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Harrisburg approves letter of support for Bi-Mart Willamette Country Music Festival

During the Harrisburg City Council meeting, residents voiced their opinions for, against, and for but in a different location, for the Willamette Country Music Festival.

Posted: Sep 11, 2018 11:32 PM
Updated: Sep 12, 2018 10:41 AM

HARRISBURG, Ore. -- The Harrisburg City Council has voted to send a letter of support to the Linn County Board of Commissioners to bring the Bi-Mart Willamette Country Music Festival to the Harrisburg area.

During the Harrisburg City Council meeting, residents voiced their opinions for, against, and for but in a different location, for the Willamette Country Music Festival.

For nearly two hours, residents, the Linn County Sheriff's Office and festival organizers discussed the issues and possible solutions to bring the music festival to the Harrisburg area.

Many residents voiced their favor of bringing the festival to the area, but had other concerns such as fire risks.

"If it gets beyond our place, it'll go up the mountain, into the timber, then private timber, and eventually BLM," one Harrisburg resident said. "It's a real fear that we live with."

Resident Cole Jones said others simply didn't want it in the proposed area.

"The people who live there don't want it there," Jones said. "That should be reason enough. They would be the ones who are most affected. They don't want it there. It's their home."

Harrisburg Softball coach Dave Hughes noted the benefits it would bring to the area, especially the schools.

"This festival helps these kids," Hughes said. "I went to Junction City, we worked the booths in the Scandy Fest. That gave us money for new jerseys, new helmets, stuff like that. That's what this is for."

However, a representative from the Linn County Sheriff's Office came to the meeting and stated that Sheriff Jim Yon will not sign his own letter of support for the festival coming to the proposed location just outside of Harrisburg, because of public safety concerns.

"The coverage provided at the festival pretty much gives us the inability to handle any other major incident or catastrophe throughout the county," said the Sheriff's Office representative.

When all was said and done, the council voted four to two in favor of sending a letter of support to the Linn County Board of commissioners with an amendment emphasizing public safety and security during the festival.

If Sheriff Yon does not sign off on his portion of the agreement for the festival, organizers could be forced to look for a new location for 2019.

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