ONLY ON 5: Grants Pass entertainment center hopes to become ‘epicenter for horse racing’

GRANTS PASS, Ore. – Horse racing is getting a bit more serious in Grants Pass. It’s bringing in a multi-million dollar food and entertainment center, The Flying Lark, right next to the Grants Pass Downs.

“We’re gonna be the epicenter for horse racing in Oregon. We will effectively move that from Portland down to [the] Grants Pass-Medford area. It’s gonna change horse racing forever,” said Mike Thiessen, President of The Flying Lark.

The multi-million dollar food and entertainment facility is owned by Dutch Bros’ Co-Founder Travis Boersma. Thiessen points to a recently published independent study that he said shows the impact horse racing can have on the Oregon economy.

“There are 2,200 people that rely on horse racing for a job. There is over $300 million in tax revenue. If horse racing went away we’d have to pay, which probably means higher taxes for the rest of us,” said Thiessen.

Thiessen says The Flying Lark alone is generating 250 jobs. On top of that, 60% of the contractors building the new facility are from the Rogue Valley.

“One of the focuses we have is we wanna make this community-centric first. We want the community to take pride and ownership in it,” said Michael Walters, Marketing Director for The Flying Lark.

It’s not just the labor that’s local.  The art surrounding the facility is largely from the Pacific Northwest.

“There’s really nice world-class equestrian-based artwork that’ll be nothing but horse pieces of art,” said Walters.

It is also expected to generate more traffic to the Grants Pass Downs.

“It’ll be a really cool facility for Grants Pass and Southern Oregon to come have a fun afternoon and evening. So we’re really, really excited,” said Randy Evers.

The Flying Lark is set to open in December where it’s hoping to become the local hot spot.

NBC5 News reporter Katie Streit comes from her hometown, Las Vegas. Katie went to the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism & Media Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. While in Las Vegas, Katie won a Student Emmy for her coverage of the Las Vegas Shooting Anniversary. She also hosted and produced the university's political news show, where she interviewed Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak and Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-1). Her passion for politics turned into a coveted internship at the US Capitol in Washington D.C. In her final months working in the Las Vegas area, she was recognized for her journalism achievements by the Nevada Broadcaster's Foundation. Katie is excited to tell the stories of local Southern Oregonians and Northern Californians. Feel free to contact her at [email protected]
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