Five Arrested At Gorge Riot

Police arrested five people after concertgoers burned portable toilets and threw rocks and debris following a show at The Gorge Amphitheater beside the Columbia River.

Grant County deputies providing security at the Saturday night concert responded to a call that a person was injured in a neighboring campground early Sunday morning. When they arrived, several campers were involved in fights and a so-called "comfort station" with portable toilets and sinks was in flames, said John Turley, chief criminal deputy for the Grant County Sheriff’s Office.

About 400 campers were gathered around the area. Some pelted deputies with beer bottles, cans and rocks, and the windshield of a fire truck was shattered by debris.

More fires were set by the crowd after authorities extinguished the first blaze and left the area in a hail of debris.

Authorities from more than 10 area agencies responded to the riot. Five people were arrested and booked into the Grant County Jail for obstructing a law enforcement officer, disorderly conduct and intimidating a public servant with threats to do harm.

Those charged were Jacob Lewis Spaeth, 21, of Fort Lewis; Richard Joseph Dempsey, 27, of Burbank; Kyle Anthony Phillips, 24, of Post Falls, Idaho; Travis William Abram, 22, of Hayden, Idaho; and Aaron David Smith, 18, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

By 5 a.m. Sunday, police had gained enough control of the scene for campers to begin filing out of the area through the main gate. Police began clearing out any remaining campers shortly before 7 a.m., Turley said.

There were no reports of any injuries. An estimate of damages will be several thousand dollars, authorities said.

The concert was a stop on the Van’s Warped Tour, a show featuring a dozen bands, including Poison the Well and Flogging Molly. The tour has held shows at the Gorge for a number of years.

About 16,400 people attended and concert, and an estimated 4,500 people camped at the neighboring campground, according to Bill Parsons, the venue’s general manager.