A music festival that was canceled Monday appears to be a casualty of the conflict over redevelopment of an old industrial building on Southwest Century Drive.
The Century Center, the site of the Bend Roots Revival for the past two years, will not host the event as planned on Sept. 21-23, owner Dave Hill said Tuesday. Hill said he recently decided not to hold this or any other outdoor event until he receives final approval of several land-use applications.
Nosler, a bullet and firearms manufacturer behind the Century Center, filed notices on Aug. 13 of its intent to appeal two of Hill's development applications to the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals.
“The appeals just happened," Hill said. “I didn't anticipate those."
Steven Hultberg, a lawyer for Nosler, said the company appealed two land-use decisions by the city of Bend because of concerns about increased traffic from the Century Center. An exit road from the center runs through Nosler's employee parking lot.
City planners approved the two land-use applications administratively, without a public process for Nosler and other neighbors to raise concerns, Hultberg said.
“There is no connection between our appeals and the music festival," Hultberg said.
Nosler spokesman Zach Waterman said the company supports the Bend Roots Revival.
“Nosler's been in Bend since 1958," Waterman said. “We're big supporters of this ... city and we like to see events like the Roots festival."
Hill's long-term plans for the former Brightwood mill, which manufactured wood products, include a new parking lot, additional retail space and a 60-seat theater for movies and plays, according to city development documents.
Earlier this year, Hill applied to change the use of existing mill buildings to pursue those plans.
In July, Bend planners administratively approved the two applications and determined the development would not create enough new traffic for the city to require the Century Center to make street improvements. These are the decisions that Nosler plans to appeal.
Bend planning manager Colin Stephens said the Century Center also has an application with the city to modify an earlier site plan to reflect how Hill developed the existing parking lot and indoor event center. The city could have initiated code enforcement against the Century Center because this redevelopment and construction did not reflect what the city previously approved, Stephens said. However, the city is working with the Century Center to fix the problem.
Tuesday morning, Jesse Roberts, one of the revival organizers, said he planned to appeal to Hill to change his mind and allow the revival at the Century Center this year. Roberts is the director of Rise Up, a nonprofit community arts group that organizes the revival.
The event has taken place for seven years, and organizers said on their website that more than 4,000 people attended annually in recent years. The free festival features roughly 100 local acts and educational workshops, and organizers call it “the largest 'locals' festival in Central Oregon."
“Essentially we've been planning this festival since February, and we were kind of notified by the Century Center last Thursday or Friday that they were going to have to cancel with us based on some disputes they had with Nosler," Roberts said.
“I kind of feel like we were put in the middle of this," Roberts said. “I don't feel like we have adequate notice for them to cancel on us with less than a month to go.... I'm still hopeful Century will change their mind."
In its early years, Bend Roots Revival was at the Parrilla Grill and The Victorian Cafe on the west side of Bend. Since 2010, Hill allowed organizers of the Bend Roots Revival to hold the event at the center free of charge. Hill said he only canceled outdoor events and still planned to hold indoor events, such as concerts, fundraisers and weddings.
“If things get resolved, the (Bend Roots Revival) can resume next year," Hill said. “If things don't get resolved, it may not happen there again. I just don't know at this point."