Portland, OR. This was to be Cycle Oregon’s 30th anniversary ride. It was sold out with over 2,000 riders poised to visit Crater Lake, Oregon’s only National Park. The weeklong ride would have covered over 500 miles and taken place, from September 9 through 16. However, the Executive Director of the nonprofit that organizes the ride has called it off because of wildfires.
Steve Schulz notified participants with the following message:
Forty-four percent of acres burning nationally are in Oregon. Fifty percent of individuals fighting fires nationally are in Oregon and Washington. Eight of the highest trained firefighting teams in the nation are working on the fires in Oregon. These fires are spread throughout the entire state, with the heaviest fires being in central and southern Oregon – encompassing our 2017 Classic route. Currently, fires are impacting five of our seven days with smoke and air quality levels ranging from unhealthy to hazardous. Previously designed alternate routes are now affected with fire and smoke from both new and existing fires. Statewide weather forecasts for the foreseeable future are for more hot, dry and windy weather with an associated increase in fire activity and smoke production.
Here’s a link with FAQs about the event cancellation: http://www.cycleoregon.com/2017-classic-cancelled/
After discussions with numerous authorities including the Oregon Department of Forestry, the US Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Oregon Department of Transportation and others and conducting on site personal meetings with Incident Commanders at the fires, we have come to the most difficult decision to cancel the 2017 Classic event.
This is an enormous disappointment for all of us. We as a community rise to challenges, but sometimes the risks far outweigh the potential benefits. We have exhausted the options and possibilities of doing anything but cancelling. The one priority that we won’t jeopardize is safety; we feel we cannot go forward without doing just that.
We are sensitive to the current struggles throughout our communities and our state. Right now, Oregon needs our support; Cycle Oregon will not add to these already challenging times.
This situation is unprecedented in Cycle Oregon history; we are in uncharted territory. As we work on next steps, we ask for time as we determine the best path forward. We realize you have many questions and we are committed to answering them. We will focus our current efforts on taking care of our communities as they deal with their struggles, being as generous as possible to our riders and partners, and supporting our state and those standing up and fighting these perils on our behalf. Cycle Oregon is something that we all embrace, and want to experience, but there are much bigger things at play here.
Over the next number of days, we’ll be working on how we stop this freight train and assess. We will reach back out to you by next Wednesday with our next steps.
Cycle Oregon is more than just a brand or a bike ride. It’s a way of being. We will move forward. We will embrace the environment that surrounds us – good or bad – find meaning in it, and remember that we are here to make a difference. And we will ride on.
Steve Schulz, Executive Director