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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor

SUBJECT: City and Hempfest settle lawsuit

3/22/2011  12:00:00 PM
Kimberly Mills  (206) 684-8602

The collegial settlement of a federal lawsuit against the City by Hempfest organizers paves the way for the 20th annual event at its traditional location, Myrtle Edwards Park.

Under the March 18 agreement, the City will issue a permit for Hempfest 2011 to occur at the waterfront park on Aug. 19, 20 and 21, subject to the conditions placed on the permit by the City’s Special Events Committee. In turn, Seattle Events, which puts on the festival, will dismiss the pending lawsuit in U.S. District Court.

Planned construction of the Thomas Street Overpass project in Myrtle Edwards Park this summer created a potential conflict with the festival, prompting Hempfest to file a lawsuit. The City and Hempfest quickly reached a compromise where Hempfest agreed to postpone its request for immediate relief from the Court and the City agreed to solicit alternative bids for the project that would allow Hempfest to be held in the park. When the bids were announced on March 16, it was clear that the construction timetable would not interfere with the festival. The City and Hempfest then entered into a memorandum of understanding that will allow the festival to proceed at Myrtle Edwards Park in August 2011.

City Attorney Pete Holmes noted his appreciation that Hempfest organizers agreed to put the litigation on hold while the City worked on a solution for the scheduling conflict.

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