LETTER: Malheur Fairgrounds grateful for support, looking toward new year

Work is underway to upgrade the outdated restroom at the fairgrounds grandstands to make it comply with accessibility standards. A Cultural Trust grant is making the work possible. (Contributed photo)

To the Editor:

The year 2020 has been a rough ride for many in our community. The Malheur County Fairgrounds (Desert Sage Event Center) is no different from other businesses in that regard.

It’s been a rollercoaster ride for the Fair Board, with extreme highs and lows. The lowest point for us, obviously, was not being able to have our 111th annual County Fair.

One of our highs was receiving a Cultural Trust grant last month. The main project this grant will be used for is to upgrade the restrooms under the grandstands. The grandstands were built in 1911 with the restrooms added in about the 1950s. They were awful to use; and certainly not wheelchair accessible.

The board has discussed updating the restrooms many times through the years; with the limiting factor always being the lack of funds. Receiving the Cultural Trust grant allowed us to proceed with the much needed update to our facility. Sather Construction has begun this transformation.

The board is grateful to Charlotte Fugate and the Malheur County Cultural Trust group for helping the County Fairgrounds to be recognized as an entity worthy of recognition as a Cultural entity. The Fairgrounds has been an integral part of your community for 111 years. Most of our community has spent many hours here on the grounds; for the annual County fair and rodeo and/or as a guest at one of our private events, quinceañeras, rodeos, weddings, Saint Peter’s Barn Dance or other nonprofit fundraisers. 

We are thankful to our community for its continued support. With the continued support of the County judge and commissioners along with our families and community, the Fair Board will strive to work through this difficult time and be here for our community at the end of this pandemic. 

Stay safe.

Lynelle Christiani is the manager of the Malheur County Fairgrounds.

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