Make the McKenzie Connection!

TRACK TALK - March 14, 2003

By Pete Petty

16 K Run at McKenzie TrackPhoto by West Coast Action Photos

BLUE RIVER: The McKenzie Community Track and Field drew a collection of world class athletes to the area last Saturday. Twelve teams from the Oregon Track Club, along with other amateur runners, participated in a 16K Relay  Race.

I have to begin this edition of Track Talk by giving shout outs of thanks to folks for their support of our McKenzie  Community Track and Field and the Aaron and Marie Jones Community Park.  A huge thank you to Mr. Ken Engelman, the publisher and editor of the River Reflections, for giving us space for this column.  It is very much appreciated and so helpful for sharing news of our Blue River facilities.  We had our first spring work party recently and want to thank those that spent part of their day sprucing up our park for a busy season ahead. Special thanks to our good friend, Brad McNutt for bringing his skills and heavy equipment.  We really are blessed to have such community spirited people.

The cleanup day was conducted in part to prepare for our first event of the season held last Saturday morning.  For the third year in a row, the McKenzie Community Track and Field played host to Oregon Track Club members  and other runners in a 16K Relay  Race.  Twelve teams of both world class runners and amateurs enjoyed a picture perfect day on our track.  Thanks to the generosity of area merchants, artists and supporters we were able to conduct a raffle for the runners.  Prizes were donated by our friends, Jack and Sam at Organic Redneck McKenzie River Farm in Leaburg,  Carol Tannenbaum of McKenzie River Lavender,  Jerry & Julie at the Vida Market, Tom Lincoln of the McKenzie River Gift Shop in Springfield, Debbie Dersham of the Eagle Rock Lodge in Nimrod and glass artists,  Josh Carter of Vida and Terry Brown of McKenzie Bridge.  Raffle contributions also came from several sport shops in Eugene.  Thanks also to the volunteers that helped stage the event. The running action was recorded by the photographers of West Coast Action Photo, Chris, Lily and Todd.  Pictures have been posted on ; Special kudos to them for spending the day with us.  All in all, a very successful and fun day at the Aaron and Marie Jones Community Park.

Our next big event will be the Aaron and Marie Jones Invitational on Friday, April 5.  Our volunteers will be hosting over 200 student athletes from all over our area in a day long competition and overnight at the school. The athletes will then be spectators at the Pepsi Invitational at Haywood Field on the U of O campus the following day.  This is a major event for our community track and there will be many opportunities for volunteering and spectators. For up to date information, check out our fantastic website and become a member, it is free! ; Be sure to” like us” on Face book to find out more this great area asset, The McKenzie Community Track and Field.

Now a note about how we hope to sustain our gift of the park and facilities in Blue River.  Many may be aware the park and track and field grounds were given to the people of our area by Aaron and Marie Jones and the Seneca Lumber Company and it is now our responsibility to maintain it.  This of course takes money, in addition to volunteers working to manage the upkeep.  Raising the necessary funds can often be challenging for the volunteers serving on the board of directors of a non- profit organization.  We hoping to have hit on a great idea to help raise funds and make use of the additional land donation made by the Jones family.  The land adjacent to the track and field will be an excellent venue for fairs and festivals, the first of which will be the McKenzie River Chainsaw Art Festival on August 16-18th.   We’re very excited about the prospects of this becoming an annual event to sustain our community park.  Once again, lots of opportunities for everyone to become involved as a volunteer in making this happen.  We will be holding the event the same weekend as the Art Festival in Leaburg and are partnering with the Emerald Art Center in conducting a logo design contest for our Chainsaw Art Festival.  Information about the Logo Contest is on the Track’s website.


McKenzie River Reflections is the weekly newspaper serving Oregon's McKenzie River Valley. Available by mail for $23/yr in Lane County, $29/yr outside Lane. Digital subscriptions are $23/yr. Purchase copies online at: Read about Cedar Flat, Walterville, Camp Creek, Leaburg, Vida, Nimrod, Finn Rock, Blue River, Rainbow and McKenzie Bridge.


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