Willamette Speedway to reopen after safety and health concerns

Operators plan to reopen for races starting Aug. 30.

Posted: Aug 21, 2019 6:04 PM
Updated: Aug 21, 2019 6:56 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Over a week after Lebanon's Willamette Speedway had its electricity shut off by Linn County due to health and safety concerns, the lights are back on and operators are working to prepare for scheduled races.

According to Linn County, the track, which offers audiences the chance to watch various classes of cars race, had missed scheduled deadlines to meet health and safety codes.

They said the facility violated codes by constructing facilities without a permit, including a concession stand and an electrical room. The Lebanon Fire Marshal also raised concerns about Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility and fire safety.

The county shut the power off at the speedway on Aug. 12. On Wednesday, power was restored after officials deemed that operators had addressed the most pressing safety concerns. They said property owner Jerry Schram has also signed a compliance agreement for continued safety improvement. 

The closure of the speedway interrupted racing season, but operators plan to reopen for races starting Aug. 30.

"This is a very special place to me, and it is for a lot of people," said street stock driver Michael Burnham. "So getting this place going is top priority."

Others in the community are simply glad that the activity will still draw people to Lebanon.

"The drive-in theater closed quite a few years ago. The skating rink closed down. Nearly everything you pay money for now. It's the last thing I'd pay money for now," said resident Henry Foot.

B&M Motorsport, who operates the Willamette Speedway, told KEZI 9 News they are working with Linn County in order to meet code.

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