Tattoo shop owner gives up pub plan

A downtown tattoo shop owner has abandoned plans to open a pub at the former Shenanigan's bar because of opposition from Medford police Chief Tim George.

"A 'no' from him — why bother," said Jeff Rahenkamp, owner of Phat Kat Tattoo and the former Pub Ink.

The City Council on Thursday night decided to forward a letter to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission recommending denial of Rahenkamp's liquor license application for 17 and 25 South Riverside Drive, the former Shenanigan's buildings.

Police Chief Tim George cited Rahenkamp's previous conviction for theft and nine citations for painting the former Shenanigan's building without receiving approval.

He also provided a letter from Rahenkamp's former landlord who said he left Pub Ink on Main Street with broken toilets, broken mirrors, a broken window, a ruined $6,000 floor and other problems.

George said the council needs to consider Rahenkamp's "poor reputation and poor character."

He said Shenanigan's had a "horrible reputation" that created a difficult situation for police enforcement. The Shenanigan's multibar operation drew huge crowds but went belly up after it ran afoul of the OLCC for a series of violations.

Rahenkamp apologized to councilors for earlier remarks in the Mail Tribune in which he referred to them as "morons."

"Again, I apologize for my comments," he said. "I was angry."

He said he didn't see any point in continuing with the liquor license application if the police chief wouldn't endorse the idea.

"I've seen what the city will do to you when they don't want you," he said.

Alice McGee, his former landlord, told the council that Rahenkamp still owes her for back utilities and cited a long list of problems she had with him as a tenant at Pub Ink.

"He vacated my building without notification," she said.

McGee urged the council to "strongly oppose" Rahenkamp's liquor license application.

Councilor Chris Corcoran supported Rahenkamp's license application in 2012 for Pub Ink despite opposition from other councilors, including Karen Blair.

"I pooh-poohed that at the time, but I was wrong, and she was right," Corcoran said.

The councilors also discovered that a complaint had been received over Rahenkamp's dark gray paint color on the Phat Kat Tattoo shop in October 2012. He finally received approval from the city for the color in December 2012, but the building exterior hasn't been completed.

Rahenkamp said he didn't have the money to finish the exterior.

Corcoran said, "I would have taken care of the building I was in prior to investing in the tavern."

Councilor John Michaels said he wanted to know if the statue on the top of the Phat Kat Tattoo shop was part of the plans submitted to the city for the renovation.

Planning Director Jim Huber said it wasn't part of the plans.

Councilor Bob Strosser said Rahenkamp appears to have an inability to work within the constraints required of a business operating in the downtown.

"There's always a reason — there's always an excuse," he said.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or email

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