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Gentlemen, stop your engines

Posted: Monday, Dec 31st, 2012

Speedway stalled by city concerns

The late-summer air in Cottage Grove went eerily quiet at the end of August, as race fans dealt with the closure of the Cottage Grove Speedway by city officials due to concerns over maintenance work not completed there by owner Bob Farwell.

Community Development Director Howard Schesser cited a laundry list of upgrades agreed to but not yet made at the Speedway in a letter to Farwell indicating that “operation of the Speedway shall cease immediately.” Previously governed by Lane County, the Speedway was annexed into the City of Cottage Grove in 2010. As part of the Speedway’s annexation, its master plan included requirements that building permits be obtained for several buildings that have already been constructed. In addition, engineer drawings were to be submitted for extensions of the Speedway’s water and sewer systems, and plans for a secondary access road were to be completed and a culvert built at its entrance.

The City claimed that progress on these developments was slow in coming and that Farwell had not communicated about them in some time.

“We’re at the point where we have to be firm,” Schesser said. “It’s unfortunate, but it goes back to the owner not performing his end of the bargain and not being able to operate because of it.”

Soon, however, the Speedway would have new ownership. Jerry Schram, owner of Sunset Speedway in Banks, Ore., Willamette Speedway in Lebanon and Grays Harbor Raceway, also owns the bank note on the Cottage Grove Speedway and was in prime position to take over management there following Farwell’s inability to improve the site.

By Sept. 15, City officials were satisfied that Schram’s ownership would lead to the needed upgrades at the Speedway, and the track hosted three races to close out the 2012 season.

For the complete article see the 01-02-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 01-02-2013 paper.

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