Oregon county tries to block 3-day music festival

Authorities in Lane County are seeking a court order to block a three-day electronic dance music festival at a rural site, arguing that the event doesn’t have the necessary permits.
The Eugene Register-Guard reported (http://bit.ly/pO62Du) the county commission voted Thursday to ask a judge to halt the 11th annual Where Life Begins festival set to begin Friday night near the Coast Range town Blachly.

Organizers didn’t get county approval to hold the festival on land zoned for farm use, and county officials said this week they’re worried about public health, safety and fire risks.
Online festival promotions remained up Friday. A recording urged festivalgoers to park their cars and walk in if the roads are blocked. Email messages sent Friday through the festival’s website weren’t immediately returned.

“We need to stand up for our rights and party like we’re meant to party,” said a recorded message on a festival information telephone line.

Out of concern for keeping tensions low, sheriff’s deputies won’t try to remove those who make it to the festival grounds, Capt. Bill Thompson said. But he said that even 1,000 people showing up would be a challenge to manage.

“We’re not going to move in there and try and remove 1,000 people off the property,” Thompson said. “(But) if something bad happens, we’re going to take whatever action is appropriate to deal with it.”

County officials said the 2010 festival on the property was attended by 3,000 to 4,000 people, and there was inadequate security and too much traffic.

One woman fell and suffered a bad cut on her leg, a man who resisted arrest was hit with a stun gun shot and undercover officers reported drug use, Thompson said.

The paper said the concert organizer Russell Gorman paid a $5,000 fine for holding the event last year without permits and said he told the county commission Thursday he wanted to hold attendance under 3,000 people this year.

“Your 12 years of experience don’t give me a lot of confidence,” said Commissioner Jay Bozievich, whose district includes the Blachly area. “We just can’t have people do things without permits in this county. What do I tell the neighbors who are all objecting to this?”


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