Outdoor Mass Gatherings
Regulations for an outdoor mass gathering in rural Marion County
What is an “outdoor mass gathering”?
Marion County Code Chapter 9.25 allows an outdoor mass gathering of people in unincorporated areas of the county through a permit issued by the Board of Commissioners, following a public hearing.
When is a permit required?
An Outdoor Mass Gathering permit is required for “small gatherings” with an estimated attendance of 751–3000 persons for 6 to 120 hours within any continuous 3-month period (includes time in excess of 48 hours necessary to set up event or clean up afterward). The board may approve a subsequent small gathering within three months of a prior small gathering on the same property. If a second small gathering is approved, no third small gathering shall be allowed within six months of the first small gathering.
A small outdoor mass gathering permit can be issued for a one-time, one year event, or a renewable permit, which is renewable for up to four years. For a renewable permit, once the first annual small gathering permit is issued by the Board, a yearly renewal permit request can be submitted to the Planning Division. A decision is issued by the Planning Director.
An Outdoor Mass Gathering permit is also required for "large gatherings" with an estimated attendance of 3001+ or more than 750 persons at any time on each of 3 calendar days that continues, or is expected to continue, for more than 120 hours (includes time in excess of 48 hours necessary to set up event or clean up afterward). A Conditional Use permit from the Planning Division for this type of event is also required. The board may consider applications for both permits at one public hearing.
Events with an estimated attendance of less than 750 persons do not require an Outdoor Mass Gathering permit from Marion County. Also, events with less than or equal to 3,000 but more than 750 persons held at wineries with valid land use permits, or conducted at state parks, are not subject to Chapter 9.25. Events conducted on property with a valid land use permit issued for the event or events conducted on property where the event is a pre-existing nonconforming use also are not subject to Chapter 9.25.
Be advised that the county also has noise regulations, outlined in
Ordinance #1273, that control noise levels, based on time-of-day, as well as permit and exclude certain types of noise. Any person planning the use of a sound producing device that may violate any provision of this ordinance may apply for a variance from these provisions. Please note
Noise Variance applications must be submitted at least 35 days prior to the event.
How, when and where do I apply for an outdoor mass gathering permit?
You can download an Outdoor Mass Gathering application (pdf format) or obtain one from the Planning Division. This should be done as far in advance of the event as possible, but no later than 45 days prior. The application form requires information on:
- estimated attendance;
- nature of the event including times and activities;
- sound amplification;
- copy of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission permit, if applicable;
- fireworks used or shown;
- proposed fire protection plan approved by the applicable fire district;
- health and medical plan approved by the County Environmental Health Division relating to water supply, sewerage facilities, refuse storage and disposal, food and sanitary service, and emergency medical facilities ;
- public safety plan approved by the County Sheriff’s Office addressing adequate parking and crowd control provided by the Organizer ;
- possible insurance requirements from County Risk Management;
- parking and traffic control plan approved by the County Public Works Director
Is There a fee for this permit?
Yes. A large gathering is $5000 and a small gathering is $2500. Please note these fees cover only the cost of the county Outdoor Mass Gathering Permit. Other agencies involved may have permit or review fees. The Noise Variance application mentioned above has a $500 fee which is waived if it is submitted in conjunction with a Mass Gathering application. Subsequent renewal of an approved Small Mass Gathering Permit is $500 per year.
What is the process once a permit application has been submitted?
The Planning Division will schedule the mandatory public hearing before the Board of Commissioners. Planning staff will request comments from other county departments and affected agencies. The event organizer may be required to meet with county officials to discuss and clarify the application.
Planning staff will prepare a staff report and a copy is mailed to the organizer and property owner. Notice of the public hearing will be mailed not less than 20 days prior to the scheduled hearing to the organizer, property owner, and other property owners within 1500 feet. After the public hearing, the board will issue an order denying or approving the request based on whether or not it complies with the criteria in Chapter 9.25.
How do I renew my Small Mass Gathering Permit?
In the first year, the small gathering application is reviewed by the Board (see previous section). If the request is approved, it may be renewed up to four additional consecutive years.
For a renewal, the applicant submits the application to the Planning Division. After reviewing the application, any complaints received about the event in the prior year, or information that the applicant failed to satisfy the conditions in the prior year, the Planning Director may grant a renewal, deny the request, or refer it to the Board for consideration following a public hearing.
A renewal permit is subject to all requirements in Chapter 9.25 and any conditions imposed by the Board for the first year. If the Planning Director renews an annual small gathering permit, notice will be sent to property owners within the required notification area. Notice will include the date or dates of the event, any permit conditions originally imposed by the Board, and information for neighbors to contact the Planning Director with any complaints or concerns.
What about hours of operation?
When sound amplification is used, no outdoor mass gathering shall be conducted within 1,000 feet of any neighboring residence between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. If written consent from neighboring property owners and residents is submitted the board may modify these hours.
Use of Alcohol
The sale and consumption of intoxicating liquor is allowed from a facility located on the premises of an outdoor mass gathering only if the express approval of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission has been obtained.
Who controls the event?
The Organizer shall keep a reasonable count of persons and vehicles entering and leaving. If the number of persons or vehicles attending exceeds by 10% or more the number estimated in the permit application, the Sheriff’s Office has the authority to require the Organizer to limit further admissions until a sufficient number of individuals or vehicles have left the site. The Sheriff’s Office has the authority to order the crowd to disperse if the Organizer cannot or refuses to maintain order and compliance with conditions of the permit.
What happens after the event?
The Organizer is required to remove all debris or residue from the event site or adjacent property within 72 hours after the event, and remove all temporary structures within three weeks after the event. If the site is not restored to its previous condition, the county may arrange for clean up, and then file for damages against the organizer and the landowner.
For more information contact:
- Marion County Planning Division: (503) 588-5038 or
- Fire protection: your local fire district or State Fire Marshal at (503) 373-1540
- Health and medical: County Health Dept. (503) 588-5387
- Public safety: Marion County Sheriff’s Office (503) 588-5094
- Parking/traffic control: Public Works Engineering (503) 584-7714
- Insurance requirements: Marion County Risk Management (503) 373-4426
- Oregon Liquor Control Commission: (503) 260-6122 or (503) 260-6114