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New raceway planned for Morrow County

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Saturday, July 01, 2006

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BOARDMAN — Steve Brucker, senior vice president of Oregon International Speedway, is looking forward to transforming a bare piece of dirt near Boardman into a 81,500-seat mega road-racing complex.

In May, the voters of Morrow County overwhelmingly approved an 8%, 30-year excise tax on race tickets, goods and services sold within a raceway activity district to fund utility and infrastructure improvements for the complex. Speedway officials say the financing is in place for the remainder of the project.

Brucker anticipates the raceway, hotel and 5,000-space RV park will attract upward of 10,000 people a week. A grandstand will overlook a 2.5-mile road course, 5/8-mile oval track, banked “super speedway,” dirt oval track, drag strip and go-cart track. Races are expected to start in late 2008.

But given the recent construction boom in Central Oregon, he worries about finding the 700 or so construction workers to build the 4,000-acre project. Speedway officials estimate the operation is worth $1 million annually to the county tax coffers.

“We don’t need Nascar to make this venue a success,”
says Brucker.

— Robert H. Hamrick

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