A Track, a team and a Community with the Luck of the Irish bringing prosperity to the Mckenzie river
Updated: Aug 29, 2022
The world's top track and field athletes are coming to Oregon within the next month.
KGW published a feature on the preparation for the team coming to McKenzie River Community Track.
The best in the USA are in Eugene this weekend competing for one of those spots.
The past 2 years I have been working with a variety of communities, schools, organizations and teams to create a connection between the teams coming into Oregon and the amazing communities we have throughout the state. I am now leaning in on one team coming to a community that will welcome them with open arms, Athletics Ireland
It all started knowing that the World Championships was coming to Oregon in 2021, the year after the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020. The vision was there with several of the projects I was working on from the Maupin Deschutes River Athletic Complex ( started in 2019) and track meets we would put on to showcase world class competition through Portland Track and Tracklandia.
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the State of Oregon and if I could make an impact but also help build momentum for the foundation of the sport through community engagement I was determined to do so.
We had a few things disrupt the best laid out plans to host the world following the Olympics in 2020. The world was struck with a global pandemic which impacted everyone globally until we could carefully begin to gather, organize and compete.
2019 we started to see the emergence of a deadly pandemic trying to understand and navigate it carefully to lessen the spread and impact on people and events.
The Olympics were postponed a year to 2021
Portland Track and Tracklandia popped up World Class Meets and created a livestream for the world to watch athletes compete and hit their qualifying standards safely.
Hayward Field opens for competition in 2021.
The World Championships was postponed a year to 2022
This is just in the world of sport.. Not only did we have the pandemic, we had political unrest, climate change leading to unprecedented wildfires and heat waves. I have kept my eye on the finish line trying to help promote Oregon22 and build a legacy for the sport in the state with this event coming next month.
I have always believed that the best way to promote this event throughout the state was to have communities adopt teams and welcome them to the state. Travel Oregon and Oregon 22 put together a list of locations following the World Indoor Championships in Portland in 2016. There was a lot that happened between 2017 and 2020. New facilities were built, others were closed down, economic and organizational changes occured making it difficult to find accurate information In addition wildfires impacted many and there was not a central portal for teams to get the information needed to find training facilities, housing, food and access to Eugene.
I realized that many things got in the way and decided on my own to provide information and connect facilities, communities and teams that were seeking options to come train in advance of the Championships.
I had conversations with representatives from the USA, Sweden, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Croatia, Canada, and Ireland. I worked with facilities from McKenzie River, Maupin, Corban University, Scappoose, Sherwood, Linfield, Pacific, Newberg, McMinnville, Willamette as well as schools down in Southern Oregon and Coos Bay.
As we are approaching the Championships coming next month I am working primarily with Team Ireland to help arrange their transportation, training facilities, (McKenzie Community Track) , housing and meals. Some people ask why I am doing this....I am not being compensated for the amount of time being put in. I am doing this because I see the longer term potential for this community as a legacy to this event coming to our state. I want the world to see what Oregon has to offer through the lens of these amazing communities. It is an inspiration point for these communities as they emerge from a pandemic, economic hardships and devastating wildfires that have destroyed hundreds of people's homes and livelihoods. Could this be the start of new activity in the area that will pressure test the infrastructure and bring jobs and events year round.
I am lucky to lean into some of these communities that through my methodology I see the potential and help those "Imagine" what could be. Each one of the projects I am working has the intersection to connect to another.
While at Nike we believed that social change through sport is reality. I see track and field venues as a centerpiece of the community and there can be many things that emerge from that high quality space for people to engage.
I am excited to see what the next month brings from Team Ireland coming to McKenzie and other activities emerging as a result of connecting the McKenzie River Valley. Running Camps, Trail Runs, Cycling Events, Mountain Biking, Rafting, Fly Fishing, Hiking, Sports Camps and Events year round....
I am always looking for help or ways to bring the methodology to organizations, companies, or communities. Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out what is next and how I can help transform your organization, company or community.