Office of the Senate President
900 Court St., N.E., Room S-201
Salem OR 97301
Contact: Robin Maxey June 6, 2013
Senate Approves State Fair Bill
(SALEM) -- The Oregon Senate Thursday approved a measure making the Oregon State Fair into a public corporation, giving the fair greater flexibility to generate off-season activities in the 185-acre fairgrounds in north Salem.
Senate Bill 7, sponsored by Senate President Peter Courtney, passed on a 29-0 vote.
“This is our best shot at protecting our vibrant State Fair. It will save taxpayer dollars. It will give the new State Fair Council the chance to turn the Fair facilities into a year-round economic asset for Salem and all of Oregon,” said Courtney (D-Salem/Gervais/Woodburn).
The 11-day Oregon State Fair, which began in 1858, is financially successful and self-supporting. Maintaining the Fair facilities the other 354 days of the year however has become a financial drain.
Under Senate Bill 7, the fair and fairgrounds will be managed by a newly created “State Fair Council.” The council will act as the board of directors of the public corporation – quasi-state agency similar to SAIF and the Oregon Health and Science University. As a public corporation, the Fair will have greater freedom to conduct business and seek attractions to make the Fair facilities financially stable.
Since 2005, the Fair has been operated by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. Senate Bill 7 provides a two-year transition period from Parks to the new State Fair Council. One the transition is complete the Department of Administrative Services will have oversight of the State Fair Council.
Senate Bill 7 now heads to the House of Representatives.