One of the most important transitions in Clatsop County was the movement of the fairgrounds from the middle of Astoria to a location off Oregon Highway 202. It was anachronistic to have an agricultural exposition center at the heart of town, and the new location gave the fairgrounds room to expand. That happened 14 years ago.

Building a facility and paying for its operation are two different things. County taxpayers four years ago agreed to a property tax levy to pay for operation of the fairgrounds. On the ballot you will soon receive, there is a ballot measure (4-148) to renew that measure, but at a lower level of taxation. It would levy a property tax of 7 cents per $1,000 assessed property value each year for five years, beginning in fiscal year 2011-12.

This tax will buy the fairgrounds maintenance and some upgrades as well continued operation.

The fairgrounds has two distinct sets of beneficiaries. There is the broad public, which uses the fairgrounds for events such as last week's Crab Festival. The other users are many local youth programs, including 4-H and Future Farmers of America. These young people and their adult leaders reside throughout Clatsop County.

This is a financially prudent proposal. It addresses the fundamental requirement of all public buildings, which is maintenance.

We urge a "yes" vote on county Measure 4-148.

? Hear The Daily Astorian's interview about the levy with Fair Manager Gary Friedman and Fair Board Chairman Jack Ficken on KMUN 9:30 a.m. Friday and on our Web site (www.dailyastorian.com)

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