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Rainbow Family gathering costs Beaverhead County about $240,000

By Grace Ditzler, KTVM Reporter, gditzler@ktvm.com
Published On: Aug 29 2013 06:21:45 PM MDT
DILLON, Mont. -

Beaverhead County Disaster and Emergency Services Director David Marx shared the numbers: a $240,000 bill left over from the Rainbow Family's "free" gathering outside of Jackson.

Our cameras caught the celebration, but it caught Marx and others by surprise.

They figured they knew what to expect, thanks to last time the Rainbow Family gathered in Montana in 2000.

"The violent crimes were way up," Marx explained, "the drug possession, the mental illness induced by drugs...we did see violent crimes that not only required law enforcement, but significant medical attention."

Here is how some of the numbers add up:

Hospital Patient Care: $190,000; Law Enforcement Detention/Salary and Benefits: almost $33,000.

Last month, the Rainbow Family individuals we spoke to said their gathering was going to bring in a huge amount of money for the community. But Beaverhead County officials are crunching the numbers, and are saying that thought process isn't adding up.

"I doubt very much that they dropped $240,000 dollars in Beaverhead County," said Beaverhead County Sheriff Jay Hansen.

Sheriff Hansen was around for the 2000 gathering and says this year was different, and has the numbers to prove it.

"It's just a different group," he explained, "they were hard to deal with, very aggressive, and 115 total arrests out of about 10,000 people, compared to 161 with 23,000."

And many gatherers had little or no money to pay for things like medical bills.

"Most of the people who came down here at the beginning had no money," Hansen explained, "and they knew they had no money, yet they traveled all the way down here to Dillon with no money in their pockets...and I don't know what they expected when they got here."

Both Marx and Sheriff Hansen tell NBC Montana they are ready to put the incident behind them.