Writings and observations

Revolutionizing Boardman

the raceway at Boardman

Raceway at Boardman/Pacific NW Motorsports Park

We motor through Boardman (Oregon, that is, in case you’re unfamiliar) periodically, and ordinarily it has not been among the high points of those trips. Nothing against the city or the people there, it’s just that . . . there’s a lot of flat, scenically empty miles on any side of Boardman, and we’ve found the area most notable for the dust storms which, to the area’s credit, are duly warned about in area traffic signs.

People do live and work there, mainly in crop process and port activities, but for most of us the Boardman area isn’t a destination. Or hasn’t been. But that may change, because of something that happened at 2 p.m. today.

Boardman now seems poised for a long-awaited development as a racetrack destination point. From the management of the Pacific Northwest Motorsports Park: “Boardman’s motorsports speedway development will officially make the leap from dream to reality on Thursday, October 25th at 2:00 PM, when state, regional and local officials join the developers of Oregon International Speedway to break ground for Pacific Northwest Motorsports Park at the Tower Road site just off I-84, exit 158. The first motorsports country club in the Pacific Northwest is expected to open to members and enthusiasts in the fall 2008.”

They’re talking about a massive development, including hotel space, other entertainment options, condos, golf and more.

Very ambitious. You have to keep your fingers crossed on this one, because what’s needed is a large response – a substantial customer base – which would have to come from a considerable distance away. Boardman is quite a distance from a large population center – close to halfway between Portland and Boise, which in total is a full day’s drive.

But it’s worth crossing fingers. If it works as a business proposition, it could establish a real gem in a part of the Northwest that could use it. And in this kind of area, this kind of development really doesn’t have any obvious downside.

It also could give the region’s racing community something to cheer for, after their double rejections in the last few years around the Puget Sound. NASCAR may not have gotten very interested yet, but if the early economic signs look good, that could change.

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