City council softens noise law, and The Horned Hand is closing (its physical location, at least)

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013, 11:14 am by Ben Salmon

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Newsy night on the local music scene last night. Since I have to get tomorrow’s GO! Magazine out the door, here’s a quick recap:

The Bend City Council took the first step toward approving changes to its noise ordinance. Those changes are designed to clean up and clarify language that a judge deemed too vague late last year as he dismissed a noise-code violation citation against the Colorado Avenue music venue The Horned Hand, which was issued last August.

Before approving those changes, though, the council made two additional changes to the law, both of which seem to favor event promoters and venue owners: Police are now required to use decibel meters before issuing a citation to a business that has received a noise complaint, and the fine for a first offense is now $250, down from a maximum of $750.

– Before the votes, The Horned Hand’s owner, Wesley Ladd, announced that he is closing the venue “within two months.” Initially, he mentioned the “strife” caused by the noise code and other issues as a reason, but after the meeting, he clarified to The Source Weekly, saying something I’ve been hearing him talk about for a while now:

At one point on Wednesday night, Ladd told the council he was closing The Horned Hand in part because of “strife” related to issues like the noise ordinance, but clarified later that the city, particularly the police department, has been very easy to work with and that the closure was more related to the difficulty of operating a music venue with a young family.

This morning on Frequency’s Facebook page, Ladd reiterated the family-related reasons behind the Hand’s closure, and said he and his partner, Callie Young, would continue to be involved in Bend’s music scene:

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Over the past several months, Ladd (among others) has been working to open Nectar of the Gods Meadery. Coincidentally, the council also approved a liquor license for the company’s facility on Second Street in Bend Wednesday night, shortly before discussing the noise ordinance.

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