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Air show and fair can co-exist next year

Next year’s Oregon International Airshow will share dates with the Washington County Fair.

Some folks see this as a strictly negative situation, and are using it for political purposes by focusing on “who knew what, and when?” This is the wrong question since it assumes the outcome would be different if people knew sooner.

Was there anger when we first heard the news? Absolutely, and the air show officials knew we were upset, so much so, that they asked us to please give them some time to see if there was even a slight chance that they could change the date.

We could have refused, kept our anger in place, and had everyone fired-up by announcing what was going on. But what if they couldn’t change the date? What kind of climate would that have left us with in working out a solution on how to hold both of these events?

We chose to take the high road and, as an act of goodwill, we said we would give them a chance to see if they could change things, even though we knew the likelihood was small that they could make that happen.

If it couldn’t change, we hoped our act of good faith would get us some cooperation in moving forward. Making this information public sooner would have cut off any possibility of a negotiated solution, and probably would have dampened the success of both events this year as well.

As for next year, the sky is not falling. I am reminded of the year 1999. Almost to a person, we were convinced that Y2K was going to spell disaster. Some were even sensationalizing the danger. In January of 2000, we realized that this was the biggest non-issue of the decade.

This didn’t happen by accident, but by good planning and preparation. Everyone knew Y2K was coming, and a great effort was put in to make it smooth. We didn’t waste time trying to assign blame or revisit the past.

In just the same way, next year’s “Air-Fair” may be the biggest success of the year! While many will sensationalize the challenges, the rest of us will get to work and solve them.

Livestock judging schedules can be adjusted and worked with to make sure everyone is safe.

Parking and traffic plans can be worked on. Just as we have dealt with ever larger attendance, noise from monster truck rallies and public health and safety at each event in the past, this event also will be safe, secure and fun!

This is what we do. Let’s roll up our sleeves and go to work!

Andy Duyck is chair of the Washington County Board of Commissioners.



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