News and Notes

Singletrack Savior?

NPR travels to Oakridge to find out if mountain biking can save a town.

August 16, 2010

No doubt there are more than a few Portland-area riders who are counting down the hours until Mountain Bike Oregon’s annual rally down in Oakridge this weekend. The event, which draws some 300 riders annually to enjoy arguably the sweetest singletrack in the state, has been sold out for months.

And after catching NPR’s story on Oakridge this weekend, chances are good there’s a whole new crop of cyclists across the country that would now like to take a ride in what’s been dubbed the “Mountain Biking Capital of the Northwest.”

The story, which aired on Saturday, is part of NPR’s new series called State of the Re:Union which is meant to examine the meaning of community.

And to many in Oakridge, a town that’s been on skids since the logging industry collapsed back in 1990, “community” nowadays means touting the plethora of trails to be found in the 1.7 million-acre Willamette National Forest just outside of town.

But as NPR’s story notes, even as some residents seem ready to latch onto the two-wheeled tourist trade, not everyone is sold on the arrangement. Check out the story here.

As part of the State of the Re:Union story, Oakridge residents also read an open letter to their town. Check out the video clip, which offers a few inspirational glimpses of what some consider to be the town’s most marketable commodity: singletrack.

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