ENTERPRISE — Grants normally given by the city to help fund local events were suspended by the Enterprise City Council on Monday, July 13, when representatives of the events said they either were canceled or unsure if they’d be happening.
The city received a letter from Alpenfest Alpenmeister Chuck Anderson, who had already canceled this year’s event. The letter said the Community-Economic-Tourism Related Activities (CETRA) approved April 13 would not be used since Alpenfest has been canceled for the year. Anderson wrote that Alpenfest is on hold until further notice since a pavilion planned at the Wallowa Lake Marina also has been put on hold because of COVID-19-pandemic funding problems. The Alpenfest organizers had counted on the pavilion as a future home for the event.
CETRA grants for two other events also are on hold — the Courthouse Concert Series and Juniper Jam — as is city event approval for the Main Street Show and Shine. All are on hold because of pandemic-related restrictions, particularly the ability to socially distance during the events. The events also must still meet the criteria to receive the CETRA funds, such as increasing tourism and enhancing the quality of life for residents and businesses.
Councilman David Elliot, who attended by phone, moved to hold over the grants to next year. But city Administrator Lacey McQuead said that given lower motel tax receipts expected this year — which fund the CETRA grants — funding for next year’s grants may be limited. Councilman Micah Agnew suggested approving partial grants until event organizers can inform the city what their events will look like this year.
Elliot withdrew his motion and the council decided to have Janis Carper, executive director of the Wallowa Valley Music Alliance, attend the August meeting to discuss the Courthouse Concert Series and the Juniper Jam. The Main Street Show and Shine also will be considered in August.
Candy Bunn, an organizer of the Main Street Show and Shine, also attended the meeting by phone. She said that Jude Graham, chairwoman of Joseph’s Wallowa Mountain Cruise, had received a directive from the Oregon Department of Transportation on how the event must park cars to maintain social distancing.
“We’re going to try to mirror that,” Bunn said. “We’d like to make it work for the city.”
She said that while indoor aspects of the Show and Shine likely would be canceled because of the pandemic, they hope to have outdoor events such as a walking breakfast and poker run.
She said she was asking for the event permit because of a requirement that it be requested 45 days prior to the event. It is scheduled for Aug. 14 and 15.
Councilman Bruce Bliven moved to approve the event permit, but withdrew his motion when McQuead and others agreed they should wait until closer to the event.
“We don’t know what Gov. Brown’s going to do,” Bliven said.
Bunn agreed, saying, “The rules change so often, we don’t know what it’ll be like in a month.”
Fire Chief Paul Karvoski, who also attended by phone, said he was against holding the event.
“I’m sorry to be a burden on this, but I don’t think this should happen,” he said. “They can’t socially distance.”
Karvoski also said that with the uptick in coronavirus cases in surrounding areas, this could place a liability on the city if it allows an event.
Bunn said the organizers can wait until about a week prior to the event before deciding to cancel it. Anything they have purchased could be held over to next year’s event if it’s decided to suspend this year’s Show and Shine.
The council agreed to hear from Bunn at the August meeting review the event permit in light of state requirements at that time. They agreed to suspend the 45-day requirement given the circumstances.