May 15, 1996
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS' PUBLIC HEARING
Harris Hall Main Floor - 7:00 p.m.
Chair Bobby Green, Sr. presided with Steve Cornacchia (arrived 7:26 p.m.), Ellie Dumdi and Jerry Rust (via telephone) present. Cindy Weeldreyer excused. Zoanne Gilstrap, Recording Secretary.
PUBLIC HEARING AND ORDER 96-5-15-12/In the Matter of the Application of Field Trip Productions to Hold an Outdoor Mass Gathering as Defined in ORS 433.735(1).
Green read the pertinent sections of the statute.
Van Vactor gave a brief introduction. He stated that the state statute provides for mass gatherings and that Lane County has a duty to process the applications and issue the permit if the applicant meets the required conditions. Van Vactor briefly explained the format for processing these applications.
Teresa Wilson, County Counsel, stated that one of the conditions was a posting of a surety bond. She stated that the State Legislation upon which that requirement had been premised, had been changed. Wilson indicated that due to that change, she recommended that, rather than use a surety bond, to now require that the organizers obtain an insurance policy in an amount commensurate with the risk but not exceeding a million dollars, with the County named as an additional insured. She explained that the current language of the statute allowed them to impose that requirement if the gathering creates a potential for injury to person or property. Wilson explained that this was much better protection for the organizers, for the County and for the members of the public who might suffer injury at the gathering because the insurance policy will be more responsive to those claims for injury than a surety bond.
Van Vactor noted that the statute also authorized a fee that would be capped at $5,000 for the County's reasonable and necessary costs. He said the County does put in an immense amount of staff time and said he believed some fee was appropriate. He said the applicant also has the right to ask the County to waive that fee in the event that they believe that they are unable to reimburse the County.
Petrasek stated that the statute requires that referrals be sent to the county sheriff, the county medical office and to the fire marshall in the area where the mass gathering is to be held. He said they also sent referrals to several other agencies in and around the Veneta area. Petrasek confirmed that they did receive responses from the three statutory requirements and have considered those in writing the permit requirements. He explained that the permit requirements could be changed by the Board if they see that any of the conditions do not meet the statute.
Van Vactor asked about official responses from statutory parties and whether they indicated an ability through their planning to meet public safety issues raised under the statute.
Petrasek replied that they did not.
Green opened the public hearing.
John English, 1620 I Street, Springfield, Oregon, stated that one million dollars was inadequate as far as a personal injury is concerned. He did not believe the state polices responses to questions were as affirmative as the applicant indicated and said that it is a momentous task for the police. English reported that the community was tired of drugs and commented that everyone knew about the drug use at Grateful Dead concerts. He stressed that he does not understand how elected officials who represent the public in carrying out the law can vote to permit breaking the law. He further voiced his concern about children learning to mimic the action of adults.
Chuck Hodge, 30 T Street, Springfield, stated that he would like there to be a two-week period where people can have an opportunity to see what is actually put forth in the plan. He would like a comment period to see what the actual security will be at the event before the Sheriff must rule on it. Hodge stated he would like to see July 1 as the date the plan must be in form but would accept the 8th. He also stated his belief in a requirement for an insurance policy in the amount of one million dollars. In addition, Hodge commented that after reading the letter from Sergeant Miller, Oregon State Troopers, he was concerned about the ability to respond to other crimes away from this area during this event . Hodge also stated that after reading through the report prepared by the Sheriff, it was his opinion there were not enough man hours listed for uniform professional officers at this gathering. He noted that he does have an appointment with the Sheriff to talk about this issue.
Petrasek responded to Mr. Hodge's request for a comment period by saying that he has already suggested July 8.
Kit Kesey, 29440 Airport Road, Eugene, stated that he is the applicant for the permit and displayed an aerial photo of the proposed site, showing the different areas and their uses. He explained that it is on the Country Fair site, west of Veneta. He said he has also leased additional property that adjoins to the west for additional land for the gathering. Kesey explained that the public will be allowed on site no earlier than noon, Friday, July 26, and the public will be off-site by noon, Monday, July 29. He further explained that single day ticket sales will not exceed 25,0000 people and that at least 3,000 persons will stay on site for 24 consecutive hours during the gathering.
Van Vactor asked Kesey if he objected to a fee for reasonable County costs or did he request that the County waive that fee.
Kesey responded that he is not requesting a waiver and said he is happy to reimburse County staff for time spent.
Green closed the public hearing.
Rust stated that under the constitution and state statute, there is a freedom of assembly and a freedom of expression. He believed their main job was to make sure that the County's professional staff covered the water, sanitation, traffic and public safety issues and, if the terms of this statute are met, he is in favor of granting this permit.
Green asked for a representative from the Sheriff's office to speak about crowd control and to address Mr. English with regard to his issue of the prevalent drug use and what they do about the drug use.
Sergeant McMullen, Sheriff's Office, stated that if an officer sees a transaction of sales of narcotics or the possession of a narcotic, he would expect them to take action.
Green asked when there is a question of whether or not the vender has a license or is selling licensed food, how they would respond.
McMullen stated that they probably would not deal with licensing violations at the event. He reported that they would get names and handle those violations after the event. McMullen stated that he has personally dealt with Mr. Kesey in the past and during that period of time, they have come up with a successful operational plan for managing these types of events. He believed that this event is going to be easier because of the on-site camping.
Petrasek stated that regarding food booths, he will require the applicant to include language in the security plan stating that the security provided by the applicant will remove any person that does not have a license.
Dumdi asked McMullen about the private security for internal operation and if he believed the number of officers he has listed will be sufficient to handle the outside crowd.
McMullen stated that he believed so. He also said there is going to be a contract with the State of Oregon to operate the light at 126 and Territorial and is asking for a requirement that only allows entry at the Maple gate which is on the 126 side, allowing them to funnel all the traffic in to a central location. He said he has had very good success with private security in these types of events.
Wilson summarized by stating that the surety bond will change to an insurance provision, that the condition for submittal of the security plan will be changed to July 8 and reasonable and necessary costs will be reimbursed up to $5,000. Wilson read the proposed language for the record.
Dumdi stated that she has heard Mr. English's message, is also very concerned about the same issues, and hopes that Mr. Kesey will keep these uppermost in his mind and confer with the performers to keep things under control as much as possible.
MOTION: Approval of the Order with the recommended changes. Cornacchia MOVED, Dumdi SECONDED. VOTE: 4-0.
There being no further business, this meeting adjourned at 8:48 p.m.
Zoanne Gilstrap, Board Secretary
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