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La Grande’s Ag and Timber Twilight Parade has been canceled, according to the parade’s organizing group, Women in Timber. The group is now looking into moving the parade to Island City. (Chris Baxter/The Observer)
New liability form causes event organizers to pull plug on holding parade in La Grande
by Kelly Ducote/The Observer
La Grande’s Ag and Timber Twilight Parade has been canceled, according to the parade’s organizing group, Women in Timber.
The group is now looking into moving the parade, which was slated for May 17, to Island City.
“The city has a new liability form that they’re requiring all parades to fill out to accept all liability for all the participants,” said Women in Timber member Tiffany Vaughn. “We aren’t willing to risk that liability.”
The parade permit application was updated in August 2012 to include the acceptance of liability, said La Grande Police Chief Brian Harvey.
It reads, in part, “As a parade participant, I agree to comply with all conditions regulating parade activities as defined in city ordinances regulating parades, including but not limited to, regulations which prohibit throwing candy or other objects.”
The ordinance prohibiting throwing candy was enacted in 2009.
“Nothing has changed except we’re asking for an acknowledgment of liability,” Harvey said. “Regardless of whether we have this form, the potential liability is still there.”
No one is angry or upset with the city over this, Vaughn said.
“The hard part right now is that they want that signature,” she said. “No one can risk losing what we’ve worked for, for a parade.”
One aspect of the issue is that the parade sometimes has unexpected entrants —who could have shown up for the parade and then refused to sign the liability form. Another is the magnitude and size of the Ag-Timber Parade.
“There are some parades that are lower risk,” Vaughn said. “We have equipment in it, it’s at night, we have over 100 entrants.”
Women in Timber will be at the next Island City City Council meeting on May 13. Vaughn said all options are on the table to keep the event alive.
“Women in Timber is not angry at anybody. We understand why this is in place,” she said. “We are just trying to find a way to have a parade and celebrate these two industries, so the community can have an event they enjoy.”