Editorial from the August 20 edition
It’s a tough one. The alcohol impact zone issue. For months, the city has been messaging downtown businesses, particularly shop owners who sell alcohol, to get on board with its proposed alcohol impact zone. The zone, the first in the state if created, would encompass Portland’s downtown, Old Town and Goose Hollow, and would ban the sale of lower priced, higher alcohol products. And for as long as this has been a thrust of the city, Street Roots has been grappling with where we stand on the issue, like two sides of a brain trying to reason out a single position.
On one side, (let’s call it the left side) our collective brain gives merit to the arguments for this zone: that low-priced, high-octane hooch means easy access for “street drinkers” to imbibe to extreme, contributing to the declining health and morbidity of people without means to recovery. Not to mention the general unseemliness and enforcement burden of public drinking in the city’s business, tourist and social core. The argument extends to suggest that cutting off access to a drug will curb its abuse or encourage people to seek recovery – and make no mistake; alcohol is our nation’s most popular drug, rivaling only tobacco. Continue reading