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Rainbow Family Gathering stretches city resources, officials say

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Posted at 10:22 PM, Jul 01, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-02 00:22:14-04

HEBER CITY, Utah -- It's only day one of the Rainbow Family Gathering and resources in Heber City are already being stretched to the max.

"We have approximately 38 people from the Rainbow in our jail at this time and we are at capacity in our jail, said Wasatch County Supervisor Mike Davis.

Wasatch County is spending an additional $50,000 to $75,000 on police overtime, while at the Heber Valley Medical Center, more rooms are being made available and a backup staff is on call.

"I would say an additional 8 to 12 emergency room patients per day," said Shawn Morrow, of the Heber Valley Medical Center.

So far the bulk of the crime has been around the campsite, about 15 miles out of town. A mobile court room has even been brought in to handle the influx of citations.

"It's unlike any courtroom in America, hey justice can be done anywhere, it just happens to be up here on the mountain," said Scott Romney, Assistant United States Attorney.

On Tuesday more than 50 people appeared in the mobile court, most of them regarding misdemeanors that can be settled with a fine and or community service. The most common citation has been drug possession.

Police have been pulling over motorists at an alarming rate for routine violations, and in many cases finding drugs or paraphernalia.

"What I heard is the word is out maybe don't go through Heber get there another way," Davis said.

There have been a few Rainbow Family members spotted loitering outside stores, but Davis said for the most part they have been able to keep the community under control.