The Union County Fair Association is asking for help from Union County in paying its liability insurance premium.

UCFA President Amy Horn, an Observer employee, made the request at a meeting of the Union County Board of Commissioners Wednesday. She said the UCFA pays $7,400 annually for its portion of liability insurance under the county’s policy and explained that financial assistance would help the Union County Fair Association complete badly needed maintenance.

“We are facing some challenges on the grounds this year that require immediate attention for the safety of those who attend the fair yearly and use the grounds for other events including our local 4-H and FFA leaders, kids and their families,” said Horn in a letter she read aloud to the commissioners.

Horn said the work is needed because the fair had a downturn in attendance for several years before it started to rebound in 2018, when attendance jumped by about 800. Unfortunately, during the years attendance was down, upkeep on certain portions of the fairgrounds had to be put on hold.

“They were ignored and ‘band-aided’ to the point that they must be taken care of now or they stand to become a hazard or (could) start to affect the event itself,” Horn said. “(The payment of the insurance premium) would allow us to work on fixing those hazards.”

No action was taken on UCFA’s request at Wednesday’s meeting, but the commissioners indicated they would discuss it at a future meeting. Before making a decision, the commissioners want to find out if proposed legislation that would significantly increase funding to county fairs in Oregon is approved by the Legislature during the current session.

“The need would not be as big (if the legislation is approved),” said Union County Commissioner Paul Anderes.

He said if the legislation is not approved, he wants the county to step up and assist the Union County Fair Association.

“We need to support the fair association,” Anderes said.

See complete story in Friday's Observer