Linn Fairgrounds loses $400k

Linn Fairgrounds loses $400k

  • Updated

Nearly every weekend the Linn County Expo Center is buzzing. 

Old cars are trailered in looking for a best in show title, animal stalls are filled with year-long 4H efforts, dogs running obstacle courses, non-profits filling meal boxes and high school seniors filling the air with graduation caps and tassels turned. 

It makes for a busy, action-packed year, but since March the rings, stands and stalls have been empty in accordance to Gov. Kate Brown's social distancing guidelines.

In an effort to comply with the order and slow the spread of COVID-19, the Expo Center has canceled the events that usually pack its schedule.

And on Tuesday, it was reported that decision has cost, to date, $400,000.

Randy Porter, Linn County Expo Center Director told the Linn County Commission on Tuesday that the canceled events and refunds have teamed up to show a loss of $400,000 for the venue. 

"If we go through September, it's going to be another $70,000 to $80,000," he said. 

Porter said the Expo Center was working to cut costs but noted ongoing maintenance was still being performed. 

Commissioner Will Tucker encouraged upgrades and maintenance to continue, noting that events would return to the expo center. 

"This reflects the reality," Tucker said of the situation.

"People are canceling," he continued, adding the venue was also returning funds to groups no longer holding events. 

All events were canceled through April 30 and additional events are subject to change and existing stay at home orders.

Linn County is currently in Phase One of re-opening which includes adjusted openings for bars, restaurants and retail stores. Large groups, however, are still prohibited. Gatherings are limited to 25 people with larger crowds usually seen at venues like the Expo Center are not expected to return until September at the earliest.  

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