so that I look like an (expletive) in front of the City Council."
Rahenkamp said he's been pulling his equipment out of the Shenanigan's building because he's worried the city will make it impossible for him to conduct business.
"There are a bunch of morons who sit on City Council who don't want business in the downtown unless the business happens to be Lithia," he said.
George said Rahenkamp received multiple citations because he hadn't taken any action to clear up the painting and exterior renovations at both locations on Riverside Avenue.
George said the city Planning Department received a complaint from a local citizen on April 26. The Planning Department gave Rahenkamp until May 17 to file an application to bring the matter before the Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission.
When the city hadn't received an application from Rahenkamp by May 22, the police cited him, George said.
"He had lots of warning," he said. "The goal on these types of things is to get compliance."
Because Rahenkamp has now taken steps to receive the appropriate permission, the police will no longer continue to cite him for that violation, George said.
However, the nine citations are still pending in Municipal Court, he said.
George said he is basing his unfavorable recommendation to the City Council on Rahenkamp's 1996 conviction and the nine citations.
He said he wouldn't discuss any more details until the council meeting Thursday.
"I am not going to comment on a public hearing until the public hearing," George said.
In 2012, the police opposed a liquor license for Rahenkamp based on his prior convictions. Based on the police recommendation, the council could neither endorse nor oppose the liquor application with the OLCC but expressed mixed feelings about Rahenkamp.
In particular, the council was concerned that Rahenkamp had failed to finish the exterior of his tattoo shop on Riverside Avenue, a completion that was promised to the Historic Preservation Commission in 2010.
The OLCC approved Rahenkamp's liquor license for Pub Ink, which he operated for less than a year without receiving any liquor-related violations.
Christie Scott, spokeswoman for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, said the commission previously issued Rahenkamp a liquor license for Pub Ink that took into account his criminal record.
She said the commission considers the passage of time when looking at prior convictions.
Scott said she is not sure how much weight the OLCC staff will give to the citations related to painting the exterior of the building.
If the Medford council recommends that OLCC deny Rahenkamp's license, the issue automatically goes before the OLCC board of commissioners unless the staff also denies the application, Scott said.
The police chief cited Oregon Revised Statute 471.313 as potential grounds for the OLCC to deny issuance of the liquor license. Under the ORS, the license can be denied if the applicant "has been convicted of violating any of the laws, general or local, of this state or another if the conviction is substantially related to the fitness and ability of the applicant to lawfully carry out activities under the license."
Also, the ORS states the license can be denied if the applicant "is not of good repute and moral character."
Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Correction: An earlier version listed the wrong building because of an editor's error.