The city of Eugene is citing vendors in the parks: City cracks down on vendors | Police issue citations to unlicensed sellers in Alton Baker Park before the start of a Furthur concert
The crackdown on “Shakedown Street” began Friday afternoon, when Eugene police began issuing tickets to unlicensed vendors who jammed into an Alton Baker Park parking lot in advance of the band Furthur’s three-night concert series at Cuthbert Amphitheater.
“We’re not doing anything bad, we’re just trying to get by,” said Blue River resident Obidiah Cron, who received a citation charging him with violating city park rules that explicitly forbid anyone from “soliciting, selling, offering for sale, peddling, hawking, or vending any goods or services” without a permit.
Cron complained about having trouble making money on Friday, but said he was giving away his homemade trinkets while hanging out along “Shakedown Street” — the name given to crowded areas outside Grateful Dead and Furthur shows where food, clothing, artwork and other items are sold in a partylike atmosphere.
Passing time in the makeshift vending village — which on Friday afternoon was inhabited by at least 200 people and dozens of dogs — is a tradition among many Deadheads and Furthur followers.
But officials with the Eugene police and parks departments and Kesey Enterprises, which manages the city-owned amphitheater, agreed to work to prevent anything from spinning out of control this weekend outside the venue.
Context: Eugene has a high number of homeless and poor. Eugene is "hippie heaven" (not really, just looks that way, thanks to the Oregon County Fair, etc.). Eugene has been getting away with banning citizens for up to a year from the "downtown" (snort, chuckle) area for being suspicious, obnoxious, clashing with the other person's values, let alone committing crimes. (On the latter, I'm sympathetic, for there are plenty of thugs and creeps out there who seem hell bent on intentionally causing trouble and behaving in disgusting ways. However. . . ) On the downtown mall is a free speech area called Kesey Square, in honor of Oregon's Ken Kesey. Yet even Homeland Security has gotten involved in all that at times. Yes, right here in little old Eugene. Which isn't so little any more, nor so friendly, or as open to the counter culture as one would think. Recently I posted about the shut down of a concert on private land in the town of Blachy, roughly thirty miles or so from here.
Irony: "...Kesey Enterprises, which manages the city-owned amphitheater, agreed to work to prevent anything from spinning out of control this weekend outside the venue."
Kit Kesey, president of Kesey Enterprises, cited both public safety and health concerns — such as selling alcohol and food without a license — as reasons why officials decided to take measures to deal with the parking lot crowds.
“We’re just trying to manage an event properly here,” Kesey said. “I know it’s been part of the culture for a long time, but an open-air vending market is not what we want to see.”
Still ironic, but slightly understandable:
Dennis McNally, the Grateful Dead’s former publicist and band historian, said the band began supporting such crackdowns outside some concerts beginning in the late 1980s.
“Around that time, the number of people at shows who didn’t have tickets went from maybe 1,000 to somewhere closer to 5,000,” he said. “It caused an environmental overload situation at many venues.”