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1997 Rainbow Family National Gathering

U.S. Forest Service Final Report


1997 RAINBOW FAMILY GATHERING
OCHOCO NATIONAL FOREST
BIG SUMMIT RANGER DISTRICT
REGION 6

-PUBLIC AFFAIRS ACTION PLAN-

Prepared by: Carrie Sammons, Incident Information Officer
Reviewed by: Dave Johnson, Deputy Incident Commander
Approved by: Mike Lohrey, Incident Commander

Public Affairs Plan Table of Contents

I. Introduction and Objectives
II. Issues and Concerns
III. Action Items
IV. Appendix A: Incident Information Team
V. Appendix B: Letter to Congressionals
VI. Appendix C: Initial Rainbow Gathering Briefing Paper
VII. Appendix D: List of Key Contacts
VIII. Appendix E: Daily Trapline Locations


1997 Rainbow Family Gathering

Deschutes National Forest

Public Affairs Action Plan

I. Background/Introduction:

Each year a group of individuals known as the "Rainbow Family of Living Light" gather on National Forest land. This year's gathering is expected to be very large due to the fact that it is the 25th anniversary of the event. Estimates are between 20,000 and 40,000 Rainbows.

The group has no recognized leader or governing body for the Forest Service to issue a special use permit to. Because of the nature and overall philosophy of the group no one is responsible for-the gathering. This can make it somewhat difficult for the Forest Service to deal with.

In 1988 the Forest Service challenged, in Federal Court, the Rainbow Family's right to gather on the Forest. The Court ruling upheld their position, holding that a refusal by the Forest Service to accommodate them would violate their constitutional right of free speech and right to assembly. It is the present policy of the Forest Service to accommodate these gatherings in a cooperative and environmentally responsible manner.

The 1997 gathering will be held at Indian Prairie, on the Big Summit Ranger District of the Ochoco National Forest.

The gathering of the Rainbows is usually controversial and a cause of concern with local communities and residents near the gathering site. In an effort to maintain and enhance community relations and to document a public affairs strategy the following action plan was developed.

This plan addresses both internal and external needs and concerns. It outlines the primary issues and concerns and has a section of "Action Items".

II. Objectives:

The objectives of this plan are to:

- Maintain an open line of communication with local residents/communities, employees, cooperators, the media and the Rainbow Family.

- Provide current and factual information concerning the gathering to internal and external contacts.

- Clearly define the actions/tasks required to conduct a successful and meaningful public affairs program.

ISSUES AND CONCERNS

The following are a list of the primary issues and concerns regarding the Rainbow Gathering. The public affairs plan for this incident is designed to address issues and develop strategies and techniques to deal with them.

Impact on the Community

The community of Prineville is concerned about the Gathering. Business owners are concerned about shoplifting, loitering and other activities that could negatively impact their business. They are also concerned that the Rainbows may startle or intimidate regular customers and tourists visiting the area. Our public affairs goal for these issues is to be in constant contact with the con unity members. He want to insure thee that we are concerned with their problems. we are the right people to help thee with their problems, and we are listening to the for suggestions. We will also keep then informed about what to expect in the immediate future.

Public Health Concerns

The community is concerned that the Rainbow Gathering is a threat to public health. There are concerns that there is not adequate sanitation at the site. Our public affairs goal for this issue is to communicate to the public that the Oregon State Public Health Department is monitoring water quality at the site as well as other sanitation issues and will be advised of any changes in water quality. He will also co communicate to the public that the Rainbows are cooperating with us to prevent water contamination.

Public Safety

There is a concern for public safety during the Rainbow Gathering. One concern involves traffic and access to the gathering site. The road is narrow and winding and the traffic is heavy. Our public affairs goal for this issue is to "get the word out. that people traveling the road should use extra caution and should be aware of unexpected hazards (people, cows, sheep and log trucks!) Additional signage and reduced speed limits will help to reduce the risks.

Forest Resource Damage

There is public concern that with the large number of people in the area the Forest resources, especially meadow vegetation, will be severely damaged. Our public affairs goal for this issue is to communicate to the public that we are monitoring the impacts to the forest resources and we are working with the Rainbows to minimize the impacts. There is a rehabilitation plan that was developed cooperatively between the Family and the Forest Service and the District will work with the Family to i plement the plan.

Rumor Control

The very nature of the Rainbow Gathering fosters rumors and untruths, both within the Rainbows and the community. Rumors have a way of making issues and major problems out of nothing. Our public affairs goal for this issue is to dispel any rumors i mediately and to keep our ears open for early alerts to rumors.


ACTION ITEMS
PRIOR TO GATHERING

1. ACTION: Develop a one page briefing paper regarding the rainbow gathering. Distribute to all R6 employees (via DG.)

RESPONSIBILITY: Incident Information Officer (II0)/R-6 PAO

TO BE COMPLETED BY: DONE

2. ACTION: Conduct employee briefings at SO and all Districts. Intent of meetings will be to inform all employees of the gathering and what to expect.

RESPONSIBILITY: Central Oregon Interagency Incident Management Team

TO BE COMPLETED BY: DONE

3. ACTION: Contact RO Public Affairs to establish procedures for keeping them informed during the gathering.

RESPONSIBILITY: II0/PAO

TO BE COMPLETED BY: DONE

4. ACTION: Brief key contacts and elected officials about the gathering and what our position is.

RESPONSIBILITY: II0

TO BE COMPLETED BY: DONE

5. ACTION: Make contact with cooperating agencies or those that could be impacted by gathering. Explain how our information office will function. We may want to consider using public affairs representatives from other agencies (interagency P.A. unit or at least co-locate operations.)

RESPONSIBILITY: Line Officer/PAO

TO BE COMPLETED BY: DONE

6. ACTION: Develop a telephone/address mailing list of major media and key contacts.

RESPONSIBILITY: IIO/PAO

TO BE COMPLETED BY: Done

DURING GATHERING

1. ACTION: Provide Forest employees with a regular situation report.

RESPONSIBILITY: IIO

TO BE COMPLETED BY: On-going during gathering.

2. ACTION: Provide RO Public Affairs with a daily situation report (written & verbal.)

RESPONSIBILITY: IIO

TO BE COMPLETED BY: On-going during gathering.

3. ACTION: Provide an information center at the Ochoco Ranger Station to provide information, updates and map.

RESPONSIBILITY: On-going during gathering.

TO BE COMPLETED BY: ASAP

4. ACTION: Establish a Rainbow information telephone number. This number will be dedicated to providing current information about the gathering.

RESPONSIBILITY: II0

TO BE COMPLETED BY: Done 541-447-1349 or 1481

5. ACTION: Establish and maintain a public incident information center where information regarding the gathering can be collected and disseminated.

RESPONSIBILITY: II0

TO BE COMPLETED BY: Done

6. ACTION: Conduct press conferences and public meetings.

RESPONSIBILITY: IC/IIO

TO BE COMPLETED BY: As needed to meet Incident/Forest needs.

7. ACTION: Maintain periodic contact to update various elected officials, cooperators and key contacts.

RESPONSIBILITY: IIO/Line Officer/IC

TO BE COMPLETED BY: As needed and appropriate.

8. ACTION: Establish working relationship with the media to ensure that timely and accurate information is disseminated. Formal media tours of the gathering site will not be conducted. FS contact will only be made outside of the site.

RESPONSIBILITY: IIO

TO BE COMPLETED BY: On-going

9. ACTION: Make contact with adjacent landowners, residents in the gathering site area and other effected individuals and groups.

RESPONSIBILITY: IIO/District

TO BE COMPLETED BY: On-going

10. ACTION: Maintain contact with appropriate Rainbow representative to coordinate and discuss information and public affairs needs and activities.

RESRONSIBILITY: IIO

TO BE COMPLETED BY: On-going.

AFTER GATHERING

1. ACTION: Conduct family meeting at SO and Big Summit Ranger District to discuss the events of the gathering and to answer questions.

RESPONSIBILITY: COIIMT

TO BE COMPLETED BY: Within 7 days of the end of the gathering

2. ACTION: Provide RO Public Affairs and COIIMT records with a final report of IIO activities during the Gathering.

RESPONSIBILITY: IIO

TO BE COMPLETED BY: July 10, 1997

3. ACTION: Make follow up contacts with various elected officials, cooperators and local residents.

RESPONSIBILITY: IIO

TO BE COMPLETED BY: post-gathering

4. ACTION: Maintain Rainbow contact person and number for public and media to contact for misc. information and requests.

RESPONSIBILITY: IIO

TO BE COMPLETED BY: As appropriate


Appendix A

Incident Information Team

Carrie Sammons - Deschutes National Forest
Rose Davis - Caribou National Forest
Tim Evans - Colville National Forest
Sheela McLean - Okanogan National Forest
Faith Duncan - Pike National Forest
Barbara Rich - Ochoco National Forest
Karen Bushnell Jones - Ochoco National Forest


Appendix B

Letter to Congressionals

United States Department of Agriculture
Forest Service
Ochoco National Forest
P.O. Box 490, Prineville, OR 97754
(541) 416-6500

File Code: 1510
Date: June 16, 1997

For 25 years, a group of citizens calling themselves The Rainbow Family of Living Light have held their annual gathering on National Forest System Lands. The Rainbow Family is a loosely knit, "leaderless" group of individuals from all parts of the country. Reminiscent of the "hippies" of the 1960's, the Rainbow Family meets to "celebrate Mother Earth and pray for world peace" with activities peaking on July 4.

The Rainbow Family has chosen the Big Summit Ranger District of the Ochoco National Forest for the 1997 Gathering. The estimated ten to twenty thousand attendees have begun arriving and will depart mid-July.

The large number of Rainbow Family Gathering attendees meeting in one place creates a small town with many of the same concerns such as sanitation, water availability, crime, child care and social interaction. It is also an opportunity for communities in the area to benefit economically. The participants will pass through local towns on their way to the Gathering and purchase supplies such as food and gasoline.

The Forest Service is prepared for this event. The Central Oregon Interagency Incident Management Team, including individuals experienced in managing the annual Gathering, is assigned to proactively provide service, information and law enforcement cooperation with communities impacted by the influx of people attending the Gathering. Forest Service priorities during this event are public safety and health, customer service and resource rehabilitation.

The Forest Service will continue updating your office during the event. Please contact Incident Commander Mike Lohrey at 541-447-1040 if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

THOMAS A. SCHMIDT
Forest Supervisor


Hon. Robert F. Smith
Member of Congress
843 East Main, Suite 400
Medford, OR 97501

Honorable Gordon Smith
Member of Congress
131 NW Hawthorne Ave., Suite 208
Bend, OR 97701

Honorable Ron Wyden
Member of Congress
131 NW Hawthorne, Suite 107
Bend, OR 97701

Governor John Kitzhaber
254 State Capitol
Salem, OR 97310

Senator Neil Bryant
S-206, State Capitol
Salem, OR 97310

Senator Ted Ferrioli
S-206, State Capitol
Salem, OR 97310

Representative Dennis Luke
H-285 State Capitol
Salem, OR 97310

Representative Ben Westlund
H-285 State Capitol
Salem, OR 97310

Representative Lynn Lundquist
Salem: Room 269, State Capitol
Salem, OR 97310


Appendix C

Initial Rainbow Briefing Paper: 1997

1997 RAINBOW FAMILY NATIONAL GATHERING
Ochoco National Forest
Big Summit Ranger District
June 1997

The Rainbow Family has selected the Ochoco National Forest/Big Summit Ranger District as the location for the 1997 Rainbow Family National Gathering. The Gathering will be managed by the Central Oregon Interagency Incident Management Team.

For the past 25 years, a group of individuals known as the "Rainbow Family of Living Light" has gathered on National Forest System Lands for an annual event. Past events have been attended by 5,000-35,000 people. Rainbow Family members are already at the site with the majority expected to arrive late-June. The main part of the event occurs July 1 - 7, peaking July 4th when the group prays together for world peace and healing. The Gathering then tapers off, leaving a clean-up crew, ranging from 200 to 1,000, which is usually finished with clean-up and rehabilitation by early August.

In 1988 the Forest Service challenged the Rainbow Family's right to gather on National Forest System Lands. The Court ruling upheld that refusal by the Forest Service to accommodate them would violate their constitutional right of free speech and right to assembly. Under the new 1995 Noncommercial Group Use Regulations, groups of 75 or more are required to have a permit to gather on the National Forest. There are eight criteria that must be met, these criteria are narrow and unrelated to the content of speech. They regulate the time, place and manner for noncommercial group uses. These features of the rule are necessary to ensure compliance with the First Amendment requirements of freedom of speech, assembly and religion.

A Rainbow Family gathering does impact the area where it occurs, especially the surrounding communities. Local and state governments will expend money to cover law enforcement, traffic management and health inspections. Social services, such as food banks, food stamps, etc., will likely be utilized. The Rainbows usually take care of their own minor first aid needs.

For additional information contact the Incident Commander or Information Officer at 541-447-1040.


Appendix D

List of Key Contacts

Judge Fred Rogers
Scott Cooper
Bobbie Bourne


Appendix E

Daily Trapline Visits

Prineville

Sentry Market
Exxon
Chevron
McDonald's
Price Slasher
Natures Bounty (Health Food Store)
Seven Eleven
Ochoco Plaza
Thriftway
Payless
Coast to Coast
Mail Boxes
Laundromat
Lakeshore RV Park Grocery Store
Restaurant (across road from RV park)
Town and Country Gass Mart
BLM
ODF
Post Office
Dairy Queen
Morgans



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