Amid growing concerns from its residents, Umatilla took the first step Tuesday towards enacting a moratorium on any new adult businesses. The city council approved an official public notice and council consideration of the moratorium for next month. This move follows the establishment of Honey Bunnz Hideout in Umatilla’s downtown and the resignation of planning commissioner John Nichols in protest of the club’s approval. Honey Bunnz Hideout is the third strip club in the town of 7,000. Comparatively, Portland has far fewer per capita, at an estimated 7.4 per 100,000 residents.
According to City Manager Bob Ward, the proposed moratorium is not going to affect the three clubs already in business. The Oregon Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that nude dancing is protected by the First Amendment, so these kinds of businesses cannot be banned altogether. Ward told OPB that the proposed moratorium is strictly for some breathing room as the city decides how to address future adult businesses.
- Bob Ward: Umatilla city manager