In the latest update on the long-simmering debate over large events — think music concerts and Faerieworlds — at Lane County Parks, the County Commission has voted to approve all the recommendations of the Large Events Task Force. You can see the members of the task force and other information at the county website here. The full press release is below.
Board of Commissioners Approve All Recommendations of Large Events Task Force
Today, the Lane County Board of Commissioners voted to support all recommendations of the Large Events Task Force, which has spent the last year working to create guidelines for hosting large events of 1,000 or more attendees in Lane County parks.
“The work done by the Large Events Task Force is outstanding,” said Commissioner Faye Stewart. “These folks have taken on an issue that so many felt passionately about, listened to the feedback and created a set of recommendations meant to serve our community well now and into the future.”
The approved recommendations include guidelines for hosting events in Lane County’s Howard Buford Recreation Area – an aspect of the task force’s work that received much public interest and input.
John Helmer, chair of the Large Events Task Force, presented the recommendations and prefaced them by sharing some of the guiding principles used by the task force. “Appropriateness was a big area of consideration. A lot of what we’re talking about is what is appropriate in County parks,” said Helmer. He also listed safety as a “preeminent” principle in creating the recommendations while also balancing the particular setting, access and development level of each park.
“The majority vote [of the Parks Advisory Committee] was to endorse the Large Events Task Force recommendation as written,” said chairwoman of the County’s Parks Advisory Committee (PAC), Pat Hoover, during the public comment period. “The PAC is joining the County administrator, the Public Works director and the Parks division manager in wanting to have this report approved as written.”
Some of the key approved recommendations include:
· The purpose of a proposed large event must be compatible with the spirit of, and all specific provisions contained within any deed, lease, master plan or other approved guidance documents applicable to a given park.
· Prohibit the use of amplified sound, i.e., sound that is amplified electronically or by any other means, e.g., megaphones, air horns or explosive devices, between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
· An impact assessment tool should be used to determine impacts from proposed events on the two environmental resources in each proposed park (strategy habitats and rare species). Habitat connectivity also should be considered.
· Limit camping to parks with developed campgrounds in order to manage the impacts that camping associated with large events may have on parks, other park users and adjacent neighborhoods. (The one recognized exception to this policy is the arrangement between Lane County and the City of Veneta which allows camping at Zumwalt Park during the Country Fair.)
· Create an event review and oversight group that includes stakeholders to review applications for large events to ensure they adhere to the recommendations and Parks policies.
The approved recommendations include specific considerations for the Howard Buford Recreation Area:
· Limit the frequency of large events to a maximum of four large events per year, with no more than two large events in any one calendar quarter.
· Large events should be limited to those with a primarily educational or nature-based theme.
· Limit the duration of large events to no more than 10 hours per day, between sunrise and 7:00 p.m.