LINN COUNTY, Ore. -- Organizers for the Bi-Mart Willamette Country Music Festival are working to address safety issues as county leaders raise concerns.
Farmer Tony Langdon hopes his land east of Harrisburg off of Priceboro Road will become the new home of the country music festival. Langdon said he’s letting the festival use his land for free and says the festival will be great for the economy, jobs and schools.
“It's contributed over a million dollars to the local booster clubs,” Langdon said. “The kids come out and work, and they do things to earn that money.”
Linn County Commissioner Roger Nyquist said he has concerns about public health and safety. The application for the festival was submitted in July, but Nyquist said in his opinion, it's not complete.
“I have concerns about the potential of a catastrophic event,” Nyquist said. “For me with this event with as large as it's grown and as much alcohol as they serve, this is purely a health safety and welfare issue.”
Linn County Sheriff Jim Yon also has concerns about the festival. He's not signing a letter of support citing public safety issues.
“This year there were more impaired people than I've ever seen than the entire time I have been out there,” Yon said. “It really pushed my office to the limit of what we can handle.”
Langdon said festival organizers are willing to bring in law enforcement from outside of Linn County to help and said they're working to address other concerns as well.
“We're working very hard to make sure that the board of commissioners has everything that they need,” Langdon said. “The production company has been doing this for 11 years, and they know exactly what they need.”
Nyquist said the commissioners have up to 150 days to deny or accept the application. He said they are giving the organizers time to complete the application and address the issues. A decision could come by late November or early December.