Make the McKenzie Connection!

Collaboration stressed at Main Street meeting

Participants say recreation resources could be a “Diamond in the rough”

FINN ROCK: After an hour and a half, people brainstorming at the latest “60 Mile Main Street” meeting they had come up with plenty of ideas to stay busy for close to twenty years. Despite that timeline, it appeared several projects were already in the works or could be resurrected from successes of the past.

Among building blocks currently on the calendar are this weekend’s McKenzie River Trail Run and the June 24th return of the Gravel Grinders Cascade Race. Both have been attracting participants from around the U.S. and the world. And, organizers say, area residents are encouraged to visit with trail runners and dirt bike riders when they camp at the McKenzie River Community Track.

It’s hoped that friendships will be formed and ideas can be shared about what drew folks to the area’s events and to update them on other recreation opportunities they’d likely be interested in.

In the realm of things that could benefit from a good dusting off were major cross country races once and kayaking competitions. One example occurred in the 1970s when the Tokatee Golf Club hosted the Oregon Cross Country Meet - won by Steve Prefontaine in 1973. A decade later, kayakers navigating a pylon course set up in the McKenzie River near Deer Creek competed to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team.

The creation of a museum that would highlight activities ranging from mining to the area’s personalities was mentioned as well, particularly if indigenous cultures were highlighted. Further discussions expanded into ways of updating informational postings based on the work that was done by the McKenzie Highway History project.

As the session wound down, there was support for making sure action was taken. Kevin Teater of Street View Planning said the next steps would involve Rural Development Initiatives working with the McKenzie River Chamber of Commerce and other local groups to seek additional funding for future community workshops.

That work will continue through the summer, with more gatherings scheduled for this fall.


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