The Lane County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously supported allowing the newly formed Festival of Eugene to use a Lane County-owned parking lot in downtown Eugene, free of charge, later this month.
But whether the scaled-down substitute for the canceled Eugene Celebration will take place remains uncertain. The group planning Festival of Eugene says it is still $12,200 short of its fundraising goal for an event that is set to start in 16 days.
At the board's morning meeting, organizers of the two-day event successfully alleviated concerns expressed by county leaders and staff about potential festival impacts on neighbors and the possible liability for the county.
Organizer Krysta Albert told the board that all music at the event will end by 10 p.m., with most of the stages shutting down by 8:30 p.m. She said the beer and wine gardens at the event will be run independently by local businesses, which will purchase insurance and provide security for them. No alcohol will be consumed on county property, she added.
No members of the public testified against the proposal on Tuesday.
The details of the contract between the nonprofit and the county will be worked out by county staff.
Commissioner Jay Bozievich said that as long as the contract includes language holding the county harmless from any legal action relating to the event, he would support the festival's request.
"It's great idea to have an event down there, and I'm more than willing to have the county provide the property to this community-run, not-for-profit event," he said.
Organizers want to set up their main music stage, some vendors, a food court, and some band parking on the county-owned half-block along Sixth Avenue between Oak and Pearl streets.
The rest of the festival would take place on the privately owned northern half of the same block and along a small section of Fifth Avenue.
The festival, scheduled for Aug. 22-23, is being organized hastily to fill in for the canceled 2014 Eugene Celebration. The new event won't charge for admission and is relying on vendor fees and fundraising to cover its costs, as well as many hours of work provided by volunteers.
As of Monday, the group had raised about $8,800, less than half of its goal of $21,000.
Unless their fundraising target is met by Aug. 12, the festival likely will be called off and donations will be returned, Albert said.