The Rainbow Family was determined to provide adequate water from natural sources rather than truck in bulk water. They eventually tied into six springs no piped water into the site. Towards the end of the gathering most of the springs began to dry up, but they were able to keep up with the demand.

Water quality was a constant concern for the Rainbow Family. The Oregon State Department of Health was diligent in providing technical assistance and monitoring the Gathering to ensure that minimum standards were met. Health Department officials repeatedly advised Family members that all natural waters whould be considered contaminated and boiled, chlorinated or filtered before use. Family members persistently asked officials to test their water supplies. Health officials tested the water for bacteria early on. The results confirmed that total coliforms were present in all the springs and that one of the Families' water pipe had a presence of fecal coliform. The pipe was treated with a bleach solution and the fecal coliform did not show up in further testing. Agency officials remained firm in their advice and no water-borne illnesses were reported.

Also, there were several ponds located in a gravel source that were within eight miles of the gathering. The State Health officials were very concerned that members of the Rainbow Family might swim in these areas which were probably contaminated. The Forest Service posted signs in the areas that warned of the health threat. There was no known swimming in the area.

See attached memorandums and reports from the Oregon State Health Department for additional information concerning water.





Drinking Water Section Eastern Region

July 6, 1997

To: Health Division Administration

From: Gary Burnett, Jim Maben

Re: Rainbow Gathering Update - June 30 through July 5

Jim set up his travel trailer at Ochoco Ranger Station Monday, June 30, and we both went to the gathering site Monday evening. We noted a significant population increase since Saturday when we had left. Our objectives for the week were as follows:

- Coordinate with Crook County Health Department staff and a County Commissioner who planned to visit the site on Wednesday.

- Observe the situation at near peak population on July 3.

- Touch base with medical doctors who are with the Rainbows to check their assessment of potential medical problems.

- Take another set of water samples, especially to see if recent rainfall had affected water quality.

- Check to see how many more kitchens had been set up, and continue education / technical assistance activities as needed.

On Tuesday, July 1, Ron Hall (ESC) went to the site with us. We noted there were about 16 18 kitchens total. That was good news, because we had been hearing that there may be 50 or more.

On Wednesday the following people went to the site with us: From Crook County Health Department; Connie Hoffstetter, Administrator, & Dianne Koops; Frank Porfily, Commissioner. From the Health Division; Hal Nauman (ESC), Emilio DeBess (CDPE), Kari Salis & Bart Stepp (DWS). Forest Service staff transported the Crook County people, who left about 11:30 a.m. Bart Stepp left the site about 2 pm after collecting water samples and returned to Prineville with Forest Service staff. He returned to Pendleton about 7:30 p.m. to get samples into the lab. Emilio visited the Rainbow medical tents (C.A.L.M) and met Dr. James Berg, one of the key medical doctors with the Rainbows. Kari Salis delivered the stool sample kits that Dr. Berg had requested.

John A. Kitzhaber


700 SE Emigrant

Pendleton, OR 97801

24-26 (Rev 2/95)

Page 2 of 2, Memorandum

Rainbow Update

July 6, 1997

On Thursday, July 3, Jim Maben and I met with Chuck Brown at the Incident Command Center to review the situation status. In general, the Rainbow Family seems to be in tune with water and food safety issues and they have an internal program with "responsible" people who seem to keep things under control. The number of toilet latrines may be a little insufficient at this point, but people seem to get by. Lots of dogs, but Rainbows seem to keep up with that problem too. The gravel ponds and other stagnate water in the area have been posted to prevent swimming. Quite a few Rainbows are swimming at Walton Lake nearby which is a fee use area. So far, diarrhea cases observed by C.A.L.M staff seem to be "chilly weather, change in diet, change in altitude" stress. With the help of one of the Rainbow girls, we developed a "Health Rap" in Rainbow language, which reviewed handwashing, and water and food safety. Several Rainbows hand copied it for posting on various bulletin boards (along with HD Hand Wash signs) and distribution to all the kitchens.

On Saturday, July 5, Ron Hall and Hal Nauman visited the site again. Estimated peak population for July 4 is about 25,000. Water supply is apparently short, maybe because of heavy use of showers? Jim and I noted long lines at the water supply pipe outlets on Thursday. Both Forest Service and Hal Nauman report a large exodus, 360 vehicles per hour leaving on Saturday. The Forest Service is starting to reduce hours and staffing at the command center, and will begin transferring management of the project to the Ranger District.

Jim Maben and I are going to the site again and will spend Monday afternoon and Tuesday there. We plan to spend some time Tuesday reviewing the status with Forest Service staff, and perhaps we should schedule a conference call for about 9:00 a.m. Tuesday. Unless we hear otherwise, we will head home Tuesday night.

(503) 276-8006



Drinking Water Section Eastern Region


July 4, 1997

FAX 541-416-9700

To: Chuck Brown, Ken Lydy

From: Gary Burnett, Health Division

Re: Rainbow Gathering Schedule and Water Sample Results

Ron Hall-and Hal Nauman will be visiting the site on Saturday, July 5, and then Jim and I will be returning on Monday, July 7 Ron and Hal would like Ken to accompany (and transport) them on Saturday since we understand Chuck will not be available.

I have attached 3 pages; one is drinking water sample results, the second is streamwater results, and the third page is what I call the "Health Rap". I suggest that Ron and Hal can give copies of the drinking water results to the Rainbows, and post them at the cooperations bulletin board. I want to discuss the streamflow results with DEQ and you before I give them out.

The first page indicates drinking water results at venous pipe outlets and the list is organized according to the supply spring source. There are 6 water supply springs on the site. One is Thompson Spring, the existing roadside pipe with the stock trough. On the cast slope of Indian Prairie the Rainbows developed (north to South) Sun Dog, High, and Hellbore Springs by pushing pipe into the spring outflow. These were done without disturbing the surface, and collect spring water in a relatively sanitary manner. Further south of Hellbore Spring, and additional spring box was installed above NYC Kitchen, but this just supplies NYC and a few tent campers in the area. (I didn't know about this source until Saturday, June 28). The other spring is down the trail along the East Fork of 'Thompson Creek across ham Tea Time Kitchen.

Only one result out of 22 showed fecal coliform/E.coli, and that was the sample taken from the black pipe connected to the Thompson Spring roadside pipe (1/4 mile downstream). 1 assisted the Rainbows in disinfecting and flushing the High Spring pipelines on Thursday, June 26, and they did the other pipelines on Friday.

The second page of results are stream samples taken for an E Coli count. The count varied from /100 nil to 91/100 ml. The wastewater discharge standard is 126/100 ml, but I need to review the streamflow water quality standards to really evaluate these numbers.

The "Health Rap" was written July 3 by me and one of the Rainbow girls, sort of in Rainbow lingo After we had a draft we liked, several Rainbows started copying it for posting on venous bulletin boards and distribution to all the kitchens

John A. Kitzhaber


700 SF. Emigrant

Pendleton, OR 97801

Rainbow Gathering Water Testing Results 7/3/97



Sun Dog Spring

Pipe Outlet at trail 06/19/97 yes no

Katadyn Filter 06/19/97 no no

Main Trail 06/26/97 yes no

Trail Pipe 06/28/97 yes no

Pipe Outlet at trail 07/02/97 yes no

Thompson Spring

Pipe Leak above Trough 06/19/97 no no

Pipe down road from Trough 06/19/97 yes yes

Spring 06/26/97 yes no

Pipe Leak above Trough 07/02/97 yes no

High Spring

Sprout Kitchen 06/25/97 yes no

Sprout Camp Tap 06/28/97 yes no

Barrel off Bliss Kitchen Filter 07/02/97 no no

Handwash above Corporations 07/02/97 yes no

Tea Time Spring

Tap 06/27/97 yes no

Tap at Creek 07/02/97 yes no

Hellbore Spring

Kiddie Camp Hose Bib 06/25/97 yes no

Pipe at Spring 06/25/97 yes no

Spring 06/25/97 yes no

Shower 06/25/97 yes no

Tap Above Lightening Shower 06/28/97 yes no

Tap Above Lightening Shower 07/02/97 yes no

Spring Above NYC Kitchen 07/01/97 yes no

Rainbow Gathering Water Testing Results 7/3/97



Creek 06/19/97 yes yes 3

Gravel Pond 06/28/97 yes no

East Fork Thompson Creek 06/26/97 6

East Fork Thompson Creek 07/02/97 91





Drinking Water Section Eastern Region

June 29, 1997

To: Chuck Brown, Forest Service Incident Command Team

From: Gary Burnett, Jim Maben

Re: Rainbow Gathering, Update for Week of June 23

Jim Maben and I were on site Wednesday June 25 through Saturday June 28 last week. The following information is to provide an update on the situation.


Our objective is to prevent a public health problem or disease outbreak through education and technical assistance. We are advising the USFS and the Rainbow Family. We are doing this by presenting information to large groups when possible, and individuals. Obviously, the implications of a large outbreak are profound, not only on gatherers, but the surrounding communities, health providers, and Health Division.

Current Status and General Description

Forest Service estimates there are now 9,000 people at the site as of this morning (Sunday). There are large areas designated for parking off the main forest road, starting about 3 miles from the "Welcome Home Gate" at Indian Prairie. Many people walk the forest road back and forth from the gathering site, and there are shuttle vehicles running back and forth. Needless to say, traffic management is becoming a huge problem.

The main gathering activities are located adjacent to an old "jeep trail" which runs in a northsouth through Indian Prairie (about 1.5 miles). The jeep trail has been closed to motor vehicles for many years with typical Forest Service barricades at each end where the trail connects to open forest roads. Most people walk, perhaps with hand carts or wagons to haul personal gear, some are using mountain bikes. The "back gate" is the main supply route for the rainbows, but supplies are transported by hand carts or backpacks; no motorized vehicles are used. An exception is if emergency medical help is needed, ambulances or other vehicles can gain access through either the front or back gate. There is little activity at the backgate as far as general public access or even Rainbows entering, so I presume-that Forest Service has restricted general traffic by that route.

Page 2 of 4, Memorandum

Rainbow Gathering June29, 1997

The gathering site activities might best be described as a state Fair or carnival atmosphere; as one walks along the path there are food booths, first aid stations, massage tents, mystics, musicians, trading post, dancing and drumming, gurus, you name it, it's there. Most people "camp" at the gathering site using tents, tepees, tarps, or the shelter of trees. In general terms, individual and group camps are located up to 1/4 mile each side of the main trail, with some food booths, (very) public showers, water taps, and latrines also some distance off the main trail.

Many other campers sleep in vans, RVs, or other vehicles parked in designated areas such as "bus village" which is about 1/2 mile from the gathering site. The bus campers hike to the site for activities or food, then return to vehicles to "hang out" or sleep. There are some food kitchens in the bus village area, as well as many latrines.

A third camp area is "no-mans land", the so called A Camp, located about 1 1/2 miles from Indian

Prairie. This is for those who like to drink alcohol, use hard drugs, carry BIG knives, even

bigger guns, and other unmentionable activities. The Rainbows themselves have sort of

segregated these people, but the Rainbow philosophy promotes "acceptance" of all. Big

problem for law enforcement; we haven't been there nor do we intend to go there. Many of

the A Campers come to the main gathering, Rainbows ban the guns, but the knifes are carried.

Water Supply

Water supply is from 6 separate springs. One is Thompson Spring, an existing roadside pipe that has long been used by hunters and campers, but is not monitored by USFS. The Rainbows have connected PE water pipe to the spring pipe at the trough, and laid pipe on the ground into the gathering area to the vicinity of at least 2 cooking areas. Many of the vehicle campers in the area collect water at the existing spring pipe above the water trough.

The other springs that have been developed by the Rainbows are Sun Dog, High, and Hellbore; which are up slope to the east of the main trail. The fifth spring is down a side trail along the east fork of Thompson Creek near Tea Time kitchen. All except Tea Time spring tap the spring flow before it surfaces and have been installed without disturbing the surface to collect the spring water in a relatively sanitary manner. PVC pipe runs over ground to various cooking areas or other places along the main trail for people to collect water. The area around all the springs is flagged off, and guarded to prevent access.

Total coliform has been present in most samples, and while the sample from Thompson Spring showed no coliform present, the black pipe fed by the spring showed the only fecal positive. At any rate, Health Division has advised that water used for drinking or cooking be treated by a rolling boil for 1 minute, or use an approved filter. And, Rainbow policy is to boil water. Most kitchen areas are either boiling, or using Katadyn type filters to fill drinking water containers. (A licensed medical doctor organized the purchase of 15 Katadyn Filters for the Rainbow Family). Almost all pipe outlets where water is available have a sign advising boiling. We have had some interest in chemical treatment such as chlorine or iodine, and have provided information on such treatment. At the central bulletin board area called "Cooperations" we have posted all coliform results as they are received along with treatment

Page 3 of 4, Memorandum

Rainbow Gathering

June 29, 1997

advice, and a copy of the 1991 "Pipeline" which explains the coliform standard and public notice language.

We inspected the water supply springs on Wednesday and Thursday with Val and David who developed them. Based on our recommendations and technical assistance, a Rainbow crew worked on disinfection and flushing of all the piping systems. We provided a 1 pound bag of HTH chlorine powder for that purpose.

Food Kitchens

We have looked at about 16 kitchens, and that should be the final total. They are very rustic camp kitchens, but almost every one has a knowledgeable person in charge. Kitchen areas are fenced off so only cooks and servers are within the kitchen. Individuals carry and wash their own utensils, so they're not provided by the kitchens. Every kitchen has provisions for 3 step dish washing; wash, rinse and sanitize. Chlorine levels in sanitizing water is often low, but we have distributed test strips. Cookware is air dried or dried on a stove, and generally stored without covering, but this does not appear to be a hazard. Hand washing practices varied, but most kitchens have good set-ups using free flowing water, some in fact very ingenious. We have provided bar soap to encourage more use for handwashing, while ironically trying to discourage the over use of dish detergent. We are providing hand soap, chlorine test strips, food handlers manuals, and a special handout on hand washing to all kitchen areas.

On Wednesday, June 25, we spoke to a small group of kitchen "facilitators" early in the afternoon, and then addressed the general dinner council (1500 Rainbows) in the evening. We discussed the prevention of fecal-oral transmission, emphasizing water treatment, food handling, and hand washing. Fifty people served food at this central circle dinner, and the servers washed their hands in front of everyone, using a method that we approved.


Rainbow Family uses a latrine system for sewage. Forest Service staff have designated areas based on soil profiles and adequate set-back from water or other sensitive areas. Most of the pit privys (called "shitters") are plywood boxes, 18 inch square, with a removable lid. The lids are tight and lime or ash is used for cover occasionally. At most sites, extra holes are already excavated so that the boxes can be expediently moved when necessary. The excavated pits we observed were at least 4 by 4 by 4 ft deep. There are about 50 pit boxes spread throughout the gathering area, and slit trenches are being excavated for when needed. A few slit trenches are already being used at some locations. The privy seats are disinfected with chlorine solution by roving maintenance people, and a 1 gallon jug of sanitizing water (50 ppm chlorine) is generally available for hand washing. The privy areas don't seem to have the sophisticated hand wash set-ups like the kitchens.

Solid Waste

Compost pits are used for kitchen waste, general trash is hauled off, and recycling stations are

set up near all kitchen areas. There are many Rainbows serving as volunteer litter patrols, (in

fact we hear there's a standard contest to see who can collect the most cigarette butts).

Page 4 of 4, Memorandum

Rainbow Gathering

June 29, 1997


There are 2 public (very public) shower areas on site, each using one of the developed spring

supply lines. They are in the open and Sun Dog shower has plastic mats to stand on,

Lightening shower has bark chips.


Walton Lake is located a few miles away, but is a public campground which Rainbows are

likely to avoid. The creeks on site are small, so wading is the only option. There are some

gravel pits with water near the site, two of which would be tempting for a swim in warm

weather. We have advised the Forest Service to post some sort of warning to discourage

swimming, and we did take a sample from a gravel pond Saturday.

General Public Health

There are many people attending the gathering, especially young teenagers, who are transient,

homeless, or just generally down and out. Many Rainbows are aware of this, so such people

are taught hand washing and sanitation if they work as food servers. But, the concern is that

there are a large number of attendees who likely have no notion of general hygiene practices,

or public health issues. In other words, I feel at times we are "preaching to the choir".


Drinking Water Section Eastern Region

June 22, 1997

FAX 541-416-9700

To: Chuck Brown, Rainbow ICP
From: Gary Burnett, Health Division
Re: Rainbow Gathering, Compliance with Public Health Regulations

Oregon Administrative Rules, Division 39, "Regulations Governing Health and Safety at Outdoor Mass Gatherings" are the applicable public health regulations in this case Jim Maben and I representing the Health Division, and Craig Costello representing Oregon DEQ completed a site inspection on Thursday, June 19, and the following comments are based on this inspection: (categories from OAR)

Water Supply

All water supplied on the site does not meet standards because some samples indicated the presence of coliform bacteria. I have attached a memo and the coliform results. This pertains to (v) (C ...potable drinking water.

Food and Sanitary Food Service

Food service on the site generally complies with regulations, except improvements in handwashing procedures are needed in most cooking areas.

Sewerage Facilities

Pit latrines as proposed by the Rainbow group would meet regulations. But at the time of our inspection a supply of lime was not available and the pit toilets initially contructed were not adequate.

Refuse Storage and Disposal

This seemed to comply with regulations


This complies with regulations.

(541) 416-9700 Fax

Kev Contacts for Health Issues

June 22, 1997

Jim Maben State of Oregon
Health Division Sanitation and Food
1-541-969-8129 (Mobile)

Gary F. Burnett State of Oregon
Health Division Water Supply
1-541-276-4632 (Home) Fax (541) 276-4778 8
1-541-969-8973 (Cell)

Russ Hanson Crook County Environmental Health
Food/Sanitation on Site
1-541-420-2486 (Mobile)

Dianne Kopps Crook County Health Department

Debbie Mac Williams Deschutes County Health Department
Nursing Manager
1-541-388-6616 (Day)
1-541-385-7755 (Night)

Connie Hoffstetter Crook County Health Department
1-541-447-8801 (Pager)
1-541-548-0479 (Evenings)

Craig Costello State of Oregon
Department of Environmental Quality

Hal Nauman State of Oregon
Health Division

Terry Baggett State of Oregon
Oregon Department of Transportation

(503) 276-8006


Drinking Water Section Eastern Region

June 20, 1997

To: Dave Leland, Ron Hall
From: Gary Burnett, Jim Maben
Re Rainbow Family Gathering


This is the 26th national Rainbow Family Gathering. The location is Indian Prairie in the Ochoco National Forest, Wheeler County. The site is approximately 45 minutes travel time from both Prineville (Crook County) and Mitchell. The site is also 4 miles south of the water supply springs serving the town of Mitchell. The specific location of the gathering was not announced until about June 12, even though much earlier USFS and anyone reading Rainbow information knew the site would be in Washington or Oregon. The gathering population peaks

on the 4th of July, and it is estimated that population may be 20,000 plus. Approximately 3,000 people are there now, and population is expected to increase at a rate of 1,000-2,000 people per day until July 4.

Pendleton office staff were contacted by Hal Nauman and the City of Mitchell on June 12 and 13. On Monday, June 16, Pendleton staff were contacted by Chuck Brown, USFS (speaker phone call). Brown reviewed the background and situation status, and a meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, June 18 at the USFS Incident Command Center set up at the Prineville Middle School. Burnett contacted Jeanne Burch, Chair of Wheeler County Commissioners; Russ Hansen, Crook County Environmental Health; and Bob Baggett, Pendleton DEQ office.

Division staff Nauman, Maben, and Burnett attended the information meeting on Wednesday, June 18 in Prineville. The meeting was set up by the Interagency Incident Team (USFS) for the health, medical, and social services community. The Team provided background information, situation status, and then received questions and comments. At a separate small group meeting in the afternoon, USFS requested that Health Division and DEQ staff do an inspection of the gathering site.

On Wednesday night at 7:00 p. m., Burnett accompanied USFS Incident Command staff to a public meeting in Mitchell. The meeting was set up by the Wheeler County Sheriff to present information and respond to questions from the public. Burnett addressed concerns about the protection of the Mitchell water supply, and reviewed the security measures in effect such as patrols by Law Enforcement officers. Governor

Page 2 of 3, Memorandum
Rainbow Family Gathering
June 20, 1997

On Thursday, June 19, a site visit was done by Division staff Jim Maben and Gary Burnett; Craig Costello, DEQ; and USFS personnel. The gathering site covers approximately 300 acres with a wide walking path (trail) through the middle. All access is by foot, although some vehicles apparently are used to transport supplies in, and haul garbage out. A large number of cooking areas are set up throughout the site, and people get food by using their own utensils which they carry with them. Health Division staff reviewed the Sanitation section of the USFS Operating Plan, which is based on the Missouri Health Department recommendations where the gathering was held in 1996. We were received very cordially, they seemed to be expecting us and were very responsive to recommendations. Following is summary of the site visit, specifically including water supply, food service & sanitation, and sewage / waste disposal:

Water Supply

Water supply is from springs (about 4 total). One is Thompson Spring, an existing roadside pipe feeding a stock trough that has long been used by hunters and campers, but is not monitored by USFS. The Rainbows have connected PE water pipe to the spring pipe at the trough, and laid pipe on the ground into the gathering area to the vicinity of at least 2 cooking areas. Rainbows can collect water by removing a wooden plug at the end of the pipe. Other springs have been tapped by pushing pipe underground at a spring outflow area, and then laying PVC pipe above ground to various cooking areas or other places along the main trail for people to collect water. The area around the springs is flagged off, and guarded to prevent access. The spring pipes have been installed without disturbing the surface and appear to collect the spring water in a relatively sanitary manner. Rainbows have apparently taken coliform samples on their own.

Spring water is available at the ends of the piping network, or provided at cooking areas in various plastic containers, most with spigots (Igloo etc.). At some cooking areas Katadyn type filters are used to fill the drinking water containers, some containers are labeled "untreated spring water, drink at own risk". Some cooking areas are apparently providing boiled water in the containers. Rainbows won't use chemical treatment such as chlorine or iodine because it's not "natural".

Burnett took several samples of the "spring" water to get a relative idea of quality. But, Health Division has recommended that water used for drinking or cooking be treated by a rolling boil for 2 minutes, or use an NSF approved filter.

Food Service

Every cooking area observed seemed to have a knowledgeable person in charge, many of whom were proud of their food handler certification card: Foods served are pasta, rice, pancakes etc., is not held over but served immediately, and dish washing practices were good (3 step system). Hand washing practices varied, and were not adequate in most cases. We have provided handouts based on the recommended procedures for handcarts and temporary restaurants.

Page 3 of 3, Memorandum
Rainbow Family Gathering
June 20, 1997

Sewage / Waste Disposal

The Rainbow Family uses a latrine system for sewage. USFS has designated areas based on soil profiles. Many comments were made by Rainbows that latrines are not adequate at this time, but they are trying to get them constructed. One problem is that lime for cover has not been supplied to the site. We talked to several knowledgeable people working on latrines who said they would get the situation under control. Hand washing facilities are provided at latrines, but again are not adequate. Garbage and general waste is hauled away (apparently to the Crook County facilities), and re-cycling stations are set up all over the site.


A public health hazard from water supply and food service appear to be minimal. Improper hand washing seems to be the most potential for causing disease outbreaks. Many anecdotal reports of typical fecal-oral diseases were noted; verbal from Rainbows, and written reports from previous gatherings. At least one outbreak identified shigella as the organisms, and Rainbows are convinced it was because of the flies.

Maben and Burnett plan to return to the site on June 26, and again on July 2. We just touched the "tip of the ice-berg" this week due to the shear size of the event. We are treating this like any other major event; County Fair, Pendleton Round-Up etc., but it is obviously much different because of the organization. We are also trying set up a general meeting with all the cooking area "managers" at one time, but that may not be possible due to the nature of the Rainbow Family.

They do seem to be very cognizant of both public health concerns, and environmental protection. The situation is potentially volatile because of the confrontational atmosphere, particularly with law enforcement. But, Rainbow have been very friendly to US and seem to appreciate our advise. We are concerned about entering the site, even without Forest Service escort. We would not be able to accomplish anything with a law enforcement escort.

Of course, there will be more legal action between USFS and Rainbow Family after the event, but we were told very adamantly that the State of Oregon WILL NOT be named in their lawsuits.