In the community

Lawmakers earmark cash for Malheur County Fairgrounds

Dawnita Haueter, Malheur County Fairgrounds manager said a cash infusion from the Oregon Legislature will help the facility. (The Enterprise/PAT CALDWELL)

ONTARIO – The Malheur County Fairgrounds is set to receive a $2 million boost from the state to be used to improve the grounds.

The money is part of a $1.4 billion supplemental budget proposal approved by the just-concluded 2022 Legislature.

Malheur County Fair Board member Jen Hall said the news of the cash influx was a surprise to the board.

“But we are very, very excited,” she said.

Hall said the money could be used for an array of projects, including rebuilding the aging grandstands at the rodeo grounds at the fair.

The board hasn’t had time to decide which projects to fund.

“We’d love to be able to get multiple things done. But we want to make sure we do it properly and really look at what is the most important for our facility and go from there,” said Hall.

One obstacle to any future project, said Hall, is the rising cost of construction materials.

“We really have to look at what we can best use the money for,” she said.

Dawnita Haueter, Malheur County Fairgrounds manager, said the extra money is needed and welcome.

“It would be amazing,” said Haueter.

She said the funds from the state could be used for a host of projects at the fairgrounds.

“Honestly there would be all kinds of upgrades,” she said.

Malheur County Judge Dan Joyce said the state money marks a triumph for the region.

“Any time you get any money from west to east it is a pretty hard drive. Anything we can get here is quite a jump,” he said.

News tip? Contact Pat Caldwell at [email protected].

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