Bar raises drinking age to 26 to fight gang violence

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A bullet-riddled Northeast Portland bar is raising the drinking age on the premises in an attempt to combat an increase in gang violence.

Magoo’s Bar and Grill at 5028 NE 42nd Ave. reserves the right to refuse service to anyone under 26 and so far, the strategy has worked.

“We’re really trying to clean up the bar in the neighborhood and we have a 26 and over in the neighborhood now,” said a Magoo’s bartender.

Staff said nine months ago, police were called to Magoo’s every weekend responding to fights, calls of disorderly conduct — even shootings.

“A bullet went into our building and shot one of our customers in the leg,” he said.

“It’s the younger crowd that causes the problem, the newbies in the gang a lot of the older gang members they come in here they’ve been in the gang so long they don’t want to fight,” said nearby resident Jeremy Hanson.

There have been at least three shootings in the last five years in the neighborhood.

“It’s nice during the day it’s just when it starts to get dark, some not so nice people come out and take over the bar,” said neighbor Lisa Hart.

Magoo’s is within its rights according to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to raise the age of entry.

“It doesn’t really matter there are so many bars here in Portland you don’t have to worry about one making that rule, the one making the rule for a business choice to keep the wrong element out,” said Hanson.

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