Friday, January 8, 2010

It's Not the End of the World, but You Can See It from There

Posted By on Fri, Jan 8, 2010 at 7:46 PM

Jason Evers, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission official who was removed from his Bend post for being overzealous, has been transferred to lovely Nyssa,  a Malheur County town of 3,000 people that’s about as close to Siberia as you can get and still be in Oregon.

This is the second time in Evers’s OLCC career that he’s been “voluntarily” sent to Nyssa (nickname: “Thunder Egg Capital of the World,” and no, I didn’t make that up) after overstepping his authority. The first, according to a Bulletin story this morning, was in 2006, after two Bend liquor license holders successfully challenged sanctions he issued against them.

After returning from his first Nyssa gig Evers came back to Bend, where he proceeded to infuriate local bar and restaurant owners and concert promoters again. Following an investigation by the Oregon Department of Justice that found he and his staff had been overzealous and unfairly harsh in at least a dozen cases, he was transferred to Medford. Katy Boyce, who filled in as interim Bend regional manager when Evers left, will take over the position permanently, the OLCC said.

Happy as we are that Evers is gone from Bend (and sorry as we feel for Nyssa) we have to wonder about the mindset of an agency that keeps a man on the payroll even after he’s repeatedly behaved like a petty tyrant. What does somebody have to do to get fired from the OLCC  -- sodomize sheep in the streets?

In the Bulletin story, state Rep. Judy Steigler (D-Bend) said the Evers case should prompt the OLCC to clean house: “I think [the agency] needs to turn its focus internally and scrutinize its internal operations. Just because this ‘little problem’ has been taken care of, I still want to see them as very self-examining in how they operate.”

Good advice – but considering how little propensity for self-examination the OLCC has shown in the past, I doubt it will be followed. If the state legislature wants to see the OLCC straightened out, it’s going to have to do the job itself.

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