New OLCC board chairman vows agency changes in wake of bourbon scandal, will work to restore public trust
PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) – The recently appointed chair of the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission made clear the agency will change its ways in the wake of a recent scandal, but will have to work to restore public trust.
Chair Marvin Révoal set the tone for change at the start of the Board of Commissioners regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Thursday.
“We have very strong supporters, not only in this room, but throughout the country,” said OLCC Chair Marvin Révoal. “Many of you, and many of them have reached out to us to say that and to offer help. And we’re accepting that help. We understand mistakes have been made, we’re correcting those mistakes, and we’re continuing to move forward.”
The board also received a progress report on the agency’s new warehouse and office complex planned for Canby, appointed two new agents to run independently operated liquor stores, and took action on rules affecting the cannabis industry. In addition, Commissioners approved several stipulated settlement agreements with alcohol licensees, and discussed the need for training on the roles and responsibilities of the Board and agency staff.
Révoal’s remarks came in the wake of recent disclosures that some agency leaders had set aside rare and hard-to-find bourbons for their own purchase. Governor Kotek appointed Révoal as the chair on Feb. 24, with a directive to the OLCC’s new leadership to get the agency back on track. The board had previously appointed Craig Prins as the agency’s interim Executive Director at its monthly meeting on Feb. 15.
The board indicated it doesn’t want progress on the agency’s projects to come to a halt. That includes sticking to the agency’s timeline to build a new warehouse for distilled spirits, since the current warehouse – built in the 1950’s – has reached its capacity.
“Stakeholders are very pleased with the fact that the organization is moving forward and staying on track for the warehouse because they understand the business opportunity and the needs,” said Révoal. “They want to support that and support us in every way. We’re on track and our partners are happy about it. They told us that point blank. They see what the future looks like and they agree with our direction.”
The Board learned that OLCC, along with the state’s Department of Administrative Services, has signed a contract with a Construction Manager/General Contractor (CMGC) to oversee the design and build of the warehouse project. The CMGC, JE Dunn Construction, will move the project forward in collaboration with the architect that designed the warehouse-office complex.
In other action, the Board appointed William Minihan to operate the independently owned liquor store in Eugene at 1530 Coburg Road. Another small business owner, Harpreet Sangha, (AJS Investment LLC) was selected by the Board to run the Springfield Gateway liquor store at 812 Beltline Road.
The Board also initiated rule-making to extend the deadline for OLCC marijuana licensees to comply with artificially derived CBN requirements. In addition, Commissioners finalized “batch tagging” rules for marijuana plants that will reduce the number of seed-to-sale tags used to track marijuana in the OLCC [regulated market] cannabis tracking system. The batch tag rules, which will lower costs for producer licensees and medical marijuana growers, take effect beginning January 1, 2024.
To help with the agency’s course correction, individual Commissioners expressed a desire to better understand the difference between Board and staff roles and responsibilities; that could include agency-wide training on: ethical conduct for public officials, public records requirements, as well as overviews on how each agency department operates. The Board plans to review a syllabus of training options at an upcoming meeting.
The Commission also ratified three stipulated settlement agreements for alcohol licensees. Detailed information on the specific cases below can be found on the OLCC website:
Alcohol Stipulated Settlement Agreements
BUNKHOUSE RESTAURANT (F-COM) in Nehalem, will pay a $1,485 fine OR serve a nine-day license suspension for one violation.
DAVID MARKET (O) in Newberg, will pay a $2,250 fine OR serve nine-day license suspension for one violation.
ODD MOE’S PIZZA (O) in Newberg, will pay a $5,215 fine OR serve 28-day license suspension for two violations.