Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on April 8th, 2008 at 1:27 pm
Velodrome Project hoped to build
a temporary rack at the Oregon
State Fairgrounds in Salem.
(Photos © J. Maus)
Supporters of a new velodrome on the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem suffered a setback last week when State Parks officials said they would not provide funds for the track.
The original proposal was to spend $130,000 to construct a temporary, wood-frame and plywood track to be housed in the Pavillion Building.
Steve Brown — a Portland-based businessman velodrome advocate who has been working on this project since last September — was already deep into the planning stages for events he hoped would begin at the Fair this summer.
Brown had a plan to repay State Parks over a two-year period (through concessions, ticket sales, and sponsorship) and he had partnered up with the Salem Keizer Volcanoes baseball team for advice on how to successfully promote and manage the velodrome’s operation.
Brown, who was notified of the funding decision by State Parks Director Tim Wood, is disappointed. He felt the low-cost proposal had “great appeal”:
“We were almost ready to go. We could have brought the top riders from the U.S. and Canada to the inaugural event…There was great support from top amateur riders. We felt this was a great opportunity and it would have also been a great way to build support for a more permanent facility while at the same time promoting bike racing and riding in the Salem area.”
Tim Wood at the Oregon
Bike Summit last Saturday.
While he hoped the deal would come through, Brown understands why Parks could not fund his project. In a note to Brown about the decision, Wood — who was supportive of the project — cited millions of dollars in debt the State Fair has to meet to cover past improvements. Wood made it clear that the State Fair needs to focus on generating new revenue and that “further capital expenditures are not an option at this time”.
Brown says he never intended to focus on Salem as the location for a new velodrome, but that the opportunity was just too good to turn down. Now he plans to reorganize and seek corporate sponsorship for the construction of an indoor velodrome in the Portland area, which he says has “been our goal all along.”
During last year’s legislative session, Brown worked with other bike advocates to try and pass Senate Bill 926 that would have used Oregon State Lottery funds to build three new velodromes in Oregon. That bill gained support from several lawmakers, but ultimately died in committee.
Learn more about Steve Brown’s plans to bring a velodrome to Portland at PDXVelo.org.