BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilors have agreed to limit the number of temporary permits a business can request, to host events that take capacity beyond what’s normally allowed in their building. The resolution caps them at three per year, per venue.
At Wednesday night's public hearing, Mayor Casey Roats tried to put rumors to rest. He told the large crowd gathered for the meeting, "I just want to make sure we state emphatically, this is not an assault on culture or music. This is a fairly technical issue around building codes and safety."
Councilor Bruce Abernethy voted in favor. He says it’s not about the future of the city’s outdoor music scene, but growth and a shortage of venues large enough to safely host big events. "This is a safety issue, not necessarily a noise issue. And, I think there’s a lot of hype that’s been talked about. At least from my perspective, I don’t see the Council harming, or seeking to harm, the direction we’re going as a cultural vibrant community."
More than 20 people spoke during the hearing; most, like Jacob Woodmansee, were opposed to new limits, "If safety is such a large issue, then why do we even allow it at all? Why three times a year it’s ok to be unsafe? That means you’re saying, three times a year, you can put us all at risk. No. I say, if these people can handle their events, let them handle their events."
The resolution passed in a four to three vote, with Councilors Russell, Boddie and Campbell opposed.
Photo: Bend's Century Center hosts a number of large music events. The venue is likely to be one of the most impacted by the new resolution.