The Associated Press
GEORGE, Grant County — A state legislator is proposing to new $1 fee to tickets at The Gorge Amphitheater to help pay for emergency services on concert weekends.
State Rep. Matt Manweller, R-Ellensburg, says the money raised would be split between the small hospital and fire districts that serve the area.
The Columbia Basin Herald reports that last year, festival- and concertgoers racked up more than $400,000 in unpaid bills at Quincy Valley Medical Center, the closest hospital to the Gorge.
Manweller says his proposal, to be introduced as a bill in the Legislature, would allow the Grant County commissioners to impose the surcharge, but not require it.
Quincy Valley Medical Center handled one fatality and treated 72 concertgoers in its emergency room during last summer’s Paradiso Festival, with about 40 or 50 cases being drug- and alcohol-related, according to a story in The Seattle Times published July 1, 2013.