by: RAY HUGHEY - A cat goes about the task of tearing down the livestock building at the Clackamas County fairgrounds. The historic livestock building at the Clackamas County fairgrounds took its first steps toward being history Thursday.

The walls of the 90-year-old building at the Clackamas County Event Center felt the first blows of destruction early in the morning as a small crowd gathered.

The 130-by-320-foot structure had deteriorated to the point it was no longer safe, and the Clackamas County Commission shut it down and voted to tear it down.

The demolition should be finished by July 15 to allow for preparations for the 2014 Clackamas County Fair Aug. 12-17.

The contractor estimates taking down three of the barn’s 11 bays per day, said Laurie Bothwell, the event center executive director.

The demolition includes grinding up the structure’s concrete floor on site to use for fill and a base layer for a 4-inch gravel surface.

On July 21, two temporary structures to house livestock will arrive and be erected on the former livestock building’s footprint, Bothwell said. One temporary structure will be 20,000-square feet and the other, 10,000-square feet.

It will take about 48 hours to erect the temporary buildings and she hopes to have them ready by July 23.

Fair officials first closed the 130-by 320-foot barn as a safety precaution during the early February snowstorm. When subsequent inspections raised more safety questions, it stayed closed.

In the meantime, events scheduled at the livestock barn were moved to other locations on the fairgrounds. The April 26 Oregon Spring Poultry Swap was moved to the Polk County Fairgrounds.

Bothwell said that if the demolition could finish by July 11, the 4-H Horse Fair could be held on the barn site. Otherwise, the event, which runs to July 19, will be moved to the parking lot on the west side of the fairgrounds.

The sprawling barn built in 1924 housed all the fair’s four-legged entries and many other events throughout the year.

It has been 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 was used for dog shows and competitions, car shows and the flock and fiber shows.

But time took its toll, and, in recent years, the building was plagued with leaky roofs, rotted wood, foundation displacement and an antiquated electrical system.

Contract Publishing

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