June 27th, 2013 | Aaron Mesh News | Posted In: City Hall, CLEAN UP, Activism, Drugs

City Compiled Stats on Public Drunkenness and Urination at Last Thursday

Mayor Charlie Hales will attend tonight's Alberta Street festival; clean-up protest planned

     
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news3_lastthursday_3735REGULATORY NIGHTMARE: This may look wholesome, but some Alberta Street locals say Last Thursday gets out of hand after dark. - IMAGE: cameronbrowne.com

Tonight's Last Thursday is going to be a doozy.

Four days ago, the nonprofit board that runs the Alberta Street art festival resigned in protest when Mayor Charlie Hales' office told them the city would shut this month's event down one hour early, at 9 pm, using street sweepers with hoses.

Hales restored the curfew to 10 pm, but the Friends of Last Thursday board didn't return. The city is directly running tonight's 15-block bohemian free-for-all, and Hales' calendar shows he's personally attending—even as allies of the festival are planning to hold a "mobile protest and clean-up dance party."

WW first reported in May that Hales placed more than a dozen new requirements on Last Thursday. During their resignation June 24, the festival board said Hales' staffers had strong-armed them and moved the goalposts for success.

But a city document obtained by WW suggests what was actually motivating Hales—a list of crimes and misdemeanors from double-parking to public urination that the city observed last month.

The document, released by Hales' office in a records request, shows the city's Office of Neighborhood Involvement quietly sent 14 staffers to monitor behavior at the Last Thursday on May 30.

They logged hundreds of incidents in a spreadsheet—and almost no examples of Last Thursday volunteers asking rule-breakers to stop.

In one hour between 9:30 and 10:30 pm on Alberta Street, city staffers recorded 56 cases of people drinking in the right of way, 54 reports of the "odor of marijuana" ("too many times to count," wrote one staffer) and seven people urinating in the street.

The city also recorded 58 people publicly intoxicated, including 43 on a single block between Northeast 24th and 25th avenues. ("Not sure what's going on here," a supervisor notes on the incident log.) One staffer reported a "young woman passed out on a bench who was too drunk to awaken" on the 1600 block.
 
On the side streets around Alberta, ONI staff recorded 17 beer bottles thrown into the street and yards—and 81 cars blocking driveways, including one block where homeowners used their cars to block their own driveways so Last Thursday visitors couldn't.

The list shows that Friends of Last Thursday provided the port-a-potties and volunteers the mayor's office required. But ONI staff recorded only two cases of volunteers asking people to stop breaking the law.

Last Thursday revelers have a long history of clashing with City Hall regulations and annoyed neighbors.

King Neighborhood Association Chairman Alan Silver sent a letter to then-Mayor Sam Adams in 2011 complaining “neighbors have found dented cars, garbage and tire tracks on their lawns, damaged private property, used condoms and vandalism.”

Adams made Friends of Last Thursday start paying for city permits. Hales has said he will make the street fair abide by the rules other street events have.

The city will send out bureau of transportation street sweepers tonight at 10 pm. “When shops open in the morning, they’ll find their neighborhood ready for business as usual,” Hales said in a statement today.

But longtime Last Thursday supporters are planning a clean-up march, protest and dance party at 9:45 pm—15 minutes before the city moves in.

"This is our home, and we can take back our streets and celebrate being alive together if we want to, we don't need permission to do it," the clean-up march's Facebook page says. "But it sends a stronger message the more we can take responsibility for our parties, and our neighborhood, and do it the right way."

 
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