In the community

Fair board approves plan to use grant dollars to rebuild livestock barn

ONTARIO – The Malheur County Fair Board has approved a plan to rebuild a livestock barn.
The board decided on Monday, June 19, to use a $455,000 federal grant to rebuild Building I at the fair but faces a deadline to finish the project before June 30, 2024, when the grant expires. Plans call for the building to be between 4,5000 and 5,000 square feet. The grant was awarded to the fair in July 2021.
The structure, called Building I, stands at the south end of the fairgrounds near the south gate. It is marked for replacement because it was damaged during the epic snowstorms that rolled over the county in 2017. The building is used to house animals during the fair.
The board reviewed plans for the building at the session and debated what kind of roof to place on the structure and decided to stick with a sloped roof outlined in the preliminary plans submitted by Pat Woodcock of Engineering Northwest LLC in Ontario.
Adele Schaffeld, Malheur County building inspector, is assisting the board on planning for the new building. The permits for the new structure will be approved by the Ontario Building Department, not the county.
“It (the building) is a roof with no walls,” said Schaffeld. She noted the grant deadline will arrive fast.
“We need to get moving and get it done. That’s why I am assisting. I am not the reviewing or approving inspector. I don’t make any decision but give them to the board,” said Schaffeld.
She said the board’s next move will be to hire a contractor.
Dave Tschida, board co-chair, said crews will begin to demolish Building I when the fair ends in August. He said the board wants to move ahead on construction “as soon as we can.”
Tschida said the effort to use the grant earlier “kind of stalled out.” He said the board aimed to begin work earlier this year but by the time “we got things going” such as contracts and engineering, there wasn’t enough time before fair began to start demolition and rebuild the structure.
The fair also received a $2 million grant from the Legislature in 2022. The grant was allotted to improve infrastructure at the fairgrounds.
“We haven’t done anything with that yet. That’s our next project to work on but we plan on using it,” said Tschida.
The board also agreed to begin the search for a new fair manager with a starting salary of $45,500. The slot has been vacant since May, when former manager Dawnita Haueter was fired by the board.
Haueter, 53, was hired in December, 2021.
The board has yet to give a reason for Haueter’s termination but in May, Dan Joyce, Malheur County judge, said she was fired because she “did not fulfill or live up to the obligations of her contract.”
The Malheur County Sheriff’s Office is investigating bookkeeping discrepancies at the fairgrounds.
Tschida told the board he agreed to fill the caretaker spot at the fairgrounds and signed a contract to do the job for $18 an hour through mid-August. Meanwhile, the board will search for a full-time employee to be caretaker.
The board also approved the purchase of a money counter for $188, a new safe for $569 and discussed a contract with Treasure Valley Community College but made no decision.

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

Previous coverage:

Fair board inches forward on effort to find new manager

Fair board set to tackle task to fill vacant manager position

Malheur County Fairgrounds manager is fired

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