Porn on the Oregon Coast

Porn Studies > Porn in the News

NEWPORT, Oregon, AP, 4/28/06 - Pornography has turned into a booming business on the Oregon Coast.

Spice Adult Video is the second adult "superstore" to open along Highway 101 in the past year. A third shop, Wayne's Adult World, opened in Astoria in January 2005.

Pastor Doug Smith of the Newport Church of the Nazarene says this is the "first, full, 24/7, Wal-Mart style store complete with videos and an arcade." 

The latest store has already attracted protests and even a counterprotest by teenagers with signs that said "We love porn."

Clerk Mark Landry says the protesters aren't hurting business.

"The first thing people see when they drive past here is the big sign that says porn," Landry said, referring to the permanent billboard the churches set up on the property to the south that reads "Porn hurts everyone."

A half hour to the north, the "Imagine That" adult superstore in Lincoln City opened on Highway 101 a few months ago with 2,500 square feet of videos, an arcade, lotions, lingerie, life-size blow-up dolls and more.

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Churches Protest at Porn Video Store

Newport, Oregon, Newport News-Times, 2/1/06 - About 70 people - representing 11 churches around Lincoln County - attended a rally Saturday afternoon as part of an effort to organize opposition to the recent opening of an adult video store in Newport.

That rally, held at the Church of the Nazarene in Newport, was the launching point for Operation Myrrh, defined by organizers as "a coordinated, Christian, multi-church prayer chain, outreach and protest of Spice Video, the new adult video store in Newport."

Those taking part in the rally were provided with information and statistics about the harmful effects of pornography, and training was given "on how to conduct a successful outreach and protest."

Following the rally, about 50 of the participants went to the site of Spice Adult Video - 611 SW Coast Highway - to stage a public protest. They lined the sidewalks on both sides of U.S. Highway 101, displaying signs expressing their opposition.

Spice Adult Video, which opened in late December, is owned by Greg Tyree of Salbend, Inc., who operates a business by the same name in Salem. He purchased the Newport property in early May of last year through a corporation known as Orco Investments.

When contacted by the News-Times prior to the store opening, Tyree said he has had his store in Salem for several years, and "I've been in the business for over 30 years...all over the northwest." When asked if he anticipated opposition to his plans for Newport, Tyree would only say that this store location "is a very nice situation. It's very clean, very light and bright, (and) I'd just like to get the business open...bring jobs to the town."

Under Newport's city ordinance, this type of business is allowed as an outright use under the current zoning, which is C-1 "retail and service commercial." No public hearings or other special approvals - other than the change of occupancy permit and a city business license - were required prior to the business going in there.

A number of people opposing the adult video store appeared at a meeting of the Newport City Council in December, expressing concerns about the dangers of pornography and the negative image this store would bring to Newport. One of those speaking was Newport resident Doug Smith, who said, "A 24-hour adult video store would be a blight on our town."

At that meeting, Mayor Bill Bain said, "We appreciate your input, (and) I think we all share your concerns," but he added the city is very limited in what it can do.

City attorney Chris Minor said the Oregon Supreme Court has taken a very liberal stand on freedom of speech issues, and even if the city were to find a way to change its ordinance to regulate - in some fashion - this type of business, it would come too late to have any impact on Spice Adult Video.

Though the city may be limited in what it can do, Minor said "one thing that's been effective is picketing outside...taking pictures of customers." He said if people are discouraged from patronizing an establishment, it makes it difficult to stay in business.

Organizing an on-going protest of the business is exactly what Doug Smith set out to do. "As a former pornography user, I know that it is an addiction that harms our children, families, businesses, and community," Smith said in a statement to the News-Times. "The churches have united because we love Lincoln County, and we plan to continue our prayer and on-site outreach/protest in the hope that these businesses will close down."

Smith said each participating church plans to regularly pray for the owners, employees and customers of Spice Adult Video and other businesses that sell pornography. "We are also planning to schedule on-going, on-site picketing as a protest against the business."

Some Citizens Concerned About Porn Store

Newport News-Times, 12/21/05 - Plans for an adult video store in downtown Newport are being met with opposition, and the Newport City Council on Monday heard from several residents who expressed concerns over the negative image and potential harm such a business could bring to the community.

Last week, the city's planning department received an application from a Salem man who plans to open a business called Spice Adult Video at 611 SW Coast Highway, the former site of Gerber Tire Factory.

Greg Tyree of Salbend, Inc. filed an application for a change of occupancy to allow him to open that business. Tyree has operated a similar business in Salem for the past several years, offering adult videos, novelties and magazines 24 hours a day.

According to records at the Lincoln County Assessor's Office, Tyree purchased the Newport property for $410,000 in early May of this year through a corporation known as Orco Investments. That property had been owned by James Gerber since March of 1990.

At Monday's meeting, city council members heard from Newport resident Doug Smith, who presented a petition signed by 185 people that he said "strongly protest" plans for this business.

"A 24-hour adult video store would be a blight on our town," said Smith. "Hard core pornography exploits women, is addictive to men, and promotes sexual violence." He said any location in Newport would be undesirable for such a business, but its proposed location fronting U.S. Highway 101 in the heart of the city "is particularly terrible," said Smith and flies in the face of Newport's image as a family-friendly community.

Smith said he had heard an adult video store is a permitted use and the city is obligated to allow it to go in there, but he suggested there are options the city can consider to at least mitigate the harm, if not ban it entirely.

The council also heard from Newport resident Lee Pate, who said, "We, as a community, need to say what is obscene and what is not. We, as a community, need to say this is offensive ... (and) we don't want it in our community." Like Smith, Pate believes there are some options available, including things such as the location of this type of business and the hours of operation.

Ken Shelton recently purchased the former YMCA building a few blocks away from the site of the proposed adult video store. He said he has spent a considerable sum of money to renovate both the interior and exterior of that building, and there is an effort underway in this part of the city "by people trying to clean it up." Shelton said he finds the idea of this video store "very offensive," and "it plants a seed that is not wanted by many."

Newport resident Jeff Johnston said pornography is a contributing factor in the cases of abused women and children and in the destruction of families. "We know that this literature feeds actions that we don't want to happen," he said. "Their best customers will be our worst enemies, and we don't need that."

Jordan Montgomery, a 2005 Newport High School graduate, addressed the issue of potential harm to young people. Like alcohol and tobacco, pornography is an addiction, he said, and the presence of this type of store in Newport not only detracts from the natural beauty of the coastal community, it increases the chance for long-term harm to the area's youth.

After hearing the concerns raised at Monday's meeting, Mayor Bill Bain said the council had anticipated opposition to the proposed business and had asked Newport Community Development Director James Bassingthwaite and Newport City Attorney Chris Minor for information on this issue.

Bassingthwaite said the application the city received from Tyree does not require any type of public hearing prior to approval. Book stores and video stores are permitted uses in that C-1 "retail and service commercial" zone, he said.

Minor addressed the matter from a legal standpoint, saying that although city officials certainly respect the opponents' feelings on the subject, sometimes the city council is limited in what it can do.

"The fact is, we live in a structure of laws," Minor said. "We may not always agree with those laws, but they're out there." He said the Oregon Supreme Court has taken a very liberal stand on freedom of speech issues, and it recently struck down an ordinance that had been passed in the City of Nyssa, which required nude dancers to remain at least four feet from the audience. The court found this restriction violated the dancers' free expression guarantees in the state constitution, said Minor.

Minor further stated the city's business license ordinance "is not a system where we decide who's good, who's bad ... something where we can pass judgement. It's essentially a tax."

In light of the city's inability to restrict this type of business, Minor said, "I'm not trying to tell you what to do, but one thing that's been effective is picketing outside ... taking pictures of customers." If people are discouraged from patronizing an establishment, it makes it difficult to stay in business. "If it doesn't make money, it's not going to continue," he said.

An audience member asked about the legality of these forms of protest, to which Newport Police Chief Mark Miranda said, "As long as they're on public property, like a sidewalk, it's fine."

Newport City Councilor Larry Henson added that just as the business owner has the right to operate an adult video store, "you also have the right to use your freedom of speech."

Smith asked the city council about the possibility of creating a specific zone for this type of business, in an effort to regulate where it can or cannot be located.

Minor said, "It's difficult to make that kind of thing pass constitutional muster." And even if it could be approved, he said, "any change in zoning is a long process. It's not something that could be done rapidly enough to deal with this particular situation."

Bain told those in attendance at Monday's meeting that "we appreciate your input, (and) I think we all share your concerns."

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Porn Studies > Porn in the News

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