Safety at the Oregon Country Fair: 'We have a little hospital here'


      TICKETS: No tickets to the Oregon Country Fair are available for sale on site. You must purchase tickets in advance.

      TRANSIT: Lane Transit District offers ticket holders a ride to and from the fairgrounds. Riders can catch a bus starting at 10 a.m. at either the Eugene Station downtown or the Valley River Center transit station. The last bus leaves the fair at 7:30 p.m. each night.

      TRAFFIC: The Lane County Sheriff's Office will be providing dedicated patrols in the area of Hwy 126 and Suttle Road during the Oregon Country Fair.

      Flaggers will be in the area of Maple Gate (between milepost 44 and 45) on Hwy 126 to help direct traffic.

      During the fair weekend, there will be special traffic zones on Hwy 126 and Suttle Rd., including a temporary reduction in posted speed limits for the area.

      VENETA, Ore. - The walkways at the Oregon Country Fair are streaming with painted faces, fairy wings and unique costumes even though the fair hasn't even started yet.

      Festivities officially begin Friday at 11 a.m.

      Through Sunday, organizers expect to have 30,000 people attend.

      "So that makes us one of the larger towns here in Oregon," said Ren Arrington, "and we have a little hospital here that supports that."

      That small hospital sees a large number of patients: on a typical fair weekend, Arrington said they treat anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 patients.

      To meet the demand, the Whitebird Rock Medicine group boasts some big numbers of its own: 175 people are on staff.

      "We have doctors, nurses, paramedics, and mental workers on duty 24 hours a day," Arrington said.

      The medical group is at the fair for six weeks to make sure the crews who set up and take down the fair are covered.

      That's something general manager Charlie Ruff calls an immense asset to the fair.

      "I can't tell you the comfort it gives me to know that we have Whitebird docs on call 24/7 for 6 weeks out here while we're putting this thing together," he said.

      Calls range from bandages for small scrapes to problems with powertools.

      As long as the medical emergency doesn't require lab work, Arrington says they're prepared for it.

      "Our job is to just hold everybody in our arms and make sure that people feel safe here," Arrington said, "and that when there is a problem it doesn't distract from the fun everyone else is having."