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National Guard aids fairgrounds


The Washington County Fair Complex has been chosen by the Oregon National Guard and the 1249th Engineer Battalion as the site of a training deployment that will run May 6 to 16.by: HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Sgt. Mike Majeski (foreground) and Pfc. Miguel Acevedo of the Oregon National Guards 234th Engineering Company out of Warrenton make improvements on the Washington County Fairgrounds poultry barn.

The training exercise will be conducted through the Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) program, which allows soldiers to gain valuable field experience while helping local communities.

The IRT will provide labor and equipment to repair and improve numerous areas around the Fair Complex. A few examples include the renovation of Friendship Square to provide additional usable space and the installation of shutters on the small animal barn, which will allow it to be used for dry storage when the fair is not in session.

"We couldn't be happier to receive this help from the National Guard,” said Washington County Facilities Manager Candi Paradis. “The IRT will provide the labor and some of the equipment for these projects at the Fair Complex which will keep our costs down. This is a great service to the citizens of Washington County."

Many members of the 1249th work in the construction industry by trade. When on active duty, they have deployed to various parts of Iraq and Afghanistan, where they helped rebuild war-torn areas.

National Guard Capt. Donald "Duffy" Cavanaugh described Innovative Readiness Training as "real world training opportunities.”

“This prepares our soldiers for their wartime missions. It also supports the needs of our communities at home, so it's definitely a win-win," said Cavanaugh.

Washington County will see approximately 400 National Guard soldiers taking part in the program. The soldiers will set up a base camp at the Fair Complex and train as if they were truly taking on a wartime challenge.