The Rainbow Family of Living Light will hold its annual Rainbow Gathering on the Malheur National Forest, on the Blue Mountain Ranger District near the towns of John Day and Seneca in Eastern Oregon, U.S. Forest Service officials announced Friday. The gathering could draw anywhere from 10,000 to 30,000 people. Participants are currently beginning to arrive and officials expect attendance to peak the week of July 4th.
Law enforcement agencies in many part of Oregon, including locally, have been monitoring the plans since it was learned earlier this year that the gathering might return to the state for the first time since 1997, when it was held in the Ochoco National Forest east of Prineville. The event has been held in different locations annually since 1972, usually on National Forest land.
Any event of this size can have significant impacts on local communities, natural resources, traffic, and visitors, according to the Forest Serivce announcement, which said businesses can expect to see large numbers of Rainbow Family participants visiting stores, buying food and supplies along routes to the gathering site.
The Forest Service has established an incident management team consisting of natural resource specialists, law enforcement officers, health and safety coordinators, and community liaisons. The incident management team is coordinating closely with county officials and law enforcement officers to provide for public safety and resource protection.