NPR Story
5:06 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Liquor Privatization Battle Could Be Headed For Oregon

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 5:52 pm

Oregon voters could have the chance to follow Washington's lead next year when it comes to liquor sales.

A grocery industry group filed a slate of initiatives Monday to end the state monopoly on selling liquor.

In Oregon, only the state Liquor Control Commission can sell bottles of hard alcohol. It does so through a series of contracted retail outlets. Big chain grocery stores want to be able to sell liquor on their shelves alongside beer and wine.

A spokesman for the grocery industry group that filed the initiatives wouldn't speak on tape but issued a statement calling the current system an outdated monopoly. The group has until next July to gather enough signatures to qualify a measure for the November ballot.

A similar state-run system existed in Washington until voters decided to end it in 2011 following a $20 million dollar campaign led by Costco.

Oregon lawmakers will also consider whether to partially privatize the state-controlled liquor system when they meet in February

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