The board of directors for World of Speed USA in Wilsonville has decided to close the popular automotive museum permanently due to lost revenue and other uncertainty from the Covid-19 pandemic, according to an email to financial supporters Tuesday afternoon.
“Deciding to close the museum was an extremely difficult decision,” said the email, which was shared with the Canby Now Podcast.
As with other Oregon museums and other establishments, World of Speed has been temporarily closed since March 16 due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
“As currently outlined, the museum would fall into Phase 2 or 3 of Oregon’s reopening plan, pushing our ability to open potentially into 2021,” Development Director Rebecca Lerback explained in the letter. “After much deliberation, the board has determined that they are unable to maintain the facility for such an extended closure period.”
All of the museum’s assets and remaining funds will be distributed to nonprofit museums and schools over the next three to eight months, as required by Oregon law, allowing World of Speed’s collection to live on for future generations to enjoy. Members who joined or renewed within the past six months may request a refund.
World of Speed, which is itself a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, opened five years ago as an educational celebration of all things motorsports, including drag racing, road racing, land speed racing, motorcycle racing, open wheel racing, NASCAR, and hydroplanes.
The museum also showcased the rich racing history of the Pacific Northwest, including local tracks like Woodburn Dragstrip, Jantzen Beach and Portland International Raceway, and local racing luminaries such as legendary Indy racecar builder Rolla Vollstedt.
World of Speed also worked with local high schools in conjunction with Clackamas Community College to provide a space for accredited automotive classes.
“Here, our students had the opportunity to learn skills needed in the automotive industry while receiving dual credit for high school and college,” Lerback said. “We are proud of all the hard work that was put into that program and hope we were able to ignite a spark in each of the students as they explore ongoing education opportunities.”
Photo from World of Speed on Facebook.