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Prom party noise irritates park neighbors

Ken Klump, the prom adviser at North Valley High School for 10 years, said this year's soiree was as good as any he can recall.

"It was, by far, one of the best ones we've ever had," Klump said of the May 9 event that was held at Grants Pass' Reinhart Volunteer Park, formerly known as Riverside West All Sports Park, on a balmy spring evening.

But it wasn't such a positive thing for some neighbors of the park, who registered complaints with police about the noise that night and with city officials the following week.

Although Klump and other school officials insist the prom was not overly rowdy, the backlash was strong enough that the city of Grants Pass is reviewing its policy on event permits in parks.

"We're going to set up some new rules and guidelines," Laura Glover, the city's director of parks and community development, said. "We don't want to be bad neighbors."

Klump, who teaches metal shop at North Valley, said students enjoyed themselves, but the evening had some unpleasant moments for him.

Klump said one man even came to the event and confronted him about the noise. "He wasn't interested in any kind of reconciliation," Klump said.

City police logs for that evening list at least four callers complaining about loud music at the park after 10 p.m.

City police responded, but did little other than to inform Klump of the complaints.

After all, North Valley had a permit and was authorized to be at the park until 1 a.m. Because of the complaints, Klump said, organizers shut the party down at 11:30 p.m.

Klump also said school officials had complete control of the situation.

"We had over 30 chaperones and had valet parking," Klump said, as well as three school administrators. He estimated there were more than 200 students at the prom.

School officials also chased off some people who had been playing basketball and who tried to crash the party.

The issue might have ended when school officials swept the last of the debris into a dust pan if not for a letter sent to city officials and the Daily Courier by Wendy Gardner, one of the nearby residents who called police on the night of the prom.

She wrote that she and her husband "have had to endure extremely loud music with never ending bass, with a few hundred kids screaming and yelling, and announcers with a microphone until 11:30 p.m. for multiple events."

The other events Gardner referred to were parties held by Dutch Bros. last summer.