BEND, OR -- Organizers of the 4 Peaks Music Festival are asking Deschutes County to allow up to 3,000 people at its 2018 event. After nearly a decade in Tumalo, the event moved to Stevenson Ranch off Knott Road in Bend, this past summer. An estimated 2,600 people attended the event in June 2017.
During Monday's public hearing, several neighbors complained about what they said was a lack of security. Chuck Fisher, who’s property borders Stevenson Ranch, told County Commissioners, "The first day of this event, I trespassed through my neighbor’s property, climbed over the fence with a bright yellow banana jacket on – I’m 6’7”, 270 pounds; I’m hard to miss. I walked around that whole place for 30 minutes. It wasn’t quite full yet, I was quite visible. I could see clear to the bottom and back up to the top. I looked in people’s campers, I opened tents and looked in, I wandered through the whole area; I never had anybody ask me what I was doing." Bill, another neighbor, testified, like Bill – testified at yesterday’s (Mon) public hearing about what they called a lack of security at the June event. "My main concern is the safety. We had young children – 10, 12, 13-year olds, something like that – playing on piles of rocks on the border of our property, which is also barbed wire fence, very rusty barbed wire fence."
Others complained about traffic, dust, marijuana use and noise; although event organizers and county staff said there were no code violations at the 2017 event. Jeff Hinkel is site manager for the festival. He told Commissioners they’re trying to be good neighbors. "We have designated quieter camp locations in the northeast portion of the camp area that’s closest to the nearest neighbors. Our silent disco helps to reduce late-night activities in the general camping areas, by keeping the more energetic festival-goers quietly dancing with headphones in the main tent."
After more than an hour of testimony, County Commissioners agreed to keep the record open and hold off on a final decision. They'll accept written testimony through Wednesday; they're expected to vote on the Mass Gathering permit application next week.