Fairgrounds Bring Communities Together
Our 36 local Fairgrounds properties – in every corner of Oregon – are where communities come together. No institution more positively touches more citizens and more communities than Oregon’s 36 Fairgrounds. Our Fairgrounds are:
Grounds for Community:
* Everyone is welcome at the Fairgrounds. With the annual Fair, cultural festivals, trade shows & expositions, equestrian events, craft & hobby shows, consumer shows, non‐profit fundraisers and community social events, the Fairgrounds is the heart of community life.
* Oregon’s County Fairgrounds hosted 6.15 million people in 2018. Annual fair attendance was 1.75 million (a 15‐year high), while 4.4 million people attended non‐fair events hosted in Fairgrounds throughout our state.
* Over 600 non‐profit groups used our Fairgrounds to generate more than $10 million in charitable donations!
* Fairgrounds inspire volunteerism. 10,000 volunteers dedicated over 200,000 hours of volunteer service at their local fairgrounds.
Grounds for Healthy Local Economies:
* Open year‐round, Oregon’s Fairgrounds hosted more than 17,000 local events – bringing business to local hotels, restaurants, retail establishments and service providers.
* Fairs directly employ 479 workers with a payroll of over $10 million.
* A 2007 study conducted by Oregon State University concluded that local fairs generated an economic footprint of approximately $52,081,427 in output, $28,874,392 in value‐added income, and 867 full‐ and part‐time jobs.
Grounds for Emergency Preparation & Public Safety:
Fairgrounds are a critical emergency response asset for local communities. Some house the backup emergency communications center in case the primary system fails for dispatch and coordination for all law enforcement and first responder services. Animals are sheltered there when evacuated for wildfires or floods. Search & Rescue and Sheriff’s Office personnel use the facilities for training.
Fairgrounds are used as staging areas during local emergencies. For example, the Douglas County Fairgrounds were used to unite evacuated students from the Umpqua Community College shooting with their families.
Grounds for Learning:
Fairgrounds are home to 4‐H, FFA and other vital education programs that engage and support our kids. 4‐H and FFA youth leadership programs operate year‐round using fairgrounds meeting rooms, multi‐purpose rooms, arenas, and grounds. Many of these programs are conceived, driven, and completed by the youth participants themselves. Science and technology, healthy
living, citizenship, and vocational skills programs give extracurricular outlet to thousands of youth state‐wide. Fairgrounds give them the place to work and the event for recognizing their accomplishments.
But there is serious cause for concern.
Aging Fairgrounds facilities, with millions of dollars in known deferred maintenance, are rendering more fairgrounds facilities unsuitable for public use. Fairgrounds are good at leveraging the modest funding received, but more and more they are falling behind. Flat state funding is not keeping up with rising costs and volunteers hesitate to contribute where it appears there is little care. Some rural fairgrounds could potentially close without the current
modest levels of state support ($53,667 annually to each fair).
This is what they are asking for.
The 2020 Legislature has the ability to set our Fairgrounds on a path to support our communities for years to come. The AOC, OFA and our community partners respectfully request:
* $900,000 in operations support ($25,000 per fair) will allow some fairgrounds to simply keep their doors open.
* $250,000 to conduct formal study on capital construction needs, economic impacts, and staffing and capacity will enable to legislature to make more informed decisions on these vital fairgrounds in future biennia. A comprehensive study and report of the physical condition of each fairgrounds is especially needed to highlight the deferred maintenance and outdated facilities fairgrounds operate with. Recent heavy snow has collapsed entire buildings on several fairgrounds.
Support our Fairgrounds in Oregon!