Hello QCC Family and Friends!
Pride is fast approaching and we are very excited for our upcoming festival. With a great lineup of entertainers, sponsors, dedicated volunteers, and our fabulous community, we are ready for us to all be together on June 24th, 2023. We want to share additional information on how to prepare for the event, but first want to share some of the key logistics details for the day.
As you all know, as a brand new organization, Queer Creators Collective took on Pride just over 4 months ago when typically, there are several months of planning, preparation, and logistics that go into hosting such an event. We have been working closely with Bend Parks & Rec, The City of Bend, and our community, to ensure that Pride is ADA accessible and safe. We have spent countless hours walking through Drake Park, working with vendors for security, fencing, ADA pathways, and countless other details that go into planning for Pride. Unfortunately, with the construction in Drake Park and the current flow/logistics of foot traffic for the park, we believe we are unable to provide the level of safety and accessibility necessary to feel comfortable with Drake Park as our location for Pride this year.
While we are disappointed in this reality, we made the tough decision to be extra intentional with securing a location that we believe will provide the level of safety and accessibility needed for Pride in 2023. We recognize that moving from Drake Park this year is a shift of Pride in the downtown Bend area, but we are unwilling to compromise the safety of our community. We recognize this may be disappointing to some of you as well, and for that we are truly sorry. At the same time, we are grateful for your trust in us to do what is best for our community, both Queer and Central Oregon as a whole.
With that, we are excited to announce we will be hosting 2023 Bend Pride at Central Oregon Community College, Bend Campus. The physical space of COCC allows for increased accessibility and the safety expectations that QCC has for hosting Pride.
Pride will commence in the same fashion of celebration and protest that LGBTQIA2S+ lives have held as an anthem for years, for our lives and our safety, is a non-negotiable. With this as our north star, we thank you for your patience and dedication to this as well.
To continue moving us forward, please check out the Pride overview page as you prepare to be a part of Pride 2023. We will continue to update our page with Pride festival details, the Art and Fashion Show and many other exciting local events. The Queer community has so much in store for all of you this year!
We want to thank you again for your investment in Pride, the Queer community, and the Queer Creators Collective. While our decision was a tough one, we believe it is the right decision for all of us.
RJ, Jake, Jordan, Van, James, Ahdri, Isaac, and Stefanie
The Queer Creators Collective Board of Directors
Why did you move Pride?
QCC worked closely with Bend Parks and Rec to be able to host Pride at Drake Park. At the park there is current construction happening that would prevent ADA accessibility to the community at large in the park area. Because of this, community members with ADA accessibility needs would have to go through the Pride security checkpoints to get from one side to the next.
While we were 100% okay with that reality, the State of Oregon has open carry laws and at this time we could not prevent humans with firearms from entering into the Pride space as it is their legal right. This was something we were trying to find a solution for and were unable to in the timeframe in which we had to make a decision for where Pride would be hosted.
How did you land on Central Oregon Community College?
In the short timeframe we had to make decisions, QCC reached out to several vendors who may be able to host 2000+ people for a festival. Each vendor had its own restrictions, whether that be space, availability, or rules with regard to food and alcohol.
COCC Leadership were able to work with us on our short time frame that met the needs of our space expectations, no firearms and weapons, and would allow for food and beverage to be at Pride.
What do booth sponsors, entertainment, and community members need to know about attending Pride?
Our goal from the start has been and will always be safety. Your safety is our top priority. We cannot emphasize this enough. While we recognize that we are less than 2 weeks away from Pride, we were hopeful a solution could be met with regard to keeping Pride at Drake park, putting all of the necessary safety needs in place, and providing accessibility.
We weren’t able to have the clear answers we wanted on fencing, ADA paths, and weapons. Our decision was a tough one, and we stand by it.
We apologize if this decision has created additional inconvenience as our decision is 100% with you all in mind and in service of your experience at Pride.
Why did it take so long to assign booth spaces and requirements for booth sponsors?
Since QCC could not secure a solidified answer on our perimeter fencing, ADA paths, and clear answers on weapons in the park, we were unable to provide the immediate clarity we had planned for that would allow each and every one of you to plan for Pride accordingly.
While we are pivoting locations, we have released a planning for Pride guide and booth placements will come by June 20th, 2023.
Are there threats to the community that we need to be aware of?
As many of you know the rise in protests and threats to the LGBTQIA2S+ community are high. In some ways they have always been high but these threats are being highlighted in new ways. We encourage each of you to remain vigilant, work with our team and the hired security to continue pursuing a safe and harm free environment for everyone.