Astoria musician Jeffrey Reynolds struck an off-note at Monday's Astoria City Council meeting.
He complained to the council that he had not been allowed to play his violin at the Astoria Sunday Market. He said the market's executive director, Joyce Compere, who is a member of the City Council, had stopped him from playing and had not responded to his repeated applications for permission to perform.
"I've been deprived of my civil right to express myself," Reynolds said, calling street music a "hallowed artistic activity." As for why he should not have to rent a booth at the market, Reynolds said "I do not require space or a stage, and commerce is not my purpose." He also said Compere has a conflict of interest because she is a City Council member and director of the Sunday Market.
"Joyce Compere cannot be complainant, judge, interpreter and enforcer of the law," Reynolds said. "That is vigilantism."
Reynolds said he wants the council to amend the city code to accommodate live performances and asked members for an apology.
The council then met in executive session and afterward authorized City Manager Dan Bartlett to investigate Reynolds' allegations and consult with the city attorney to be sure the expressive rights of citizens are protected.
After the meeting, Compere said she respects Reynolds' rights and considers him a "superb" musician. But she said he needs amplification to perform at the market's Food Court. She also said she doesn't recall receiving any applications from Reynolds. She acknowledged asking him to move outside the periphery of the market.
- Sandra Swain