By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
Porter’s Pub has closed, at least for now, as the current owner looks for a new buyer.
Rumors started circulating around town last weekend since the longtime brewpub at 4820 River Road North hadn’t been open since late last week.
The talk amped up Monday evening when city councilor Marlene Quinn posted the following on her Facebook page: “It is sad that another business has closed on River Road. We need to support our small businesses. We need to keep River Road alive.”
When asked what the business was, Quinn responded: “Porter’s is closing.”
By Tuesday, the news was the talk of the town. Councilor Dennis Koho made mention of the news near the end of Tuesday’s Keizer City Council meeting.
“I understand Porter’s is closed,” Koho said, leading mayor Lore Christopher to frantically give the cut sign. “Well, I think it’s public at this point.”
David Thomas, who bought Porter’s Pub in July 2012, posted on his Facebook page Jan. 17 that Porter’s Pub would be open again the following day at 3 p.m. That prompted several messages of confusion. When the restaurant did not reopen that day, one person posted a question on Porter’s Facebook page: “Closed?” That post was deleted Tuesday morning.
Nikki Palacios, who had been serving as manager of Porter’s, wasn’t sure of the long-term future Wednesday morning.
“Right now we’re closed,” Palacios said. “I’m not sure on the details of what the owner is going to do. It’s a temporary closure for now. Dave hasn’t indicated future plans. They are still up in the air.”
Palacios said the adjacent Dave’s Famous Donuts, which opened this month, would reopen “as soon as possible,” but she had no further details.
When the Keizertimes stopped by twice on Tuesday morning, both businesses were closed and a newspaper was by the main door of Porter’s.
After several attempts to reach Thomas, he sent a short e-mail to the Keizertimes Wednesday morning.
“Porter’s is up for sale,” Thomas wrote. “I have two interested parties that I’m working with. That’s it for now.”
Don Porter opened Porter’s Pub in 1993 before passing away in May 2005. His daughter Vicki owned it next. After another owner, Thomas took over in 2012.
The uncertainty over Porter’s future comes on the heels of news Ace Hardware is closing its River Road location at the end of this month. That’s in addition to Roth’s closing its grocery store at Chemawa and River Road in the spring of 2012.
“We need to bring businesses back to River Road,” Quinn said in a Tuesday interview. “It’s really concerning to me. One of my goals when I came onto council (last year) was to revive River Road. Keizer Station is growing, but River Road is closing.
“That push needs to come from us on the council, from the Keizer Chamber of Commerce and from SEDCOR (Strategic Economic Development Corporation),” she added. “We pay SEDCOR money. What are they doing for Keizer? Those are prime pieces of property sitting empty. It’s very sad to me.”
Quinn emphasized she hadn’t heard directly from Thomas.
“The other day they posted temporary hours of 3 to 7 (p.m.),” she said. “Now they haven’t opened since. They lost their lottery machines a few months ago. I’m assuming they are closing. It’s irritating with Ace and now Porter’s.”