City and Ridge Riders Reach Agreement for Arena Use

The Vernonia City Council negotiated and approved a Settlement Agreement and a Memorandum of Agreement with the Vernonia Ridge Riders equestrian group  for use of the Equestrian Arena at Anderson Park.

Council is awaiting final approval from the Ridge Riders legal representative, but  both parties have agreed in principle to the terms of both agreements.

The Settlement Agreement concerns the dispute between the two parties over the validity of the most recent lease from August 2006 which has regulated use of the site.

The Settlement Agreement document mutually rescinds the 2006 lease and all prior agreements between the parties.  It also dismisses all claims in the matter that were scheduled to be heard in Columbia County Circuit Court. In addition, the Settlement Agreement states that use of Anderson Park Equestrian Arena will now be governed by the new Memorandum of Agreement between the two parties.

The new Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)  calls for the Ridge Riders to receive twelve  days of use at the arena per calendar year which begins February 1. Scheduled clean-up, preparation and maintenance days are exempt.  The Ridge Riders will also have two “community benefit days” per calendar year.  All other days of use will be subject to general equestrian permit and fees adopted by the City Council.  

The MOA requires the Ridge Riders to provide a schedule of their upcoming events by October 1, for the following year.  The MOA  requires the Ridge Riders to carry $2 million in insurance and maintain active non-profit status.  All  members must carry a valid Ridge Riders identification when on the premises.  The Ridge Riders will be responsible for paying water and electric utilities and for garbage removal.  The MOA is subject to renewal every five years.

According to the MOA, the Ridge Riders are responsible for maintenance of the arena area and the City is responsible for maintenance of the area surrounding the arena.

The City has the right to rent the arena to other users when it has not been reserved by the Ridge Riders.  Any improvements that are made to the arena or equestrian area are the property of the City of Vernonia.

The Ridge Riders may terminate the agreement at any time with thirty days notice to the City.  The agreement may be terminated at any time by mutual  consent of both parties.  The City may terminate the agreement if the Ridge Riders fail to comply with any terms or conditions within ten days of receiving written notice from the City specifying the nature of the failure to comply.