On Sept. 17, 1996, Deschutes County residents approved a $25 million bond to build a new fairgrounds facility. The successful building project included an expo center capable of hosting large indoor events. In the past 14 years, the fairgrounds and expo center have generated more than $400 million in economic impact for the Bend-Redmond business communities.

The essence of this letter is to encourage your yes vote on the 1 percentage point increase in the county’s room tax (Measure 9-96) in Tuesday’s election. Visitors to Deschutes County will pay this increased tax proposal.

State law requires 70 percent of room tax go to tourism-related expenditures. For the past 13 years, budget restrictions have not allowed the fairgrounds/expo center an in-depth or flexible marketing campaign. The 1 percentage point increase in room tax would provide significant and consistent funds for Deschutes/expo center to update marketing strategies locally, statewide, nationally and internationally.

Join me and vote yes on Measure 9-96, and let us maintain the finest fairgrounds/expo center in Oregon.

Elton Gregory, member of Deschutes County Fair Association