Yam Yam’s crack dealer sentenced; restaurant to be sold?

A few weeks after James Yoakum was sentenced to thirteen years in prison for dealing cocaine out of Yam Yam’s Southern Barbeque, the restaurant is up for a foreclosure auction.

Yam Yam’s owner Larry Matthews told the Portland Observer he’s found a way to keep the restaurant open, however:

Matthews, who has owned Yam Yam’s for 13 years, said that business tanked after the story broke in October, and had to lay off all of his employees and run the restaurant by himself. The drop in customers caused him to fall behind on payments, he claimed, but has worked out something with his lender and will keep the eatery open.

He also noted that his restaurant has been community oriented, helping out with fundraisers for high schools and other organizations, giving ex-cons a second chance with a job, and providing food at the annual Juneteenth celebration- an event that commemorates the abolition of slavery in the U.S.

“I’ve never been a thorn in the community,” he said.

Matthews denied to the Observer that he knew that Yoakum sold drugs out of the restaurant, despite what the government found at the restaurant:

In September, law enforcement agents raided Yam Yam’s and discovered $60,000 cash in a safe, which investigators claimed came from laundering drug money.

“Why am I not in jail?” said Mathews, who has not been indicted. “Why not arrest me if you can prove these allegations that you are bringing up against me?”

Yoakum, who cooked at Yam Yam’s, also had another hobby that caught the court’s attention during his trial, according to the Oregonian:

Judge Jones said he was glad Yoakum stepped up and pleaded guilty, but chided him for his lack of responsibility in fathering 24 children with multiple women, without any means of support. “That’s the height of irresponsibility,” Jones said, verifying in court Monday that Yoakum has fathered 24 children, ranging in age from 5-month-old twins to 38.

The auction of Yam Yam’s is scheduled for June 22, according to The Skanner News.

Yam Yam’s is at 7339 NE MLK:

You can see in that picture a pink Continental Mark V parked out front.  According to wikipedia,

The Mark V was tested by Germany’s car magazine “Auto, Motor und Sport” in 1977 and to this day (2005) holds the record as the least fuel efficient car ever tested by them, averaging no more than 7 mpg and giving only an (extrapolated) 3.5 mpg under full acceleration.

“From the rooter to the tooter” — check out this Yam Yam’s commercial, starring Matthews:


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