Capitol Update Series
In August 2017, hordes of stargazers inundated Central Oregon to watch the total eclipse, but the experience left those living in the region less than happy.
To better control such an event, the Oregon Legislature is considering House Bill 2790, which would let counties require permits for outdoor mass gatherings.
Senator Cliff Bentz, an Ontario Republican, supports the measure after experiencing what happened during the eclipse, according to the Beaverton Valley Times.
“One of the results was tens of thousands of people from the Willamette Valley flooding into the previously pristine lands of Eastern Oregon, wreaking havoc and worse,” Bentz said on the Senate floor. “This bill is an attempt to give the counties the authority to manage these gatherings better and collect adequate permitting fees.”
Salem Democrat Rep. Brian Clem sponsored the outdoor festival permit bill, which the Legislature passed and sent to the governor. Under the bill, organizers of music festivals and other large outdoor events must obtain a conditional use permit from the county first. That gives local regulators the opportunity to review the effect of such an event on neighbors and traffic and the need for water, fire, and safety resources.