BEND, OR -- A downtown Bend concert venue will be forced to keep the noise down during most events, next year. A majority of the City Council agreed with the City Manager, this week, who denied six of seven requests by Crow’s Feet Commons for a variance, which would've allowed shows to reach 85 decibels, instead of 70.
Dan Baumann, with Crow’s Feet Commons, argued national events like the Subaru Winterfest, scheduled for Mid-March, will take place in 2019, because they're already booked. But he worries future events are in jeopardy, "Basically, if we’re not able to produce that show for them, they’re going to find somewhere else. We have the energy downtown, we have a community that supports the things that we do downtown, there are people who show up for all these shows."
Councilors appeared sympathetic but voted 5 to 2 to uphold the City manager’s denial of the variance. Nathan Boddie was one of two Councilors to side with Crows Feet Commons, "These are the things that make us Bend: It’s a ski town, it’s a mountain town, it’s a multi-faceted thing. But, if we’re going to say ‘Winterfest can’t be downtown,’ then we’re kind of saying Bend isn’t the town that we try to sell everybody; so it’s kind of ‘money where our mouth is'."
The variances were denied, in part, due to conflicting events scheduled at the neighboring Tower Theatre. Baumann says he tried to work with the Tower before booking his acts, "I was basically told ‘we plan events every weekend, even though they’re not on our books, initially.’ Which, makes us – if we don’t see them or have access to those records, how are we supposed to know what weekends are good, what weekends are bad?" Crow’s Feet Commons leases its space from the city. Baumann says hosting events is a condition of that lease agreement.