Anyone have anymore info?
I heard a rumor things weren't going well, then I found this article:
By Damian Mann
Jackson County officials likely will take legal action against the operator of the drag strip in White City after he decamped a month ago in default of his lease agreement.
County Administrator Danny Jordan said Jim Taylor, owner of the Hot Rod Gassers Association, pulled all of his equipment out of Champion Raceway just a few months before the start of the racing season.
"We took action because Mr. Taylor left us high and dry," he said.
Jordan said Taylor is now in violation of his lease agreement and owes the county $80,000.
This week, the county sent out a request for proposals seeking other businesses that might be willing to operate the track so it can be operational this summer.
The drag strip is located in the Jackson County Sports Park off Highway 140 in White City.
At one point, Taylor attempted to sell the equipment he owns to the county for $80,000, but county officials discovered he was trying to sell it to other parties for a lesser amount.
A drag strip owner in Woodburn bought the equipment, then offered to sell it back to the county in the interest of keeping the White City track operational, according to county officials.
For $35,000, the county purchased some key operational equipment, including lights, timing equipment, sensors, readouts, an emergency net that stops race cars and a sprayer needed for traction.
The county bought the equipment to avoid the possibility of losing a season at the drag strip.
"We're not going to be held hostage by the equipment," Jordan said.
Taylor said he blames the county for the situation.
"The county wouldn't step up to the plate to do any maintenance on the facility," he said. "We've been here seven years. We finally said enough is enough."
Taylor said that if the county isn't going to invest in the drag strip, it won't have much of a future, saying the strip is getting close to not meeting requirements of the National Hot Rod Association.
Taylor said he invested $320,000 in the drag strip over the first five years of his lease, including the installation of bathrooms.
Taylor paid a lease payment to the county of $1 during each of the first five years.
Jordan said the latest lease agreement signed two years ago requires Taylor to make $10,000 in annual improvements to the track.
Under the current five-year contract, Taylor paid $20,000 for the past two years in lease payments, but didn't invest $10,000 for improvements, Jordan said.
Now that Taylor is in default, the county calculates he owes $50,000 for five years worth of improvements, plus another $30,000 for the remaining lease payments.
In the past, the county struggled to work out other arrangements with Taylor, including investing $250,000 at the track with another $100,000 from Taylor.
After an agreement could not be reached, the county and Taylor agreed that he would pay $10,000 a year rather than $1 a year under the old lease.
"We wanted him to have some skin in the game," Jordan said.
In exchange, Taylor wanted a five-year lease in which neither party could opt out, Jordan said.
Now, it's Taylor who has opted out of the lease, he said.
"We've provided him a notice of default," Jordan said. "We'll likely take legal action to remedy it."
With Taylor gone, the county is looking for another operator, but instead of a lease agreement, the county wants a management agreement.
John Vial, director of county roads and parks, said under any new agreement the county will take care of landscaping and day-to-day maintenance around the drag strip.
He said the strip needs work, but is in good enough shape to receive sanctioning from the National Hot Rod Association or the International Hot Rod Association.
The new manager of the track would be responsible for management, promotions, operations and routine maintenance, including custodial work on buildings.
Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476, or email [Email]email@example.com.[/Email]
Its a neat little track, needing some TLC. The cool part: theres a shooting range on the property. Sure dont want to see it go.
Sure glad about all the developments! Just hate to see tracks close -even temporarily- based on how the NIMBY culture behaves.
Looking forward to what the future brings
Edited by A990 (Fri Mar 09 2012 08:55 PM)