The sun was shining and sheep were baaing during last week’s business meeting, the first held by the Clackamas Board of County Commissioners at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds.

Attendance of around 60 people at the Aug. 14 meeting was up significantly from regular board meetings at the Red Soils campus in Oregon City.

Chair John Ludlow first floated the idea to move the board’s regular Thursday meeting to the 108th annual Clackamas County Fair earlier this year during a controversial discussion centered on the need to demolish the 90-year-old Fairgrounds’ barn because of poor maintenance and heavy snow damage.

In the end, fairgrounds staff was left with just 18 days from the time demolition of the old barn was done to the opening day of the fair, said Fairgrounds Executive Director Laurie Bothwell.

At the same time, this year’s 4-H participants had nothing but praise for the temporary T-structures, which rent for $45,000, that housed their animals.

“Everyone is very happy with the solution,” said Wendy Hein, who manages the Clackamas County 4H Youth Development Program for the Oregon State University Extension Service. “We keep hearing all kinds of compliments.”

But Hein noted that tents are only a temporary solution.

“Obviously a permanent building or buildings is where we need to go,” she said, adding that she would prefer two replacement buildings rather than one. This is because of disease control issues, the ability to hold multiple events at once and that smaller buildings tend to have less expensive structural requirements.

Commissioner Jim Bernard is the liaison to the fair board and is spearheading a fundraising effort to replace the barn, which could cost between $2 million and $5 million.

Commissioner Tootie Smith emphasized that county will help, but it’s up to the community to come up with the cash.

“You can’t always look to government for your solution,” Smith said.

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