This report summarizes the debriefing held at the Eagar Town Hall concerning the 1998 Rainbow Gathering. Attendees included representatives of the Forest Service, Town of Eagar, Town of Springerville, Round Valley Chamber of Commerce, Eagar Police Department, Apache County Sheriff's Department, Department of Public Safety, Apache County, Navajo County Sheriff's Department, and White Mountain Regional Medical Center.
The Round Valley Chamber of Commerce Director stated that the Gathering was a "non-event" to the communities of Greer, Alpine, and Nutrioso. Springerville and Eagar businesses experienced some initial problems with theft or vandalism but the additional law enforcement presence curtailed those activities greatly. He felt that being prepared for the Gathering created a "deterrent" effect for Rainbows. He also mentioned that the local Safeway store was "thrilled" with its revenues. Asked about the numbers of tourists visiting the area he responded that as temperatures increased in Phoenix, tourism increased here.
Information from last year's Gathering in Oregon was very helpful to local residents and to agencies. It was felt that the community effects resulting from this year's Gathering were lessened due to the advanced preparation which resulted in Round Valley being better prepared and being considered a "success story."
The presence of DPS officers in the community and on the highways was discussed. Although some in the community felt the presence of the many law enforcement officers in the area was a bit much, the attendees at this meeting felt that because of the presence of the officers that the Gathering was wellmanaged and therefore few major incidents occurred.
The Eager Police Department reported that their activity increased 33% at a net cost to them of $3100. The Forest Service reported that they could exceed their planned budget by about $30,000 if site rehabilitation was not completed by the Rainbows. The White Mountain Regional Medical Center in Springerville reported a loss of "under $10,000." The Navopache Regional Medical Center did not realize a large impact. ACCHS personnel were very helpful. The triage tent and the ambulance service were used sparingly.
The Show Low Chamber of Commerce reported some theft/vandalism but also reported additional revenues from Rainbows and said that generally the Rainbows were polite. They thanked the various agencies for their outstanding support.
The Apache County Sheriff reported that their biggest problem was disabled vehicles near the Gathering site and that there were not a lot a major incidents. There was only 1 major traffic accident at the very beginning of the Gathering and that law enforcement officers had effectively reduced vehicle speed on the roads.
In response to a question to the Chamber director regarding a rumor that the Rainbows had "passed the magic hat" to reimburse local businesses that had experienced a loss, he said that had not happened. The law enforcement agencies did report a number of arrests and citations, as was expected, but they also received a "thanks" from numerous Rainbows who felt safer at the Gathering because of them. The Officers noted a substantial outflux of Rainbows before the July 4th ceremony because some Rainbows apparently did not like the look or feel of this Gathering.
The attendees at this meeting were very complimentary to the Incident Management Team and were thankful for the preparation that had made such a difference in this year's Gathering. It was noted by the Chamber director that he had already received a phone call from Wisconsin regarding a regional Rainbow event that will occur this Fall and they were asking for information to assist them in their preparations. More calls of a similar nature are expected as the 1999 Gathering nears.
Attached are two letters from the chambers of commerce at Show Low and at Pinetop-Lakeside.
07-23-98 10: 06PM
July 28, 1998
U.S. Forest Service
Lakeside AZ 85929
As per your phone request, I have taken the responsibility to call our businesses who I felt had the most experience with the Rainbow gathering.
Of all the merchants I spoke with, there were none that had any major problems. The grocery stores that did have problems, reported the problems happened in the beginning before the police department had extra officers on duty After the extra police support, what little problems they had Were minor.
The merchants complimented the coordination that took place between the U.S. Forest Service Incident Teem, the Show Low & Pinetop/Lakeside Police Departments and the Chambers' of Commerce. The businesses also appreciated the special visits from the Show Low Police Department.
D.E.S. Family Assistance reported small impact with people seeking cash assistance and state eligibility. Pharmacies, also received a small amount of the Rainbows . Laundrmats had quite a few with very few problems but there were some With people trying to do all of their laundry (even the ones they were wearing).
Most of the problems included; panhandling, dumpster diving, loitering, and shop lifting When the merchants asked the people to leave their businesses, they did so without having to use force.
Some of the businesses interviewed were as follows: Wal-Mart, K-mart, Food City, Big K-Mart, Circle K's, Shall Stations & convenience stores. Safeway, and Bashas. It sounds like Food City experienced the largest financial benefit of the grocery storm in Show Low.
Shell felt the most financial benefit was in propane sales. They received * 50% increase in propane sales.
Speaking for the Show Low Regional Chamber of Commerce, I want to the our sincere thanks and appreciation to the U.S. Forest Service, Show Low and area police departments, the Sheriffs Departments of Navajo and Apache Counties, and Department of Public Safety for the team effort end coordination during the Rainbow crisis.
To: Ed Collins-U.S. Forest Service
From: Elaine Szemesi-Pinetop Lakeside Chamber of Commerce
Re: Rainbow Gathering
I have contacted all the merchants who might have had a loss of inventory from the members of the Rainbow Gathering Circle K will not know until they do inventory sometime in mid-August.
McDonalts-Pinetop loss of inventory 4%-Springerville--10%
McDonald's was the only business that any loss or statistics to report. Safeway, Lauth's Sav Mor, fast food and regular restaurants-no loss of inventory and all members of the gathering were polite.
Please let me know if i can be of further assistance.