The Police Department recently proposed an ordinance (Ordinance 2632) to the Council that, if enacted, would make it unlawful to host gatherings where 20 or more persons are in attendance, alcohol is served or consumed, and two or more specified law violations occur.
The intent of the ordinance is to help provide a tool to police to help manage gatherings that have gone beyond the bounds of control. The Police Department describes the parties, typically attended by underage youth, as difficult to manage as complaints come in from the surrounding neighborhoods. Further, the Department informed the Council that these types of parties are uncommon when adults are in attendance or when adults are providing supervision at parties where underage youth are present. Lake Oswego Police Chief Johnson told the Council this tool provides police with the ability to “close” a party falling within the parameters of the ordinance when the situation is out of control. Chief Johnson believes the ordinance, which is based on ordinances that are in place in many other cities, provides a measured response, while protecting the safety of partygoers and the community.
The ordinance that follows has been updated subsequent to the January 7, 2014, City Council Hearing at the request of the City Council. First, the Council felt the “threshold” number of persons in attendance should be raised from 5, to 20. The second change - related to language originally proposed in Section 3.23.050 - simply makes it clear for the reader that a person’s property is not at stake should violations occur; however, fines and penalties may occur.
The Council directed staff to work with the Lake Oswego School Board to solicit their input and that of local residents to ensure constituent groups had a full understanding of the proposed ordinance and an opportunity for input before the City Council takes action. Chief Johnson presented to the School Board on January 14, 2014. The Board is in the process of gathering input and will reconsider the issue again at the end of January. The Lake Oswego City Council is planning to reconsider the ordinance at a later date.