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Gresham ParkMultnomah County Fair

Late in the afternoon on August 2, 1969, before an estimated crowd of 6,000, the eleventh race field was loading in the gate. The traditional two mile marathon ended three minutes, thirty one and one fifth seconds later and Hockey Pants was heading to the winners circle, the last horse that would ever take a picture at this track. The closing day crowd bet $194,900 for the afternoon.

Gresham Park was a five eights mile dirt oval, that I assume had a small open air grandstand. Racing was held at night except for Saturday Afternoon for the ten day meet. The track was located inside the Multnomah County Fairgrounds, which back then was ;located in Gresham. Gresham was a fast growing suburb of Portland and desperately wanted to develop the old fairgrounds. After the 1969 season the site was sold to a developer. The fair itself was saved and moved to Portland, but unfortunately it was in the shadow of Portland Meadows, so a new track was never built.

Today in Gresham the of the old fairgrounds is now called Gresham Town Fair, a local mall, with no reference to what preceded it. You might consider the name as such, but the fairgrounds were never named Gresham Town Fair, although it did lead me to where the track originally was.   

Gresham ParkLast Call!

Gresham Park opened in 1933 when pari mutual racing was legalized in Oregon. While I was doing the Bucket List Binge Tour, like all the tracks I looked into Gresham Park and realized that places like it are why I do this website. Anybody can find information on Saratoga Race Course, or Gulfstream or Santa Anita but who speaks for the broken down track, horses and  jockeys who provided pari mutual payouts to their local fans.

Thinking more about this it's not likely anyone will ever read this, who would even know of Gresham Park. In 1968, the legal betting age was probably twenty one, so doing the math a person of that age would be near seventy by know, so how many of those 4,200 closing day fans would be around to remember it. So my hats off to all the tracks that have passed into history, I'll try to keep them alive.         

 The Gresham, Oregon area is probably better known for Multnomah Dog Track, which closed in 2005, but looks to still be open for simulcasting.