MOST AREA LIQUOR STORES WILL REMAIN CLOSED ON SUNDAYS

April 13, 2002 12:00 am

Although Sunday is the first day Oregons liquor stores can be open on Sundays under a bill passed by the Legislature in a special session in February, it appears most in Union and Wallowa County stores will be closed as usual.

One exception could be in Wallowa. There Shell Mercantile Co., a grocery store, is also the state liquor agent.

Were trying to decide if we will be open, said agent Ron Gay. Were open anyway, so Id say we are leaning toward being open.

In Enterprise, Mae McGinnis operates the OLCC store at 222 W. Main Street. She said she hadnt decided yet if she will open Sundays. She may decide after attending a meeting soon in Pendleton of area OLCC agents.

The Joseph Liquor Store, at 107 S. Main St., probably wont be open either, a worker there said.

The Elgin store, at 393 Albany St., wont be open Sundays, said agent Joan Lauriella.

Even though we have another business (upholstery), its not just worth our time

to be open Sundays. We only get a percentage of the sales, and this is a small

town.

This is the first time since before Prohibition that all 237 state-run liquor stores have been allowed to open on Sunday.

The state law permitting the Sunday sales is designed to raise an additional $3 million in revenue for the state general fund through 2003.

It was part of the Legislatures strategy to eliminate an $845 million budget shortfall.

Under the new law, liquor stores will be allowed to stay open on legally recognized holidays such as Christmas and Thanksgiving.

Gov. John Kitzhaber allowed the Sunday sales bill to become law without his

signature.

Ray Linker