- Associated Press - Friday, October 31, 2014

UMATILLA, Ore. (AP) - The owner of an Eastern Oregon stripper bar is crosswise with the city government again, this time over a wooden fence he put up to so the dancers could leave the building without provoking complaints from passers-by about what he calls “scantily clad women.”

The Honey Bunnz Hideout has been at the center of contention since the summer when it opened as the third stripper business on the main drag of Umatilla, population 7,000.

One city board member resigned in protest after saying he had no choice under the law but to vote for a permit.

In September the City Council imposed a 120-day moratorium on new adult businesses while it tries to sort out its rules on them. The American Civil Liberties union called the moratorium a violation of the state constitution.

Honey Bunnz owner Steve Bunn was before the Planning Commission this week to answer complaints about the fence, where the name of the bar has been painted in hot pink, the East Oregonian (https://bit.ly/1u1zpDP) reported.

Members of the board said the fence obscures one of the historical murals on the building walls, and Bunn had promised to maintain them when he opened the club.

“When we agreed the murals on both sides of the building would be maintained, I assumed that meant they would be visible,” commission Chairman Boyd Sharp said.

Bunn said he was trying to forestall complaints he assumed he would get about dancers leaving the building.

As for the pink sign, it’s really itself a mural and not a sign as defined by city codes, Bunn argued, because it doesn’t include the words “gentleman’s club” to indicate what sort of business is inside.

Since the city has declined to give him a sign permit while it rewrites that part of the code, he said, “I have to promote my business in some way, shape or form.”

The upshot of the objections: Sharp told Bunn he’s helping to improve the city by spurring a rewrite of the sign rules, and Bunn said he’d work with city officials to see whether there’s a way to make the historical mural visible again.

“I’ll see what I can do,” he said.

___

Information from: East Oregonian, https://www.eastoregonian.info

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