Demonstrators say strip clubs ruin neighborhoods

Demonstrators say strip clubs ruin neighborhoods »Play Video
Demonstrators along Highway 99 Friday night said they want two strip clubs closed down and a third not to be opened because they attract crime.

PORTLAND, Ore. - Dozens of demonstrators hit the streets Friday night saying they want strip clubs closed because they attract crime.

They say there are fights, public displays of nudity, sex, vandalism, drug abuse and just too much noise for neighborhoods near the Acropolis.

But the club owners, patrons and those who work at the Acropolis say the area is an industrial corridor and the real goal of the protesters is to stop a new club on the other side of the Acropolis from opening in a vacated Wendy’s restaurant.

About two dozen protesters demonstrated on State Highway 99 East. They carried signs and said they want two clubs closed down along the highway in Milwaukie and Southeast Portland in addition to not wanting the new one opened.

"We heard from 25 to 30 residents in the neighborhood who were concerned about a new club coming in, because we were already having problems with Acropolis and Blush," said Eric Miller, with the Sellwood-Moreland Neighborhood Association.

Johnny "Diablo" Zukle, who plans to open Casa Diablo next door to the Acropolis, held his own counterdemonstration with 50 employees and patrons. They said they want their freedom of expression protected.

"The Oregon Supreme Court decided that freedom of speech is what’s important," Zukle said. "If they don't like strip clubs, don't spend any money there."

He said there is an ongoing effort by SOS Oregon to close any business that deals with sex or nudity. He said the group incites outrage within neighborhood groups with bogus claims, and then they use those allegations to force an Oregon Liquor Control Commission investigation.

"By them acting this way, it slows down the liquor licensing process and that slows us from creating more jobs that the economy needs," Zukle said.

Portland police crime analysts were not available Friday night to comment on crime in the area. According to a couple of crime reporting websites, as far as the Acropolis location goes, there has been one crime report filed in the past month – an assault. In the past year, no reports of sex crimes as described by the protesters were found.