After a lengthy pandemic closure, Portland Tub and Tan has reopened its location at 8028 SE Stark Street. The businesses owner, John Captain, struggled for months to resolve issues with Multnomah County fees and other taxes incurred during his forced closure that prevented his opening. However, last Friday, Tub and Tan returned with a limited schedule and will remain open until November 2022 before closing permanently.
With 25 years in business, Portland Tub and Tan has seen its fair share of ups and downs. However, the COVID-19 closures were unique in their disruption and length of impact on this small businesses. In 2020 pools and spas were only allowed to operate for a few months. That included the first months of 2020 and then during the end of summer through the beginning of fall. Officials kept indoor pools and spas closed during much of 2021 but did allow outdoor operators to open.
Captain argued that Multnomah County should have credited health permit fees from 2020 and 2021 that he could not use during the closure. Kate Yeiser, a representative for Multnomah County, explained that they had little flexibility to adjust the fee structure. “Unfortunately, pools and spas are not given credit for months that they closed in 2020. This is a State program that the county is simply operating. So the decision would have to be made by the Governor’s office on whether credits can be applied for months closed in 2020 or 2021.”
Without income, Portland Tub and Tan had a nearly insurmountable deficit to overcome in order to reopen. Mounting taxes and operational fees compounded over the years. John Captain said he had hoped that as a Native American, his business would receive financial support from assistance programs intended for Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) establishments. However, that money did not materialize for him, and he ultimately had to pay for his taxes and the 2022 heath inspection license.
Portland Tub and Tan is open five days a week from Wednesday through Sunday. They open at 4 p.m. and begin the last hour-long session at 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights have extended hours, with the final session beginning at 1 a.m. Tubbing for up to two people costs $70, with an additional $20 per person fee beyond that. Currently, customers should walk in to make use of the services offered. However, a prepaid reservation system will be available soon.
Until November, fans of Tub and Tan can once again make use of this recreation facility that has operated on Stark street for many years. After closing, John Captain plans to move out of Oregon. He feels that the cost of water, taxes, fees and rents are too high in this area to continue operation.