Fair History

How it All Began

The Multnomah County Fair started in 1906 in Gresham.  In the beginning it was known as the Grange Fair.  It all started in the mid-1890’s by several members of Gresham Grange – 270 and Multnomah’s Grange – 71.  On July 13, 1906, at a regular meeting at Gresham Grange – 270, a motion was made and carried that the Master and Helper of each Grange in Multnomah County and Clackamas cooperate with Gresham Grange in giving a County Fair.

The location which the grangers had selected for the Fair was unsuitable, so arrangements were made to hold it on a tract of land that had been intended for a park.  Since 1906 the Fair had been held at that site until the land was sold and the Fair moved.

The Gresham range served as the Multnomah County Fair Office in the early years.  Jasper J. Johnson, Multnomah County Pomona Master, was one of the early Co-Fair Managers for a number of years.

On September 11, 1909 a motion was made and carried to appoint a committee of three to make arrangements for a restaurant for the Multnomah County Fair.  A restaurant was built and operated by the Grange for a number of years at the Multnomah County Fair per motion on September 10, 1910.

The Multnomah County Fairgrounds were sold in 1966, and the site now used was purchased.  However, it took a few years for work to be completed, so the Multnomah County Fair continued in Gresham until 1968, when the last County Fair was held on the original site after 62 years.

The Grange is proud of its part in making the County Fair and what it stands for a success.  We continue in supporting the Fair where every man, woman and child has a chance to exhibit his skill in Agriculture, Livestock, Hobby or Craft, and unite people in all walks of life in harmony.

Submitted by:  Tom Alton

Taken from the archives of the Gresham Historical Society Books