- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 11, 2014

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) - The Twin Falls City Council has voted against allowing any jumps or other special events for a year at the Evel Knievel Snake River Canyon site as police take a closer look at safety surrounding such endeavors.

The council voted 4-3 on Monday after Councilman Jim Munn made the motion, the Twin Falls Times-News reported (https://bit.ly/1dF1l2y).

“It just gives us the chance to step back from this a little bit and give the department and some of our law enforcement officials some time to really think about this,” said Munn, the city’s former police chief.

Vice Mayor Suzanne Hawkins said the council felt the issue was moving too quickly.

“I think we have all learned what the jump entails now,” Hawkins said. “When I stood out on the jump site and looked, it just gives you a whole new perception of what is happening. We need to take the time to educate ourselves before we make a decision.”

The council once buzzed with excitement about the chance to put Twin Falls on television sets around the nation with a repeat of Knievel’s 40-year-old jump attempt. But the “cool” idea turned into “jump fatigue,” Mayor Don Hall said.

Texas daredevil “Big Ed” Beckley had worked with the city for months to hammer out a lease that would have let the motorcyclist use Knievel’s dirt ramp, which is now city property. In exchange, Beckley would have improved the land so it could be made into a city park, reimbursed the city for its staff and police time and deposited $10,000 into city coffers.

However, council members previously voted down Beckley’s lease, saying his plans were inadequate for dealing with as many as 70,000 people at the event.

In September, Beckley paid nearly $1 million to lease state land on the north canyon rim.

Now, the Twin Falls team of Scott Record and Scott Truax have a rocket under construction, a jumper at the ready, land secured and the necessary permits. They are awaiting a broadcast contract to tie the event together.

They hope to launch a replica of the steam rocket that Truax’s father built for Knievel and jump from private land near the Hansen Bridge.

On Monday, council members questioned whether any team could safely pull off a jump.

Police Chief Brian Pike said a safe jump inside city limits is possible, but police would need more time, a multi-jurisdictional approach and partners outside of the area to provide more staffing for the event.

He said a realistic time frame to put a safety plan together would be 12 to 18 months. Pike said he is working with Record and Truax on their safety plan and would do the same for any other jumper who sought an event outside city limits.

“I’m not saying we can’t do an event like this . but this is like the Super Bowl for us,” the chief said.

Waiting a year, however, would miss the 40th anniversary of Knievel’s failed jump. That date, however, “isn’t as sacred as my obligation for public safety and public trust,” Hall said.

Beckley said he is still pursuing a jump on private land in Twin Falls County where he would not need a city permit.


Information from: The Times-News, https://www.magicvalley.com

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