Sheriff says he’s watching Willamette fest numbers

Audrey Caro Gomez

The Willamette Country Music Festival will pay the Linn County Sheriff’s Office $60,241 to provide law enforcement services during this year’s festival, which will be held Aug. 11 -14.

Last year’s contract was about $54,000, said Sheriff Bruce Riley who sought approval from the Linn County Board of Commissioners on July 19 for this year’s agreement.

The amount will cover labor, overhead and overtime, Riley said.

After discussion of some other agenda items, Commissioner Roger Nyquist asked for more information about the agreement.

“I’m particularly interested in making sure that what we’re doing – they pay their fair share for that footprint they’re creating because they’ve become a standing annual event,” Nyquist said. “Our fee and tax structure is not set up to charge them basically anything other than this contract for what they do.”

Riley said there are a couple of things LCSO is watching closely.

“The amount of folks that are allowed out there,” Riley said. “That’s something we’re watching real close and the other thing is, you know, I’ve been involved with this event from the very first one.”

He said during the second or third year, they had “some serious discussions internally about what to do with that event as far as being out there in a proactive manner or just backing off and responding to calls.”

Because the venue is for-profit, and they will be called, it was incumbent upon the Sheriff’s Office to contract with the music festival.

LCSO deputies can “be out there in a visible, proactive way and criminal cases that arise at the same time, they should not be paid for at the taxpayers’ expense,” Riley said. “So we’re watching those numbers closely.”

The board of commissioners also approved an intergovernmental agreement between LCSO and the Sweet Home Municipal Court. The agreement allows the Linn County Jail to video conference with with the Sweet Home Municipal Court for arraigning inmates in that court.

“We are going to do some video arraignments for those folks, twice a month,” Riley said. “That’s what we’re going to start out as, so it’s no cost, it’s just a convenience for them and (saves on) manpower, not having to transport their prisoners to our jail for court for arraignment.”

The Linn County Board of Commissioners meets Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 9:30 a.m. in room 200 at the Linn County Court House, 300 SW 4th Ave., Albany.