Alcohol sellers no fans of interim IDs


Oregon's new system of issuing interim driver's licenses is proving a hassle to businesses that sell alcohol to people in their 20s.

Owners and managers at some businesses say the paper certificates seem easy to forge. Fearful of a heavy fine for selling alcohol to minors, they require customers with an interim ID to provide a second form of identification, such as a passport.

"It really is a pain in the neck," said Gary Evans, manager of Clodfelter's restaurant near the Oregon State University campus. "It really isn't something we like to deal with."

The interim certificates are part of the state Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division's new system for issuing licenses.

People who need a new driver's license are no longer handed one before they leave the DMV. Instead, they get a paper certificate that they keep until their "official" license comes in the mail a few weeks later.

The state changed the system in an effort to crack down on identity theft. All the licenses are processed at a central location, where photos go through facial recognition software.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission says the interim licenses are a legal form of identification. But state law also allows places that sell alcohol to reject them.

"This is a question we're fielding all over the state," said Mike Fetterly, the state liquor commission inspector for Benton County. "A number of businesses we work with are not taking them."

The DMV claims the paper licenses are engineered to resist counterfeiting. But Debbie Jenkins, owner of the Washington Street Liquor Store in Corvallis, isn't convinced.

"We have to take some other ID," she said. "They're just too easy to make on a computer."

And Fetterly says the printing on the interim certificates often wears away after just a few days in a wallet.

"There's no protection, no laminate," he said. "It deteriorates rather quickly."

The paper licenses also don't work in the age verification equipment in place at some liquor stores and bars. That equipment checks laminated cards by having workers swipe licenses through something like a credit card reader. The paper licenses have a bar code on them, but won't swipe through. The OLCC said businesses using the verification gear are updating equipment to accommodate the interim licenses.

"It's been a burden on our folks, but it's something we'll have to learn to deal with," Fetterly said.

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