By Tom Hubka
Wescom Wire Service
BROOKINGS Perhaps the largest festival annually held at the Port of Brookings Harbor is in jeopardy of being cancelled, according to one of its co-founders.
The Slam'n Salmon Ocean Derby is currently off after officials from the derby, the Festival of the Arts and the Southern Oregon Kite Festival and declared all three Friday morning to be "on hold."
"Right now, there is no derby," Co-Founder Jim Relaford said.
Relaford said Derby official Leroy Blodgett met with port officials at the now notorious festival fee meetings Monday.
Blodgett had offered to build the port a new stage at Feb. 20's port meeting. On Monday, port officials and Blodgett agreed on the stage as a sufficient fee to hold the derby at the port this year.
The next morning, Relaford said he received a call from the port telling him an additional $200 deposit was needed. This, he said, was rejected by the derby's board of directors.
"We're prepared to build the stage," he said. "But if we have made an arrangement and all of the sudden the arrangement changes, then you lose a lot of confidence of who you're dealing with.
"If they require us to write a check for $200, there won't be a derby," he said.
Port Executive Director Dave Scott said the issue of the festivals and their fees will be addressed at the port's special meeting on Tuesday.
"It's in the best interest of the port to have these activities be conducted on port property," he said.
Relaford said the derby had annually paid a deposit of $200 for the last several years and never asked for them back. This year, the port had actually refused a $200 deposit, he said.
"We wanted to give them $200 again this year, but they wouldn't take it because they didn't know the fee," he said. "Either way, my goal is to have a derby."
Jo Mochulski, chairperson for the Festival of the Arts, said she is
considering stepping down from her role after the kite festival's Peggy
Freeman did so earlier this week.
"I was questioning being a chairperson," she said. "We are doing something
for the community and we've been treated like we've been treated. I don't
need that in my life."
Officials from all three festivals said they are open to further
negotiations that would lead to the events staying in the port.