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Fair livestock barn closed

by: RAY HUGHEY - Laurie Bothwell, executive director of the Clackamas County Event Center, looks over the now-closed livestock barn.The Clackamas County Fair livestock barn in Canby has been closed until further notice.

The county fair board took that action last week after additional safety concerns surfaced.

Fair officials first closed the 84-year-old barn as a safety precaution during the recent snowstorm. When subsequent inspections raised more safety questions, they decided to not reopen it.

Events scheduled there will be relocated, said Laurie Bothwell, executive director of the Clackamas County Event Center.

About 14 events were scheduled there through June, including livestock shows, weigh-ins, a 4-H tack show and a dog show.

“We’re making alternative arrangements here on the grounds,” Bothwell said.

Bothwell said the event center, fair board and county officials will decide where to go from here.

“I don’t think it will impact the fair, she said. “We’re still planning the fair.”

No decisions have been made on the future of the livestock barn. It will stay closed pending further evaluations and options become available.

The building is owned by Clackamas County.

The event center has been working on a strategic plan study for the fairgrounds, including the condition of its buildings and other facilities

The 130-by 320-foot barn built in 1924 could be considered the heart of the Clackamas County Fair.

It houses all the fair’s four-legged entries as well as many other events throughout the year.

It is the main venue for sheep, goat, cattle, horse, swine and llama shows as well as 4-H calf sales, rabbit shows, horse fair and tack sale. It also is used for dog shows and competitions, car shows and the flock and fiber shows.

But time has taken its toll. In recent years, the building has been plagued with leaky roofs, rotted wood, foundation displacement and an antiquated electrical system.