We're felons for life. Lucky for us, we're not still incarcerated. We're the sole victims of the crimes we committed, and what we did to ourselves was so bad we had to be locked up. We grew our own pot. Marijuana is illegal in Oregon. We don't like it that way and are trying to educate and empower you to do something to change the laws. That's why we worked so hard in 1995, 1996 and this year to bring you the Portland Hemp Festivals.
We're nice, likable folks who win awards for our achievements. Jeff and Siouxsie Crawford own Modern Media Productions and produce Bohemia Afterdark, the television rock show which received Billboard Magazine's Best Alternative/Modern Rock Local/Regional Show of the Year for 1994 and 1996. Barry Joe Stull is a hemp history expert and an accomplished musician. In addition to winning awards for song and lyric writing, he has seen material from his research used by the authors of four books and High Times magazine. Stull was recognized by Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber as a Student Scholar in 1996, representing Portland Community College. Awarded a Dean Scholarship from Lewis & Clark College, he is now a Pre-Law/Music major there.
We also know that cannabis, whether as marijuana or hemp, should be available as a source of foods, fuels, fibers, papers, plastics, oils, medicines, and for the spiritual uses that draw so many people to grow and use it. We know this in spite of more of 60 years of government efforts to drive this species into extinction. There's nothing like feeling the handcuffs click closed on you to drive home the fact that not every one sees things the way we do. Least of all the Portland Police Bureau, especially the ones that have stretched their legal authority to the breaking point in the effort to squelch us.
In May 1995, Jeff Crawford was facing his incarceration. He had been convicted on drug charges after Multnomah County District Judge Stephen Gallagher ruled that Portland Police Officer Robert Hollins was a more credible witness than Siouxsie Crawford. Hollins had testified Souxsie had consented to have the house she shared with Jeff searched. Souxsie swore she had not consented, and that Hollins' search was therefore illegal. Gallagher sided with Hollins, despite the fact that he did not have a consent form or recording of the alleged agreement.
After the trial was over, Jeff and Siouxsie decided to use their resources to put on an event that would draw a lot of people and educate them about the issues surrounding hemp. They used their experience promoting concerts and their connections developed through their television production to arrange for performers and sound system. Stull came on board after serving a little less than 18 months in Oregon prison for a 1989 pot bust. Coincidentally, Stull's trial judge was also Stephen Gallagher, who Barry Joe shocked by pointing out that the plant he was getting sent to prison for was featured on the Oregon State Seal because it was the source for the canvas and ropes vital to transportation and shipping.
Hemp Fest '95The first Portland Hemp Festival was scheduled for August 19, 1995. The site of Waterfront Park near the Burnside Bridge was chosen because the Portland Parks Bureau recommended the site and Mt. Tabor Park, which had seen small-scale hemp festivals in previous years, was off-limits because of neighborhood association objections. Waterfront Park also has a built-in stage at the north end, reducing the outlay to put on the event. Parks Bureau Supervisor Francis Clause informed Jeff about other requirements, such as a trash dropbox, portable toilets, and a noise permit. The Portland chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (PDX NORML) was contacted for security, and the Portland Community College Hemp Club offered trash receptacles and litter control.
Clause also advised Jeff to call the Portland Police Bureau Central Precinct and inform Officer Keith Morris that the event would take place. When Jeff called Morris, he responded by saying that he saw no problem with the event and that he would get back to Jeff. When Morris didn't call back for more than two weeks, Jeff called the Central Precinct for Morris once again. Officer Morris told Jeff that there was a problem with the event and the police were not going to sign off their approval of the event. Jeff requested to talk to Morris' supervisor.
Jeff was referred to Central Precinct's Sergeant Crane, a man who said he couldn't condone the event happening since his 25 year's experience showed him that there was nothing good about marijuana. When Jeff pointed out that the event was a hemp festival, not a marijuana festival, and explained the many uses of hemp, Crane said hemp wasn't worth it due to the problems with marijuana. He went on to say that he would make sure that the event didn't happen and asked Jeff, "What are you going to do next, a heroin festival?" Following this exchange Jeff contacted attorney Alan Graf, who had recently appeared as a guest on The NORML Minute, which was a weekly feature on Bohemia Afterdark.
Graf followed-up by calling Crane and pointing out that there were Constitutionally-protected free speech issues. He received essentially the same response from Crane. Jeff then called Clause and reported the attitude of the police. Clause stated that it was the Parks Bureau, not the Police Bureau, which decided whether events would be approved. He told Jeff that, in order to get the permit, all that was required was to obtain the insurance endorsement, the noise permit, and to pay the Special Event Fee. Clause then said he'd never seen anything quite like this event, and that it would be interesting to see how it would turn out, considering the attitude of the police.
A short time later, Clause phoned the Crawfords to tell them that the police were going to do an event next to the Portland Hemp Festival, on the same day, in the closest bordering section of Waterfront Park. Clause faxed a copy of the flyer describing the counter-event, then asked Jeff if he had any objections, since the park permit would not be issued for the police event if Jeff objected. After considering the potential of a helicopter taking off and landing in the park spoiling the music or drowning out the speakers, the Crawfords decided to object. A few days later Jeff read an advertisement in the Oregonian promoting the counter-event, it having been approved over his objection and against Parks and Recreation rules.
A couple weeks later, Jeff received a phone call from Lieutenant Dave Austin of Portland Police Central Precinct. Austin wanted to attend the next meeting of the Portland Hemp Festival security committee. Austin told Jeff that he had learned of he meeting from Anti-Prohibition League Director Floyd Ferris Landrath. Landrath told Jeff that he had never spoken with Austin, let alone about the meeting. A meeting of the festival organizers and the police was arranged to take place at Silver Dollar Pizza on NW 21st. Finding that establishment to be too noisy for a meeting, the entourage walked to the local Community Policing Precinct.
The August 15, 1995, meeting was attended by the Crawfords and their son Shay, Stull, Sue Wiswald of Families Against Mandatory Minimums, Paul Stanford of the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act committee, and several members of PDX NORML, including director Terry Miller, assistant director Phil Smith, and members Krystal Cummins and Jack Bates. In blue were Austin, Sgt. Phil Baker, and Sgt. Baxter. In street clothes were Lt. Larry Findling from the Criminal Intelligence Unit.
Austin stated the police position regarding Portland Hemp Festival '95. It was very reasonable. First, the goal was to have a "safe, no-problem event," the key being to work with the security folks as a team. "This event will be no different than The Bite, there should be no police at the event," he said. Austin pointed out some general issues about events, the worst case scenario being a shooting, continued with the following points, recorded in Barry Joe's notes:
In the event that police attend the event, it will be at the request of the Festival security and they will be escorted into the event by Festival security to the critical area and escorted back out. If this event goes well it can be repeated. The police won't deal with marijuana smoking in the park. If people choose to leave the event and smoke passing a police car, they will get ticketed. The police don't plan on entering the event to enforce drug laws. If activities take place within the event, they are the problem of the event security, who are expected to deal with them. If the police are contacted with a complaint, they will contact the event security and expect them to deal with it. The event organizers have the legal authority to ask someone to leave, and if needed, arrest a person for trespassing and get the police in to remove the person. The police will need the support of the event security who will act as a buffer between the audience and the police. There will be horse patrols accompanying police when any police go into the park, and at least four to six officers will be brought into the event to handle any negative elements.
The Sergeants who would be working the two shifts during the event introduced themselves and cellular telephone numbers were exchanged.
One local television station, KPTV, reported on the upcoming counter-event that evening. In the report, Central Precinct Commander Mike Garvey stated that he was just doing his job, which included educating the public. Garvey's statement couldn't be argued with, although what he should educate people about might have caused some debate. During the story, Festival organizers called the police counter-event an attempted show of force to discourage attendance at the Hemp Fest, and a waste of taxpayer dollars. They also got in a few words about hemp's utility, and informed the public about the petition campaign. The report noted that the police had been invited to participate in the hempfest from the very beginning, but instead chose to put on their own event. The story probably informed more people about the Festival than any other form of publicity.
On August 19, 1995, 38 vendors, 12 bands and a dozen speakers provided nonstop entertainment and information to over 17,000 people, making Hemp Fest '95 the largest pro-cannabis event in Oregon history. There were 2,000 to 3,000 people at any given time and in peak points of the day more than twice that many.
Financially, the Festival broke even, with booth fees, sponsors, and event T-shirt sales meeting all of the expenses. The crowd was enthusiastic but not rowdy. The Anti-Prohibition League and PDX NORML registered hundreds of new voters and gathered many signatures for the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act initiative petition.
Hemp Fest '95 was widely covered by the local news media, including broadcast television reports on channels 2, 6, 8, 12 - every station with a news program in Portland. The coverage included footage of people enjoying themselves, clips of speakers, interviews of vendors displaying their hempen products, people gathering signatures, and musicians rocking out. There were scenes of people smoking pot, scenes of hemp foods and hemp snowboards, and gray-haired and articulate speakers talking about marijuana as medicine for depression, arthritis, cancer and AIDS.
There were also scenes of the nearly vacant counter-event, complete with its helicopter, Coast Guard Cutter, police dogs and horses, and D.A.R.E. sports car. Damning on the Festival's side was the KATU footage of two people in Festival security shirts passing a pipe. Damning on the police side were the acres of empty green grass and the Channel 2 News Telepoll, where 69.2 percent of the callers said that marijuana should be legal for use as medicine. One of the more interesting points of the KOIN 6 spot was the statement, "Police say organizers of the Hemp Festival have been cordial and that supporters caused no problems." By the next year's Hemp Fest, the police would be singing a different tune.
Hemp Fest '96Based on the overwhelming positive response to the Portland Hemp Festival '95, it was not a matter of if, but where and when the Portland Hemp Festival '96 would be held. Beginning in January, 1996, the search for a venue began. Waterfront Park was out of the question due to construction to install plumbing and electrical facilities to provide better service to those staging events there. Other parks were eliminated for one reason or another. Washington Park was not going to be approved by the neighborhood association, Delta Park was also being renovated. According to David Kosch, who replaced Francis Clause at the Parks and Recreation Bureau, Irving Park would not be approved by the neighborhood association there. Cathedral Park, under the St. Johns Bridge, was offered by the Parks Bureau, but Jeff Crawford felt it was too out of the way for people to travel to on public transportation. Pioneer Courthouse Square was too expensive and had no grass, and the amphitheater between the Rose Garden and The Memorial Coliseum was all concrete, vendors were prohibited and the contract specified that their security would be hired.
It was the middle of March by the time Holladay Park was chosen. Holladay Park is located on the MAX light rail line next to the Lloyd Center. It was recommended by Kosch, and there was no problem with the neighborhood association. When Jeff went to the Portland Building to pay his fee to reserve the park, he met Dee Craig, assistant recreation manager of the Parks Bureau. Craig, making small talk, asked Jeff what festival he was from. When Jeff said he was from the Hemp Fest, she responded, "Oh, you're that festival." The relationship with the parks personnel had changed as the personnel had changed.
Kosch referred the Crawfords to Portland Police Sgt. Rex Price. He was very cordial and cooperative, and said he wasn't out to cause any problems. But when Siouxsie said they planned to hold the Festival on June 22, Price immediately said there were other events that day that demanded police coverage and there weren't enough officers available. He also mentioned that there would be problems with the businesses, particularly the Lloyd Center and the Red Lion Hotel. Siouxsie disregarded the comments about the businesses because she was confident that the Hemp Fest crowd would not cause those businesses any problems.
Both the police and parks bureau recommended that there be a paid security company this year, so Siouxsie contacted Mike Quinn of Monqui Presents, a sponsor for the festival that year, and asked if he could recommend anyone to provide the two uniformed security guards required by the insurance company. Quinn recommended Coast to Coast Events Services. Siouxsie contacted the company and arranged for security for the day of the festival. The whole process of meeting the security requirements seemed uneventful.
Sgt. Price said the police wanted to have a meeting with the event organizers to discuss security for the festival. Jeff contacted attorney Alan Graf to arrange a time when the meeting could be held, and the date was set for June 18, 1996. But when event organizers arrived at the law offices of Swanson, Thomas and Coon, overlooking Pioneer Courthouse Square in the American Bank Building, they found that the scope of the meeting had broadened from what Price had said on the phone. Rather than a meeting with Price and his commander to discuss security, the room was full of representatives from the Portland Police Bureau's Central and Northeast precincts, the Parks Bureau, and the security firm for Lloyd Center, leaving the organizers feeling like a prize hog walking into a pig roast.
The police representatives included Commander Al Orr and Sgt. Price of Northeast precinct, along with Sgt. Baxter from the Central Precinct. Rich Gunderson and Ann Krohn represented the Parks Bureau. Gary Gross represented the security company for Lloyd Center. The Crawfords, with their infant son, Dillon, and Barry Joe Stull represented the Hemp Festival, and Graf acted as council for the Crawfords.
Following the introductions, Price began by asking the organizers why they even wanted to have the event, perhaps hoping that it would somehow just be called off. Stull offered the explanation, "As convicted felons, we're just not happy with the way the system is." Price asked, "Who's convicted felons?" Stull, "We all are," as he motioned to the Crawfords. This statement sent a shock throughout the room and the meeting was off and running.
The police tried to convince the organizers to reschedule the event, move it to a remote location, or anything that would just make us go away. Confronted with the reality that there were already too many commitments made to just walk away from the months of work or move the event to the country, the police began their assault. First was a report by Baxter, who had attended the meeting for the prior event. At that meeting, he had stated that there would not be a police presence, except on a case-by-case basis at the request of the festival organizers, and that police wouldn't cite people for smoking pot. But, contrary to what had been broadcast on television as the part of the report on Portland Hemp Festival '95, that the police said that there were no problems at the event, Baxter then said there were a lot of problems with the event.
The police tried to use the they set out the year before against the organizers. [sic - Portland NORML] Baxter said that people had phoned the police to report they saw people smoking pot in Waterfront Park. He added the police couldn't do anything about it, since they had already decided that they weren't going to cite people and made a promise to the organizers to that effect. Another problem was that the band stopped playing when the police came into the event to remove a drunk person who the event security could not get to behave or stay away. People in the crowd began to boo, which the police interpreted was against them. They realized that they had no authority, meaning that they didn't have the respect of the crowd to control peoples' behavior without resistance. They were also aware that a crowd of over 2,000 cannot be controlled without either that authority or the massive use of violent force. Baxter said that a report prepared by an undercover police officer estimated that 50 percent of the crowd had been smoking pot. No reports of any marijuana use were made to the Parks Bureau by the police bureau, however.
Sgt. Price then questioned how Holladay Park got selected, unhappy with the choice of location. Jeff explained about the process of elimination, then pointed out that the site had been recommended by the Parks Bureau. Its representatives spent the rest of the meeting with their heads down like children being scolded.
Graf asked if the treatment the police were giving this event was the same as they would give to any other outdoor music festival, such as a rock concert. Initially the police danced around this issue, but when Graf continued to pursue it, Commander Orr barked for him to shut up.
Commander Orr said that Holladay Park, in his jurisdiction, was a Drug Free Zone and that all laws would be enforced. Price said that the police would arrest everyone possessing any amount of marijuana. Stull countered that the police didn't have the legal power to arrest someone for possessing less than an ounce. Price said that the police would arrest and cite individuals, place handcuffs on them, remove them from the park and hold them in custody as they did a background check.
Orr stated that no drug use or possession of any kind would be tolerated and that event organizers would be held responsible for anyone possessing drugs. Stull said that he knew that if he left the meeting and walked down S.W. 6th towards Burnside, someone would offer him drugs - making it unreasonable to expect the Hemp Festival organizers to create conditions that the police couldn't create on the city streets in broad daylight. Orr went ballistic, spouting statistics about how many arrests his department had made and how much energy they spent, to which Stull responded, "And so the problem's taken care of then." Commander Orr asked, "What?" Stull replied, "There's no more problem with drugs, then," accenting his original point.
After the police realized the organizers couldn't and wouldn't move the Festival on four day's notice, they asked for some other conditions. These included: 20 security monitors, security on all four corners of the park, band cooperation with the police, a consistent message that people smoking pot were putting the event at risk, awareness of gangs and trouble makers and a plan to remove those people from the park.
Orr said that he didn't want to shut down the event. He wanted people to enjoy themselves. Siouxsie pointed out that Elvy Musikka would be attending the event and would be smoking her legal prescription marijuana. She said the police should be careful not to bust her. At the time, Musikka was one of only eight people in the United States receiving government-grown marijuana, for her glaucoma.
Siouxsie's take on the change in police bureau personnel's attitude, compared to the first event, was set down in the newspaper the organizers rushed to print within 48 hours after the meeting. "I was surprised to hear the new approach of the Portland Police Bureau. We've organized a Hemp Festival featuring the best products and most informed speakers available. We wouldn't have needed to go though all that trouble to have a smoke-in. I hope the police don't find their justification for closing down our event when an officer smells Elvy smoking a joint."
On June 20, Siouxsie followed up on her earlier conversation with Coast to Coast Security regarding coverage for the event. She told them that two uniformed guards were needed for the insurance company's requirements. She was told that the guards were available and that confirmation would be sent by mail and that a signature form would be needed for the security company's files. Siouxsie asked if she should sign the form and have it delivered by her husband, and was told that there wasn't that that much of a hurry and that they understood that the Crawfords were busy with the event. Siouxsie contacted the insurance company and found that Coast to Coast had sent the paperwork and it had been processed and the insurance policy for the event had been issued.
She then contacted Sgt. Price and told him she had the policy, since he had expressed doubt that the organizers could get the policy, a requirement for the event going on. The afternoon of the day before the event, the Crawfords received a certified letter from Coast to Coast saying that they had pulled out of the event because the signature form had not been returned. Siouxsie called Coast to Coast about the letter and asked why they sent the letter rather than just calling her to get the form. The woman on the phone said she had told Siouxsie that they couldn't confirm the date until the signature form was returned. Siouxsie pointed out that the woman said no such thing, confirmed that Coast to Coast had sent their information to the insurance company, and she let the woman know that their actions jeopardized the whole event. The woman said that Coast to Coast would not be attending Portland Hemp Fest '96 and hung up the phone. When Siouxsie called again, the woman could not be reached. Attorney Lanny Sinkin also failed to locate her. That afternoon Siouxsie learned that the owner of Coast to Coast taught self-defense classes at the police bureau's Northeast Precinct. Fortunately, Pinkerton Security was able to cover the event and Siouxsie never had to sign anything.
In spite of all the preparation the event did not go as planned. At 6:00 am on the morning of June 22, Jeff arrived to help the vendors set up. A short time later, Jeff discovered that the fountain at the center of the park, which was to be covered by the stage, had not been drained as arranged for with Park Bureau employees David Kosch and Sky Goodrich. In fact, it was still running. When Kosch didn't show up to meet with Jeff at 7:00 am as he had scheduled, Jeff called Kosch's cellular phone but didn't get an answer. Jeff couldn't get a live person at any of the Parks Bureau numbers. A few minutes later, a parks employee came to empty the trash and Jeff asked him who was going to drain the fountain. The employee said he didn't know anybody from the main office, but said he would try to call someone.
Just then Concert Sound arrived to set up the public address system, only to discover that, because the key to open the access to the electrical box had not been delivered to the park, nothing could be powered for anyone needing electricity, including vendors and the P.A. At 8:40 am, the R.A. Reed company showed up with the stage. Because the water was still running in the fountain, it had to be relocated.
Kosch and his assistant, Marc Hines, finally showed up at 10 am, three hours late. Kosch said that he was tied up working on the Gay Pride Festival. Jeff explained what had happened and Kosch said he was sorry that they had not drained the fountain. He tried to get into the electrical power box, but didn't have the key. Terry Miller went to get a generator to power the P.A. It cost $200, twice the $100 Jeff had paid for the park power that wasn't provided. Kosch discovered that the outlets at the base of the light poles in the park were on, and, although they were not enough to run the P.A., were enough to meet the vendors' needs, so extension cords were run.
By 11 am, more than a dozen Portland police officers were on the site. Their numbers would increase as the day went on, first doubling then tripling, not counting undercover officers and run-of-the-mill snitches. They watched the bands, the audience, and the vendors. Officers on horseback ensured the park was littered with horseshit so playing Frisbee was out of the question. The event was observed and filmed by both the police and the Lloyd Center security personnel, who were in turn filmed by people gathering footage for their cable access shows. Several people told the organizers they left the event because they felt uncomfortable that there were so many police there.
As the day went on, the police sent a child to buy pipes from vendors, although no vendor took the bait. They also cited and removed one of the vendors, who had traveled from out of state, for having a small pocket knife she was using to cut hemp twine. Tim Herman, who produces shows for cablecast, was stopped by the police as he walked the street in the neighborhood of the festival, supposedly for wearing a ballcap and therefore fitting the description of a suspect in a crime. He was searched and cited for possessing less than an ounce of pot. Both his case and the case of the vendor with the knife were eventually thrown out of court because the Portland Police overstepped their legal authority.
In late afternoon the Portland Police found a criminal. Dan Ernst, who had a booth vending hemp food, set out a foot-tall cannabis plant, then resisted arrest when the police moved to arrest him. A crowd formed and people shouted their disapproval at the police. Stull and Jeff got between the police and the gathering crowd, telling the spectators to disperse because the police would use them as justification to shut down the event. The organizers would later learn that Ernst was also possessing cocaine - damaging the reputation of the event and giving the police justification for their presence.
Despite the problems, Portland Hemp Fest '96 featured 12 bands, 40 vendors, and 10 speakers. Snow Bud and The Flower People headlined the event and took the stage at 9 pm. A little less than an hour later, Hines told Jeff that the band had to get off the stage. When Jeff got to the stage, he was met by Kosch who told him to cut off the power. Jeff told Kosch he didn't know how to shut off the power from the generator, then went to the sound board to pass the word. At that time Snow Bud started their last song, so Jeff went back to the stage where Kosch told him to announce the event was over at the end of the song. The song ended and Jeff made his announcement at 10:03 pm. Kosch would later report this slight delay as the band refusing to leave the stage - this from the man who was three hours late that morning, didn't provide the access to the power, and didn't drain the water from the fountain so the stage could be set up.
The aftermath of the event wasn't as pleasant as the 1995 Hemp Fest. Sales of bootleg event shirts cut into the events' T-shirt sales, a important way of financing the production expenses. People left early or stayed away once they learned how many police were on the site. It was disappointing to learn that people failed to support the event since they couldn't get high there, especially in light of the fact that they wouldn't expect to be able to get high at any other event held in a public park and never would unless the laws changed.
In September 1996, the Crawfords were billed $315 for damage to the park. Over the telephone, a Parks Bureau employee said the damages included a broken sprinkler head and turf damage due to oil spilled by an onsite vehicle. Since the ground under the generator wasn't covered with plywood when it was operated, the bureau assumed that gasoline had been spilled and replaced the turf.
Hemp Fest '97In April 1997, the Crawfords decided to once again take on the commitment necessary to put on the Portland Hemp Festival. They sought to reserve Section B of Waterfront Park. After the hassles and expenses related to setting up a stage at Holladay Park, it was only natural to return to the site of the 1995 event which had a built-in stage. In addition, there had been construction to improve facilities for events.
When Jeff contacted the Parks Bureau, he learned that Kosch was no longer with the agency. The number for Kosch had was answered by Dave Grindstaff, who requested Modern Media Productions provide a letter of intent and document that they had experience to produce the event - the first of many new hurdles blocking Portland Hemp Festival '97. Grindstaff said, "I heard about you guys" and was generally unpleasant. In the letter, Siouxsie responded that they had produced hundreds of concerts, including Nirvana and Joan Jett. Grindstaff called back and said the Crawfords could reserve the Park and Jeff paid the $27.50 deposit to reserve the site for August 23. Siouxsie asked Grindstaff why he had such a negative attitude and was so brash in his dealings with them and Grindstaff responded that the Hemp Festival was a "problematic event."
That same afternoon, April 29, Siouxsie contacted attorney Paul Loney and told him about Grindstaff. Loney asked for a copy of the letter of intent so he could read it and forward it to Portland City Commissioner Jim Francesconi, who is in charge of the Parks Bureau, by certified mail.
On June 2, 1997, Grindstaff called Siouxsie and informed her that there were expenses from 1996 that needed to be paid before the application could be processed. The Crawfords were barred from reserving future park space until the bill was paid. They appealed the charges, noting that the Parks Bureau had improperly assumed they caused the damage. On June 11, Parks employee Dee Craig wrote back saying that the charges didn't result from damage, as originally stated, but from additional loadout fees since the stage was in the park for an extra day. Due to the rain, the shortage of tools, and the still absent employees, Jeff couldn't disassemble the stage immediately after the event and left thetask to the stage owners, R.A. Reed, who billed him $300 for removing the stage the Monday following the Saturday event. All the Crawfords knew for sure was that they had to raise money before they could even consider another festival.
Craig made it clear that since the Crawfords' account was frozen, the space was available to "any interested party." They turned to local activists for the money, and were soon able to cover the Park fees.
On February 5 and April 22, 1997, the Parks Bureau issued new rules regarding the use of the park facilities for events. Most notable was the rule which said, "All Permittees holding public events in Waterfront Park, Irving Park, Holladay and Washington Park are required to meet with the Portland Police to discuss security and are required as a condition of use to provide security as required by the Police Bureau." The rules also set out specific deadlines for the permit to be issued prior to the event. Many of the rules used the word "may," which legally means "in some cases" - rather than "shall," meaning "must" - and which limited the discretion of public officials. These new rules complicated matters considerably compared to the relatively simple application process from 1995. They would also prove to drive up the expense of putting on the Hemp Festival thousands of dollars.
On June 23, Parks employee Marc Hines sent a "Special Use Requirements" form to the Crawfords. Hines included a note instructing the Crawfords that they were now considered a large event and had to get the sign-off of various agencies. In addition to the completed form he requested details about the site plan, insurance, and event hours. "I believe we will have a successful event this year and the soon [sic] the above information is received the more comfortable everyone at Police and Parks will be," he wrote.
On July 9, Siouxsie spoke with Parks employee Dave Grindstaff on the phone. Grindstaff told her that he would be moving the event from Section B to Section C due to turf damage caused by the Rose Festival. Siouxsie pointed out how difficult it would be to find a stage on such short notice. Grindstaff said that no exceptions were to be made, except for Brewer's Fest, and all other events would have to be moved. The Crawfords had to accept Section C or nothing. Grindstaff's letter of July 14 said, "Due to the poor turf conditions in Waterfront Park Section B resulting from the impact of the Rose Festival and due to user conflicts with the Portland Saturday Market we are requiring that your event be held in Section C of Waterfront Park."
The Parks' decision to relocate the event meant the organizers had to finance a stage. It also put distance between the thousands of people at the Saturday Market who were likely to discover the Hemp Festival and attend it. Siouxsie was able to contract for a stage for $800 after a three-day search.
On July 15, Grindstaff mailed a letter saying, "We are requiring that all of your information be on file by July 28,1997 in order to have enough processing time to complete your permit request." Grindstaff said it was a new policy. He also said that the event would be assessed for additional loading days because they were needed the year before. The sign-off from the agencies took a considerable amount of effort, since many of them failed to respond to the Crawfords' phone calls. At 4:00 pm on July 28, Jeff delivered the form with the signatures from the Health Department, A.D.A. Review, Noise Permit, Fire Bureau Review and Park Supervisor Dan Nelson. The Police sign off took the most effort and expense.
On July 23, Stull and the Crawfords met with Portland Police Central Precinct Commander Robert Kaufman and Lieutenant Dave Austin. After Siouxsie explained the Festival security plan, Kaufman expressed his concerns. He said he wouldn't sign his approval for the event until the deadline. He said people were using marijuana at the previous events and in the surrounding areas. He noted that all drug laws would be enforced because the Regional Drug Initiative and the Downtown Association were involved in anti-drug efforts. He said that there had been over 2,000 hand-to-hand drug buys to police officers since October, although he conceded that those were mostly on the bus mall. He said the Horse Patrol would be in the area, and said that an event this size would require twelve officers and two sergeants, and that the Festival may be held responsible for the expense of policing. He refused to authorize the event after dark, and said that his officers would seize vehicles if they were found to be used for transporting drugs. He required the organizers to produce a flyer and to have an Internet posting. He said the police bureau fully respects and supports the constitutional rights to assembly and free speech. Kaufman then referred the organizers to Austin to work out the details.
The day after the meeting, Austin called with his conditions. He said the event would have to pay for six officers and a sergeant, and added that there would be just as many police as the previous year. Austin set out the bureau's security requirements on the Special Use Requirements form: The Portland Hemp Festival would contract with the Police Bureau to hire six police officers and one supervisory sergeant to provide site security, the event hours would be from 10 am to 7 pm, the organizers would distribute a written document and post it on the Internet which states there will be no illegal drug use or criminal activity allowed in and around Waterfront Park during the Hemp Festival, and a designated organizer would be in constant communication with the police detail at the event. The cost for the police security would be $45.38 an hour for each officer and $52.14 an hour for the sergeant, totaling $2,919.78 for nine hours of coverage.
Even the Downtown Community Association thought these new requirements were extensive. After the board met and approved Hemp Fest '95, D.C.A. President Lisa Horne wrote Grindstaff and asked a series of questions including, "Are all applicants held to the same standards or are some singled out? A specific example is the recent Brewer's Festival held the weekend of July 25th. The D.C.A. was not contacted for park permit approval for this event. Is there an after-event meeting with the Brewer's Festival organizers and City Bureaus? If so, we would like to participate in such a meeting to discuss some concerns we have specific to that event, its location and impact on the neighborhood."
Epitaph Records came through with a sponsorship and $2,102.25 for the permit was paid August 16. The Festival went on as planned on the 23rd. The show went smoothly, the speakers were informative, the sun was shining and the place was littered with cops. Although the organizers were told that there would be just as many police as the year before, they found it offensive to see the Community Policing motor home and the dozens of uniformed police at the event. Many people told the organizers that they simply drove on past the event once they saw how many police were there. But those who attended enjoyed themselves. The speakers took the opportunity to speak to the police. Stull told them it was shameful that so many of them were there, and that they were welcome to leave at any time. Sandee Burbank, founder of Mothers Against Misuse and Abuse, explained how her organization grew out of outrage to police state tactics and the abuse of police power in the effort to enforce drug laws 15 years ago. Elvy Musikka spoke of how the blindness and bigotry of those prohibiting cannabis culture were a blight on the planet and inspired people through enlightening them. She receives medical cannabis grown by the federal government and tours almost constantly to advocate the plant that saved her eyesight from blindness from glaucoma.
The police forced the crowd to leave the park at 7 pm, two hours earlier than the park permit allowed. They had forced the organizers to agree to shorten the event or they would not agree to the event at all. The end of the event wasn't the end of the troubles though.
The trash hauling company didn't pick up their dumpster on the Sunday loading day because of rain and got stuck when they came to move it on Monday and had to be towed out. The stage company didn't get the stage out of the park until Tuesday. The Parks Bureau assessed $95.30 for repairing the turf where the garbage truck got stuck, $95.30 for removing litter and disposing of it (although the area was free of litter, Hemp Fest was charged for trash in the park trash cans), $64.50 for removing a plywood box used as a platform for the sound man, and triple charges for Monday and Tuesday, $661.54. The additional charges totaled $916.64. Combined with money for the police and other services this would leave the event $12,000 in the red for the '96 and '97 events.
It was mere coincidence that we caught the video from Portland Hemp Festival '97 on cable access as we wrapped up this story. Seeing the coverage, we decided the effort was worth it. Each year the event has been a more difficult challenge. As we learned the rules, they changed. Along with the rule changes were new city employees who responded to political pressure and complicated the event. Sponsors pulled their support at the time when expenses were increased. Everyone assumed the events were easier to pull off then they were. Most people sought to capitalize on the events for their own benefit rather than thinking how they could work for everyone's benefit. We've grown to expect it. After all, the fact that we're living in an increasingly selfish and heartless world is why we feel we should do this.
If you want to help reduce the debts of Portland Hemp fest, send your contribution to: Jeff Crawford, 4243 NE Laddington Court, Portland OR 97213.
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