LEBANON — The owners of Willamette Speedway have signed a compliance agreement with the Linn County Planning and Building Department and plan to host races Aug. 30 and 31, after the speedway's electrical power had been shut off last week at the county's request.
The popular raceway, founded in 1966, is leased by Michael Short and Dan Dieble.
“Willamette Speedway greatly appreciates the support of the public, fans and racers while this matter is being dealt with by track ownerships,” Short said.
Planning and Building Director Robert Wheeldon said the county worked with the owners of the property, brothers Jim and Jerry Schram of Vancouver, Washington, who agreed to comply with county health and safety codes.
Wheeldon said the county provided the Schrams with a schedule of compliance. The immediate goals are to close a skybox area and arcade that were constructed without proper permits and inspections, and to keep a gate open at all times as a permanent emergency exit for fans.
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“We went back and forth with a compliance agreement with the Schrams’ attorney for several days last week and on Friday, it was signed,” Wheeldon said.
The county had been working with the property owners for several years on health and safety issues. After a series of inspections earlier this year, the county sent a letter to the Schrams and the lessees. The letter warned that failure to comply with health and safety codes by Aug. 12 would result in closure.
In May, the county asked the owners and lessees to provide hot water in restrooms and an accessible family restroom; install an industrial Type I hood in the kitchen along with proper permits and inspections; cease the use of the arcade; obtain permits and install approved sprinkler and fire alarm systems; obtain proper inspections and permits throughout the property.
By the start of the 2020 racing season, which begins in April, the owners need to demolish the east side grandstands, restaurants and restrooms or bring them into compliance with Oregon codes and obtain a certificate of occupancy.
Willamette Speedway staff announced the raceway’s impending opening on its social media page, noting that power was restored on Wednesday.
“We are projected to have everything in place to operate for the Giant Series Show starting 8/30/19,” the post noted. “It means that with your support, as racers and fans, that we all get to finish out the 2019 season.”
And if the opening goes as planned, so will the popular World of Outlaws show, scheduled for Sept. 4.
Contact Linn County reporter Alex Paul at 541-812-6114.