Construction Begins

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Sponsored by: County Administrative Office

Officials break ground at new Fair Complex Event Center

Event Center SE perspective 

Officials from the City of Hillsboro, Washington County Visitors Association and other partnering organizations broke ground today at the site for a future Event Center on the grounds of the Washington County Fair Complex. The 89,000-square-foot facility, proposed as a key feature and centerpiece of a revitalized Fair Complex, is designed to accommodate the needs of a wide range of community activities. While continuing to support and enhance the annual Washington County Fair in Hillsboro, the Event Center is intended to provide year-round opportunities to host visitors from across the region for large community gatherings.  

“By working together with the City of Hillsboro, the Washington County Visitors Association, local chambers of commerce and their member businesses, we begin building an Event Center that will serve the needs of our growing county, our diverse business community, sporting events and their devoted fans, while also serving and promoting our rich agricultural heritage,” said Washington County Board Chair Andy Duyck. 

"Creating a world-class events center to serve our residents and businesses would not have been possible without our community partners' long-standing commitment to this project. We're grateful that after many, many years of planning, thousands of new visitors will get to experience Hillsboro and Washington County because of this events center," said Hillsboro Mayor Steve Callaway.

Design Reflects Past, Present and Future
The aesthetic of the new building is meant to evoke both Washington County’s still-vibrant agricultural heritage as much as its dynamic present and future, according to its designers at LRS Architecture. Sweeping beams reminiscent pioneer-era structures will be combined with modern, panoramic windows and other features drawing the eye of visitors along Veterans Drive and the Fair Complex MAX station to the south. 

With overall project delivery by general contractor Swinerton, the new building will include exposition space and a state-of-the-art conference center with commercial kitchen, concessions and offices. The interior will be complemented by a large entry plaza adjacent to the lobby, and an outdoor exhibit area on the west, opening into the interior grounds of the Fair Complex. The new venue will offer various room configurations sized to accommodate consumer shows, conferences and trade shows, corporate meetings and seminars, banquets and receptions, fundraisers, festivals, spectator events and a variety of community uses. During the annual County Fair, the Event Center will provide indoor exhibit space, restrooms and concessions. 

The Master Plan
In an effort to ensure long-term stability of the County Fair, as well as the ability of the Fair Complex to meet the needs of the wider community well into the future, the Board of County Commissioners initiated a strategic planning process in 2007. This effort led to the creation of a "Fairgrounds Master Plan" by a 15-member Fairgrounds Revitalization Task Force, representing a broad range of interests. Their work also included a comprehensive report which detailed their findings and recommendations to the Board. Construction of a multi-purpose Event Center was described as an early milestone in the plan, provided a viable revenue source could be identified. 

Funding Strategy
Through the leadership of the Board of Commissioners and the City of Hillsboro, along with input from numerous community stakeholders, major funding for the Washington County Event Center is coming from the County's Gain Share and Transient Lodging Tax (TLT) revenue, along with an $8 million contribution by the City of Hillsboro (also through TLT) and $1 million from the Washington County Visitors Association (WCVA). The total budget is estimated at $46 million. 

The estimated completion date for the Washington County Event Center is in the fall of 2020.  

Media Contact:

Philip Bransford, Communications Officer