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Task force ready to study future of Washington County fairgrounds

Commissioners appoint members as Renaissance fair proposal waits for a decision

A new task force studying the future of Washington County's Fairgrounds holds it first meeting in two weeks in Beaverton.

The 15-member Fairgrounds Revitalization Task Force meets at 3 p.m. April 4 in the Sycamore Room of the Beaverton Community Center, 12350 S.W. Fifth St.

Fourteen members of the committee were appointed this morning by the county's Board of Commissioners. A representative of the county corporate community will be named prior to the first meeting.

The task force will be led by commission Chairman Tom Brian and Hillsboro Mayor Tom Hughes.

Brian said the group would study the long-term economic viability and service of the 101-acre fairgrounds property.

'Our challenge will be to develop a plan that maintains and improves the traditional County Fair and traditional uses while increasing the capacity and adding community value as a place for a wide range of additional community events and activities,' he said.

'The viable future of the fairgrounds is important to all of us,' Hughes said. 'I'm pleased that a representative group is going to help us figure that out.'

The task force was suggested late last year after fairgrounds officials said they were negotiating with organizers of a Renaissance fair to bring an event to the area possibly in July 2008.

Fair Board members sent the Renaissance fair proposal two weeks ago to county commissioners for final talks and possible approval. Renaissance fair organizers have expressed concern about the slow pace of the county's talks and are discussing a similar plan with Linn County representatives.

The task force is expected to take several weeks to come up with its findings in several weeks.

Members of the committee include:

-Commissioner Tom Brian

-Commissioner Andy Duyck

-Hillsboro Mayor Tom Hughes

-County Fair Complex Board member W. Rafe Flagg

-County Fair Boosters President Dave Rohrer

-Fair Complex users representative Allen Van Volkinburgh

-Hillsboro business representative Deanna Palm, president of the Greater

Hillsboro Area Chamber of Commerce

-Visitor and tourism representative Terry Goldman of the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Washington County

-Agricultural business representative Kristin Marchesi, president of the Washington County Winery Association

-Hillsboro citizen representative Jim Darr

-Western county citizen representative Bob Terry

-Eastern county citizen representative Jack Franklin

-Northern county citizen representative John Leeper, a former county commissioner

-Southern county citizen representative Delna Jones, also a former county commissioner

The Washington County Fair Complex is south of the Hillsboro Airport at the intersection of Northeast 34th Avenue and Cornell Road.

The county purchased the fairgrounds site in 1946 and hosts a four-day county fair each summer, this year beginning July 26.