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Traffic tie-ups on organizers' radar

No one knows for sure what will happen when the 2013 Washington County Fair Oregon and the International Air Show take off on the same weekend, but the scheduling tangle could result in an ugly collision of two popular events.

Both summertime attractions draw large crowds to facilities directly across Northwest Cornell Road from each other — the Hillsboro Airport and the Washington County Fairgrounds. This year the fair runs from Thursday, July 25 to Sunday, July 28. The air show starts Friday evening and runs through Sunday.

While the two events have traditionally been held on different weekends, with the fair happening at the end the month, this year it’s a different story. In the past, each has attracted more than 100,000 visitors.

Air show organizers moved their event to fair weekend this year after the famous U.S. Navy Blue Angels aerobatic flight team became available. Ironically, their appearance was cancelled because of federal budget cuts after it was too late to reschedule the air show.

Washington County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Bob Ray predicts that traffic management will be extremely challenging, especially if a large number of people cross Cornell to visit both events.

“Traffic’s going to be a real pain — it always is at both events. But traffic control is going to be especially critical this year,” said Ray.

Historically, the county and the City of Hillsboro have supported both events. Because the county owns the fairgrounds, the sheriff’s office provides security there from before it begins to after it ends each day.

The sheriff’s office has also supported the air show with deputies, reserves and volunteers — but because the city owns the surrounding streets, the Hillsboro Police Department has traditionally directed traffic to and from both events.

According to Ray, many meetings were held between the two agencies after the air show was moved. The Hillsboro Fire Department has also participated in some of the meetings. And so have officials with both the fair and air show.

In the past, the fair complex has been used for parking for both events. But this year, event and law enforcement officials hope only those going to the fair will park there.

Additional parking for the air show has been designated off of 25th Avenue. It includes the lot at Rogers Instruments, the lot at the Sunset West business park and the lot at Intel’s Jones Farm campus.

“We hope people will park closest to the event they are going to. That will reduce the number of pedestrians crossing Cornell,” Ray said.

The fairgrounds also has a MAX station along TriMet’s westside light rail line.

According to Hillsboro Police spokesman Lt. Mike Rouches, large traffic spikes are expected from Thursday to Sunday in the area bounded by Highway 26 on the north, Baseline Road on the south, Brookwood/Cornell on the east and 25th Avenue on the west. Rouches said a traffic detail of about 80 officers from law enforcement agencies throughout the region will help move vehicles and pedestrians safely.

In addition to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, the other agencies include the Oregon State Police, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office and the Beaverton, Forest Grove, Gresham, North Plains, Portland, Tigard and Tualatin police departments.

Ray said agencies will operate controlled intersections Evergreen and 25th, Brookwood and Cornell, Baseline and 28th and Cornell and 25th.

“We are advising people to avoid this area unless they need to be there to lessen the number of vehicles,” said Rouches.

Those wanting to park at the fairgrounds have two choices for reaching it now. One is the main entrance at 32nd and Cornell. The other is the new section of Veteran’s Drive that runs from 25th into the MAX station and a roundabout on the fairgrounds.




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  • 18 Dec 2014

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