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Strip club’s closure brings sighs of relief

Portland, Oregon- For 30 years, Jazz de Opus was a beloved neighborhood landmark and institution in the middle of rough-around-the-edges Old Town, known for its intricate stained glass windows, rich mahogany walls and warm atmosphere.

After the business went under last summer, Gus Samander turned the 3,500-square-foot space at the corner of Northwest Second Avenue and Couch Street into a short-lived tapas-style club he called Mixer’s Cafe.

Last December, he quit that venture and replaced it with his second Portland branch of Exotica International Club for Men, angering many Old Town business owners who said the strip club turned away their patrons and hurt the neighborhood’s revitalization efforts.

“We’d ask him to turn down the bump-and-grind music,” said Dianna Stapleton, co-owner of Second Story Bistro, directly above the Exotica spot.

“People would ask to switch tables,” added Karen Moore, also a co-owner. “They’d say, ‘We’d stay for dessert, but we can’t take that music.'”

Moore and others were relieved last week when they heard that their landlord and the owner of the historic building, Sam Pishue, had bought the remainder of Samander’s five-year lease after a monthslong mediation process.

Exotica officially moved out Wednesday, and the space is listed for sale.

Samander said he sold because “it’s not a very viable location. Basically, the landlord would prefer to do different venues there. We reached a reasonable financial settlement. We’d been attempting to sell that location for a while.” He continues to operate an Exotica club on Northeast Columbia Boulevard.


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