BikePortland

2017 Cycle Oregon ‘Classic’ ride cancelled due to wildfires – UPDATED


(Graphic: Cycle Oregon)

Cycle Oregon 2017 has been cancelled. Below is the statement from Executive Director Steve Schulz:

Wildfires in Central Oregon Force Cancellation of 2017 Cycle Oregon Classic Ride

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.

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.

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Current conditions in central Oregon.
(Photo: Dean Rogers)

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.

In 2015 a wildfire near Wallowa Lake forced the first-ever reroute of Cycle Oregon.

We’ll be updating this post so check back in the next hour or so.

UPDATE, 9/6 at 2:45 pm: Cycle Oregon has announced refunds of $500 with an option to donate to rural Oregon communities. They are also planning a get together on September 16th in Portland. Here’s the full statement from ED Steve Schulz:

We believe in Oregon. We believe you do too.

More now than ever Oregon needs our help.

Forest fires continue to develop and rage throughout the state. Lives are threatened, communities are imperiled. As I write this, ash is raining all across Oregon, including right here in Portland.

Cycle Oregon was founded as a non-profit to both transform individuals and communities through bicycling and to help preserve and protect the special places of Oregon. These special places, and the people who live there, now stand in crisis. And so, we’re asking for your help. We are able to return $500 of your registration fee. In lieu of a refund, you can elect to make a gift of $500 to the Cycle Oregon Fund – held at the Oregon Community Foundation – through Cycle Oregon. These funds will go directly back to the rural communities that are dealing with forest fires throughout Oregon. If you elect not to contribute, you will receive a registration refund of $500. For those of you that purchased tent and porter, bus tickets, parking, CPAP and rider guest registrations, we will refund 100% of your purchases. In addition, everyone registered for 2017’s The Classic, will receive the opportunity of an early registration for the 2018 event.

While we’re not obligated to refund any funds to our riders, that’s not who we are. You trust us to do the right thing. And the right thing is to take care of you and the Oregon communities that have continued to take care of us over the last 30 years. Over that time, this community has been able to contribute back millions of dollars to hundreds of rural communities throughout the state. And we won’t stop now.

These are challenging times. But we do not bow down to the challenge, and we will not alter our path. We will ride on. We hope you ride with us.

Steve

p.s. For those of you in the Portland area, save the date of September 16th. Though we weren’t able to gather for a week, we want to gather for a day, and celebrate the Cycle Oregon community. You will be able to pick up your products, see our partners, sponsors and volunteers and more importantly, connect with each other.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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