I just got back from Watershed Festival at The Gorge. It was great, but I have some complaints and the solution is the proposed expansion. Here's why the residents of Grant County should agree to the proposal:

The neighbors of The Gorge Amphitheater say weekend concert goers are disrespectful, leaving trash in people's yards, parking on private property, pooping or peeing on private property. Also, the county has a poor record for handling the increased traffic and garbage. Here's why the proposed expansion would help.

The owners of the amphitheater want to expand camping areas and build more permanent facilities like showers, restrooms, restaurants and cabins. This would allow more people to attend, thus increasing the problems (in the minds of neighbors).


The current facilities are woefully inadequate, causing concert goers to look elsewhere for places to pee, get water, find shade, throw trash away, etc. If the facilities were improved, the attendees would stay at the amphitheater and be cleaner and more orderly.

Let's go over the specifics:

Porta-Potties are not adequate for 25,000 people. If you're going to use that option, they must all be cleaned and emptied daily -- and they weren't. That's ridiculous.

The free carnival included a water slide, but are all 25,000 going to be able to use that to cool off? To prevent heat stroke, there has got to be a pool or water park built. A lot of campers build mini-pools and in previous years Watershed had a water truck that drove around offering to refill people's pools. This year, nothing. Anytime you went to the garden hoses, there'd be a line of 20 people waiting to fill up a trash can and wheel it to their pools.

The camping spots become a village with thousands and thousands of RVs. These RVs need hookups.

The showers are closed at night to prevent kids from having sex in the stalls. Really? People want to shower at the end of a long, hot day. Solve that problem, people.

You pay $280 for a camping spot, then they shrink them every year to allow more people in. That's my area. It's where I love for several days. Don't shrink it and charge me the same or more!

Bottom line is if you're paying $280 for camping and $175 for a ticket, the facilities should be adequate for your toilet, shower and water needs. It is precisely because they are not adequate that neighbors see the less respectful attendees spilling over into their properties.

And Grant County needs to take better advantage of those 25,000 people. Instead of being bitter, the neighbors need to set up stalls selling ice, sunscreen, water, snacks and maybe even crafts! There should be food trucks, and outdoor movies. The amphitheater should profit the entire community, not just the owners. Grant County could facilitate this by helping people get business licenses.