Jamboree plans get council OK

Sean C. Morgan

Of The New Era

The Sweet Home City Council last week approved a package of road and park closures, waivers and permits for the 2019 Oregon Jamboree.

Among the items on the list is the closure of Sankey Park to the public from 6 a.m. Monday, July 29 through 10 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 6.

During the council’s regular meeting on June 25, Councilor Diane Gerson asked why the park needed to be closed through Tuesday following the festival, which runs from Friday, Aug. 2, to Sunday, Aug. 4.

Jamboree Festival Director Robert Shamek told the council that it’s for safety purposes, giving Jamboree personnel, vendors and contractors time to get equipment out of the park. The Jamboree has an extra stage to take down now.

Shamek said the park bandstand has rot in it, and he didn’t want artists performing on it. Last year, the Jamboree brought a stage to the park instead, and it will do so again this year. .

He said volunteer camping will continue through Monday morning at Northside Park, which remains open to the public during the event, to allow volunteers to continue helping clean up after the festival.

The approval includes the closure of 14th Avenue from Kalmia Street to Grape Street; partial closure of 18th Avenue, from Long Street to Mountain View Road, with disabled parking between Long Street and the concert grounds and no parking on Ames Creek between Grape Street and Mountain View Road.

Councilors approved a temporary Oregon Liquor Control Commission sales license application, permission to use city property for beer gardens, permission to allow semi-truck and equipment storage at the Public Works yard on 24th Avenue, permission to use Northside Park for camping, a waiver of the city’s transient merchant license, a waiver of the $50 event fee and a waiver of water service, equipment and some employee service fees.

The Jamboree received a public address system permit for the Main Stage; Sankey Park; and for an Aug. 1 kickoff party on 18th Avenue.

As part of the package, the council agreed to provide general assistance from the city.

The Police Department will maintain staffing during the event, with officers on foot and in vehicles covering the Jamboree grounds and nearby campgrounds, said Police Chief Jeff Lynn. The Jamboree also will continue to augment police staffing, using certified private security personnel.

Sweet Home police receive additional assistance from the Linn County Sheriff’s Office, Lebanon Police Department and Oregon State Police.

The Jamboree has 23 campgrounds, with roughly 2,100 camp sites, within and around the Sweet Home city limits, Lynn said. Daily attendance is expected to range from 14,000 to 16,000.

The Jamboree reimburses the Police Department for costs associated with personnel assigned to the interior of the festival, Lynn said, and the Jamboree also pays transient occupancy taxes.

The property fee waivers total $1,600. Last year, the city waived $172.92 worth of water service charges.

City officials calculated a total cost of $3,740 for 2018 after receiving $7,661 in reimbursement from the Jamboree for equipment and personnel.

In 2018, the estimated cost to the city, including waivers, was $8,869.92. The city received $8,307 in transient occupancy taxes.

Headlining this year’s Oregon Jamboree are Hank Williams Jr., Chris Young and Brothers Osborne. Jamboree veteran and fan favorite Neal McCoy returns.

Shamek is optimistic about the festival’s performance this year.

“To date, we’ve sold as many tickets as we did the entire year last year,” he told The New Era. That was as of the end of June, and July is the largest month of the year for ticket sales.

“I think we’ll be up, as far as patrons on the field, by 20 percent,” Shamek said, estimating about 16,000 patrons per day – about the same as 2014, when the Jamboree headliners were Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton and Jake Owen.

After moving the tennis courts in 2009 from the main high school athletic field to their current location just north of the bus barn, and then moving the main stage farther east, the grounds now could handle as many as 18,500 patrons, Shamek said.

Things are going well for the Jamboree right now, he said, and “I already have some amazing confirmations for 2020.”

He said the Jamboree intends to make an “awesome announcement” on Friday of the event.

The three-day camping and country music festival was created in 1992 by the Sweet Home Economic Development Group as a tool to raise money for economic development projects following the listing of the northern spotted owl as an endangered species and its impact on logging around Sweet Home.

For more information, visit oregonjamboree.com or call (541) 367-8800.

Present at the council meeting were Cortney Nash, Susan Coleman, Lisa Gourley, Mayor Greg Mahler, Gerson, James Goble and Dave Trask.