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Board's fair meeting attracts a crowd

Commissioners discuss demolition, replacement of 90-year-old barn


Photo Credit: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP PHOTO: JON HOUSE - Even four-legged constituents got a chance to be heard when Clackamas County commissioners held their business meeting last week at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds. The sun was shining and sheep were baaing during last week's first-ever business meeting of the Clackamas Board of County Commissioners at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds.

Attendance — around 60 people at the Aug. 14 meeting — was up significantly from regular board meetings at the Red Soils campus in Oregon City.

Chair John Ludlow first floated the idea to move the board's regular Thursday meeting to the 108th annual Clackamas County Fair when controversy erupted earlier this year over the demolition of the fairground's 90-year-old barn due to poor maintenance and damage from heavy snow.

The fairgrounds staff had 18 days from the time demolition of the old barn was done to the opening day of the fair, said Fairgrounds Executive Director Laurie Bothwell. The fair's 4-H participants had nothing but praise for the temporary T-structures, which rent for $45,000, that housed their animals.

“Everyone is very happy with the solution,” said Wendy Hein, who manages the Clackamas County 4H Youth Development Program for the Oregon State University Extension Service. “We keep hearing all kinds of compliments.”

But Hein noted that the tents are only a temporary solution.

“Obviously a permanent building or buildings is where we need to go,” she said, adding that she would prefer two replacement buildings rather than one. This is because of disease control issues, the ability to hold multiple events at once and the fact that smaller buildings tend to have less-expensive structural requirements.

Commissioner Jim Bernard is the liaison to the fair board and is spearheading a fundraising effort to replace the barn, which could cost between $2 million and $5 million.

Commissioner Tootie Smith emphasized that the county will help, but she said it’s up to the community to come up with the cash. “You can’t always look to government for your solution,” Smith said.

Contact Shasta Kearns Moore at 503-546-5134 or shasta@portlandtribune.com.

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