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Kitzhaber Has 'Concerns' About Grocery Stores Liquor Sales

Chris Lehman
Northwest News Network
Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber answers questions from reporters during a state capitol press conference Thursday.

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber says he has concerns about proposals to allow grocery stores to sell hard liquor.

Oregon lawmakers will consider a bill next month that would extend state-controlled sales of spirits to grocery stores. Separately, the grocery industry is gathering signatures for a November initiative that would allow large stores to sell booze without any state involvement.

Kitzhaber says he's concerned those proposals would push Oregon-based distillers off the shelves. And he says he thinks the current system works well enough.

"I don't know anybody in the state who can't find access to liquor if they want to get it," says the governor. "No one's ever come up to me and said 'Boy, I don't know where to get a bottle of bourbon.’"

There are currently 246 liquor stores in Oregon.

Kitzhaber made his comments Thursday during a legislative preview session sponsored by the Associated Press. The Oregon legislature meets for five weeks starting Monday.