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Old 04-09-2011, 10:03 PM
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PistonsChick PistonsChick is offline
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This came across my desk today - thought it might be of interest. Elaine Derrick is the General Manager for Pro Caliber Motorsports here in Vancouver (which is owned by **** Hanna, our local Jeep dealership). She is involved in everything motorsports with her primary interest seeming to be Motocross. Good news??? What are your thoughts Angie?

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Washington: Clark County promoter selected to run ORV park.

Clark County promoter selected to run ORV park

Saturday, March 5, 2011 - 01:04

BY STEVEN FRIEDERICH

The Daily World

MONTESANO -- The Grays Harbor County commissioners approved privatizing the Straddleline ORV Park Friday afternoon during a special meeting, which drew a few dozen interested residents.

County Commissioner Terry Willis said she had received hundreds of e-mails with most saying that privatization of the offroad vehicle park located east of McCleary was the way to go, instead of allowing the county to continue running the park.

The only dispute during the nearly-hour-long meeting was which of the two vying to take over the park would get the contract. Commissioner Herb Welch was pushing for Ted Devol of Enumclaw-based Pacific Racing Organization to take the contract. He made a motion for that to happen, which died for lack of a second.

Commissioners Willis and Mike Wilson both voted in favor of Elaine Derrick of Clark County-based Promoto Promotions to get the contract. Welch voted against it.

"I think she'll do a great job but not as good as Ted," Welch said.

Negotiations must now be worked out with Derrick and a contract must be signed. A draft contract calls for Derrick to pay the county $25,200 each year, which is the minimum amount the county would pay to cover taxes and fees on the property.

The draft contract calls for Derrick to operate the park for the next three years and requires her to submit a plan of operations to the county for approval. The county also stipulates that the plan must include events and activities for all types of off-road vehicles.

However, the contract does not specifically call for the operator to submit to annual evaluations to the county or report on earnings or attendance.

Willis said the contract is still a work in progress and the finer details will be worked out with Derrick. The commissioners must then approve the contract.

Derrick, who operates a winter motocross event in Clark County, said she'll have no problems paying the county. She said she would like to have a longer contract than just three years, however.

"I'm excited to take over and can't wait to get it open," she said.

Commissioner Wilson pointed out that Derrick has said all along that she'd be able to come up with the finances to take over the park while Devol wanted to have more discussions about lowering the $25,200 the county was asking. Devol's proposal also called for a five-year contract with two five-year options.

"He was not willing to accept the fee we wanted," Wilson said, adding he wanted to minimize the amount of money the county spends on the park.

Wilson also noted that Devol only wanted to keep the park open just a few days a week while Derrick wants to open it almost every day.

"The public is best served by having the park open nearly every day," Wilson said..

Willis said she was moved to vote for Derrick because her "team was set and ready to go."

Welch argued for Devol because he believed he was equally ready to go, but mainly because his operations were out of Enumclaw, which is closer, while Derrick's team mainly comes from Oregon and Vancouver, Wash.

COUNTY-RUN OPTION

Besides the privatization options, another option on the table came from a presentation by Mark Cox, the assistant manager of Grays Harbor's solid waste division. Cox proposed the county keep running the facility with him in charge and hire two new county employees and some seasonal help to do the work and just contract out the promotions and race-track-building aspects.

But, in the end, the commissioners decided against that option.

"I don't think Mark's proposal would be a good idea as much as they put into it," Welch said. "The public perception and rightfully so is that we would be expanding government. We run parks but everything we're hearing is there's a lack of funds. ... For the county to take on a business like this, I don't think it would be a good idea at this time."

Wilson said he thinks Cox could have done a good job and thanked the county staff for making the proposal, but he was more inclined to give an outside contractor a chance at this point.

For one thing, Wilson said it's an "unknown" how the racing community would respond to Cox while both Devol and Derrick were already known figures in the offroad racing community.

"EXPERIENCE FACTOR"

Willis agreed that there was a bit of uncertainty about Cox's proposal, although she did feel the county would be protected more with it under county control. In the end, she said "the experience factor is huge."

Willis printed out a "score sheet" to help her fellow commissioners tally up the pros and cons of the various proposals. Looking at experience, management skills, promotions ability, customer service skills and other factors, Willis gave Derrick the top score with the county proposal a close second. Wilson also gave Derrick the top score with Devol's proposal and the county's proposal tied for second. Welch was so against the county proposal, he decided not to even to score it and awarded Devol the top score.

Alfie Bensinger, the owner of Alfie's motorcycle and off-road vehicle shop in Aberdeen, said he's just excited the park was going to re-open. Bensinger said he would have been more in favor of the county continuing to operate the park, "But Elaine is going to do a great job. That's what's important. To keep it open."

The commissioners had considered closing the park for the year altogether, but stopped short of that idea because closing it might have meant giving back a series of state grants that went to open the park in the first place.

Straddleline is located on a 155-acre site along the Grays Harbor/Thurston County line with its entrance off Highway 8. The park has 78 acres in Grays Harbor and 77 acres in Thurston and has proven to increase some of the business in nearby McCleary.

Thurston County ran the facility from 1977 to 2002, when the Thurston County commissioners closed the facility over liability concerns. Grays Harbor took it over from Thurston in 2005 and ran the park using a combination of gate fees and state grants. However, two years ago the state grants to operate the park went away and gate fees took a sharp drop, as well.

Derrick said she's confident she can turn a profit.

The county's business plan says the park includes 5 miles of bike trails in the park and access to more than 100 miles of trails within Capital State Forest. It offers more than 150 acres of open riding, a one mile MX track, 1/8 mile flat track, off-road courses, sand drag strip, kids mini MX course and a 4-wheel drive obstacle course.

ELAINE DERRICK
TEAM PRO CALIBER MOTORSPORTS
BEND/VANCOUVER/LONGVIEW
RIDER SUPPORT/ SALES
DIRECT LINE 360-566-6016
TOLL FREE 1-877-776-6686
CELL 360-606-3776
FAX 360-892-3636
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