August 19th, 2008 5:33 pm | by Anna Dukehart News | Posted In: CLEAN UP

Taste of Tanasbourne Attracts Unexpected Visitors

Tags: Mice
If you were out and about during last weekend's heatwave, you may have heard about the Taste of Tanasbourne, an outdoor festival created to showcase local Hillsboro and surrounding area businesses. Put on by P-Town Productions, the event featured local musicians and vendors selling handmade arts and crafts, food and wine. The festival was located in a field directly where the new Kaiser Permanente facility will be built on the corner of 194th Terrace and Venetian Drive in Hillsboro and took place over the sweltering Aug. 15 weekend.

While most festival goers went to sample the fine food, drink wine and shop for crafts, they instead got unexpected guests scurrying around their feet and dust blowing in their faces. Several mice were reported around the vending tables over the weekend, as well as large dirt mounds and dust blowing up from the ground.

Tara McKnight of St. Josef's Winery in Canby, who paid $350 for her booth at the festival, said that on top of the awful heat, customers had a terrible time walking over the dirt mounds. "I'm surprised no one broke their ankle because I saw so many women catching their heels in the dirt," she said. (McKnight noted that both vendors and customers made the best of the situation.)

Marianne Scrivner of P-Town Productions explained that Kaiser, who owns the field, had asked them not to level the field and dig up the mice holes because the managed-care giant was about to start construction on a new medical clinic there. "We were sorely disappointed ourselves," Scrivner said. "But we just found out too late that Kaiser didn't want us to change anything on the field." She also explained that the production company made it clear to vendors before the weekend began as to where the exact field was. Scrivner said while they did not receive any complaints from customers, they felt the condition of the field was out of their control.

Jan York of Ziga Murals said the festival was very unpleasant with all the mice running around and the dust covering her artwork. "I gave them [P-Town Productions] feedback and let them know I wasn't happy with the event," she said, "It was nothing they had promised, and not only did I lose money with so few customers, some of my artwork was ruined from the dust."

Scrivner explained that there was little they could do after the Washington County health inspectors had already approved of the vendors and the area they were set up in. Toby Harris of the Washington County Health Department explained that they had no authority over the actual site of the event, and that inspectors were only sent out once the vendors were set up. Harris said the permits were given to the vendors, and not for the site. She also said the health inspectors did not know about the mice in the booths or the excessive dust until after the weekend.

John Platt, owner of Helvetia Vineyard in Hillsboro, said the festival's unfortunate inclusion of mice and severe dust caused a very unpleasant situation for both customers and vendors. Both Platt and York are asking for a refund of the fee they paid in order to set up their booths. While several other vendors would not comment directly about the festival, all agreed that they were unhappy with the event.

Scrivner says P-Town Productions is in the process of considering giving refunds to certain vendors they feel had goods damaged or were otherwise deserving of a refund. Meanwhile, they are also attempting to compensate all vendors who participated last weekend—by giving them complimentary passes to future art events P-Town Productions puts on.

[Image at top: WW photo-manipulation. No mice were harmed in the production of this post.]
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