The Price of Security
Stopping truck-born terrorists raises event costs.
From the October, 2017 issue
Grizzly Peak Brewing Company didn't realize that holding its Oktoberfest on W. Washington at the end of September would require six cement security barricades until "we applied for the permit sixty days in advance," says general manager Stacy Baird. "With that late of notice I couldn't accommodate the cost of $3,500."
Grizzly Peak's been holding its Oktoberfest in the street for fifteen years. "Last year we had snow fencing and regular barriers," says Baird. "We didn't pay for those. They were just supplied by the city."
"The first time we required [concrete barriers] was for last year's Art Fair," explains AAPD chief Jim Baird (no relation to Stacy). "It was one week to the day after the truck attack in Nice, France, and I had a heightened sense of keeping half a million people safe.
"It was very last-minute and very expensive, but we had to take steps. If we had a truck of substantial size coming down Main St. from the north, normal barriers wouldn't have slowed it down. We can protect people with these barricades."
The chief says he "dropped the idea on our public works manager Molly Maciejewski the day after the attack. She rented them, and after the event she said we should probably purchase them." The city did, but it's still required to recover the expense of installing and removing them. Baird says $3,500 is "how much it costs to move six of them on one truck."
The change, and charge, are likely to be permanent. "The threat isn't going away," says Baird. "The city is discussing how we could do this without hauling these things around. One idea is to have barriers built into new infrastructure."
Over on E. Washington, Arbor Brewing Company went ahead with its own Oktoberfest despite the increased cost. But the decision "was very close for us," says marketing director Dave Cicotte. "It's a heavy price tag. Having the barricades is close to doubling our costs. We had to really think if we wanted to do it. We understand the necessity, but we'll have to really think about this in the future."
Grizzly Peak's Baird also gets the necessity. "I was in Barcelona this year just before the [truck] attack [there]. It's completely understandable. I hope that's what they would do. And I'll factor the cost into the budget and do it next year. We love bringing people downtown."
[Originally published in October, 2017.]
On October 3, 2017, Pete Meek wrote:
A $3500 bet against a 1 in (however many events are happening in the world) chance that terrorists (or even a drunk idiot) will drive into a crowd. Hmmm; I don't think I would even consider a bet at odds like that at the track.
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