Out of Woodland, WA the first road travelers follow out of town is treacherous for those on foot. Many of those headed to the gathering on foot may be tempted to start the trek out of town without waiting to be picked up. There is virtually no shoulder in some areas making this a hazard no only for the travelers, but for the traffic on the road as well.
The local fire department and police are really trying to make this a safe trip for travelers. Contrary to some reports and rumors there have been few incidents that Woodland, WA has truly had to put up with during this time.
I spoke with Kevin, a local Fire Captain, and Donnie, the local police clerk about what travelers can do to make sure everyone makes it out of town to the gathering safely. The road that many are hitch hiking on seemed to be of great concern.
Kevin also noted that with Woodland having an estimated population of 5,000, the rainbow are creating a village in the woods six times larger than the town of Woodland itself. “Whenever you have that many people in one area, it doesn’t matter who you are, something is bound to happen,” Kevin stated.
Luckily the only incident the Fire Department has had to deal with was a cut hand that had been treated already by volunteers. It was unclear if those volunteers were members of CALM, the volunteer first-aid group that is made up of nurses, midwives, doctors, etc to provide immediate medical care to those at the gathering.
The local police have had to deal with very little reported incidents as well. During this interview a call came through with a complaint of aggressive panhandling which seems to be the most common complaint amongst the townspeople and business owners.
There have also been two arrests. The first was for public drunkenness. The second took place on the evening of June 29th when a drunk man stole a large metal banner pole from a local business and began to attack cars by the Napa Auto Parts store. Cars were literally forced to drive into the oncoming traffic lane to avoid being assaulted by the man and his pole. He has been charged with public drunkenness and theft.
So remember, if you have room in your car there are plenty trying to make it to the gathering on foot. Don’t forget your warm clothes as yes, there is still snow on the ground! Lastly, make sure to drive the speed limit and be kind to the locals. Doing this will make the last leg of the journey to the gathering safe for all. Happy Gathering!