Parking lot dine-in at restaurant that defied Gov. Brown’s order

Clackamas County

Customers flocked to the establishment with folding chairs to eat outside

CANBY, Ore. (KOIN) — One week after police shut down a restaurant in Canby for violating Governor Kate Brown’s executive order, dozens of customers flocked to the establishment with folding chairs to eat outside in a show of support.

Absent from the festivities, though, was one of the highest profile supporters. Friday, Oregon City Mayor Dan Holladay posted on Facebook asking people to join him for breakfast the following morning at Pappy’s Greasy Spoon. “Bring your own table and chairs,” he wrote. As of 10 a.m. Saturday, Holladay had not been spotted in the parking lot.

Debbie Goudima was one of the earlier customers Saturday, eating from a takeout container while sitting on the ground. She said she had not been getting takeout from Pappy’s during the stay-at-home order, but after hearing owner and chef Michael Merrill tried to open for dine-in service and was subsequently shut down, she decided it was time to show some support.

“Just trying to give some business and let him know that we’re supporting him still even though you can’t go in and eat,” Goudima said.

On May 2, Canby police officers were sent to Pappy’s Greasy Spoon after being told the restaurant may be open and serving customers inside, according to a police report. When they arrived, officers said they saw 8-10 people sitting inside the restaurant eating out of to-go containers. One man jokingly asked the officers to let them finish their meals before shutting the place down, according to the report.

At the time, Merrill allegedly told officers he figured it would be a matter of time before he saw them. He said he knew he was violating the stay at home order, but that takeout orders were not cutting it and “he has bills to pay,” according to the report.

Merrill received much sympathy on social media in the following days, which led to Saturday’s parking lot “dine-in.” Customers could order by phone or at the counter inside (though a sign at the door asked that only six people enter the restaurant at a time to order). Then they took their to-go boxes outside and sat down to eat.

When asked if she faults Merrill at all for trying to reopen the previous weekend Goudima said, “Absolutely not. It’s time. We need to get moving, we need to get our economy back on track. I think it’s been long enough. I think we’ve flattened the curve.”

Also among the diners Saturday was Kristopher Foster, who said he used to participate in right-wing protests in Portland. Foster claims he isn’t affiliated with those groups anymore, but wanted to dine outside Pappy’s to “stick it” to the government.

One of the larger groups eating in the parking lot had more than a dozen people, including a Canby city councilor. However, group members declined to comment on why they were there.

Governor Kate Brown says rural counties with very few cases who meet the prerequisites can enter Phase I beginning May 15, which includes the possibility of restaurants opening with 6-foot distancing required. Clackamas County has not yet applied to reopen, which means there’s no light at the end of the tunnel yet for Pappy’s.

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