PORTLAND, ORE., January 25, 2008 – The Washington County Circuit Court issued a decision this week that will have music lovers celebrating. Washington County's attempts to require outdoor mass gathering permits for each event (and thus threaten the park's ability to continue to hold summer concerts) have been quashed. The court found that Horning's Hideout, a long time private park outside of North Plains, does not need to obtain an outdoor mass gathering permit every time it holds a concert event.
In 2007, Horning's Hideout received land use approval to host up to five large concert events lasting three to four days and with attendance up to 5,000 people. The events would be held entirely onsite, with people camping in designated group camp sites and events scheduled throughout the weekends. However, the County argued that the land use approvals were not enough and that Horning's Hideout was required to obtain an outdoor mass gathering permit for each event. "This would have been a costly process with a timetable that would most likely prevent any concerts from happening," said William Kabeiseman of Garvey Schubert Barer, counsel to Horning’s Hideout.
The dispute ended up in court, and the court agreed with Horning's Hideout that no outdoor mass gathering permit was required. The court concluded that the Hideout was an established place of assembly that had been hosting events such as weddings, picnics and bike races for over 25 years. The court also found that the outdoor mass gathering statute was directed only at "uncontrolled" gatherings. However, noted Kabeiseman, "Horning's Hideout is already subject to a wide variety of health and safety regulations, including a land use regulations, fire safety regulations and an operations plan. Those regulations and plans allow for frequent inspections by the County Health Department and require annual reviews with the Sheriff's Office and the Fire District. In fact, the Fire District has acknowledged that the Horning's Hideout fire safety plan is the 'best they've ever seen.'"
Because of the frequency of the events and the established nature of the facility, no outdoor mass gathering permit is required and Horning's Hideout is free to host up to five events this summer. Horning’s Hideout is still putting together its lineup for the summer, but looks forward to hosting several safe and entertaining events for 2008. Bob Horning, the operator of the facility added, "Check www.horningshideout.com for updates and get ready to enjoy a little slice of paradise in Washington County!"