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Prineville, OR 97754

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Bicycling Boosts Crook County Economy

Long known as a regional center for logging and agriculture, Crook County is trying to attract a different outdoor industry.

The county has a number of projects designed to make Prineville a regional hub for bicycle-related tourism, including the first Ochoco Gravel Roubaix, a bike race that drew 150 riders, and a 1.5-acre bike park in Prineville slated to open next spring.

Perhaps most importantly, several public and private parties are adding to the region’s mountain biking trails, leveraging the city’s proximity to the Ochoco Mountains and 66 acres of state land in southwest Prineville, known locally as the Lower 66. Central Oregon Trail Alliance is adding to the approximately 3 miles of nonmotorized trails in the Lower 66, according to Darlene Henderson, COTA’s Crook County chapter representative.

Casey Kaiser, executive director of the Prineville-Crook County Chamber of Commerce, said the addition, which is designed to extend trails to the top of the rim overlooking downtown Prineville, would add up to 15 miles of trails to the system within three to five years.

Additionally, Kaiser said Crook County wants to double the amount of single-track trails in the Ochocos, to around 150 miles. These trails, which could be complete within five to 10 years with help from volunteers and various state and federal agencies, represent an opportunity to diversify the Crook County economy, Kaiser said.

“Prineville historically has been pretty dependent on industries that have had a lot of ebbs and flows,” he said.

Crook County’s economic recovery has lagged behind the rest of Central Oregon. In September, Crook County had a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate that was more than 3 percentage points higher than the rate in adjacent Deschutes County, according to the Oregon Employment Department. Woodgrain Millwork, once Crook County’s third-largest employer, will be shuttering its remaining operations in Prineville at the beginning of 2016.

However, the leisure and hospitality sector has bounced back somewhat in recent years. In the second quarter of 2015, 633 jobs in Crook County were in leisure and hospitality, up from 589 during the same period in 2014. County Commissioner Seth Crawford said bike-related tourism is leading the charge.

“I’ve seen a lot more people coming into town and eating in town and staying in hotels here,” Crawford said. “Outdoor tourism is really our bread-and-butter.”

Outdoor tourism in Prineville received a boost in October 2014, when Good Bike Co., the first retail bike shop in town, opened on NE Third Street.

“You need about three, four things for that (bicycle) industry to flourish, and I filled one of those gaps,” said owner James Good. “It gives you more validity … as an industry within the community.”

Good said one advantage that Crook County has over other mountain biking destinations is its remote location. Unlike Bend or Hood River, it’s easy to find relatively deserted biking trails near Prineville.

Kaiser added that the trails in the Ochocos tend to be more rugged and technically challenging, which attracts a different demographic. The only thing missing, Good said, is more trails.

“You talk to anyone in Bend, if they know the Ochocos, they’ll say it’s probably some of the best single-track riding in Central Oregon,” he said.

— Reporter: 541-617-7818, shamway@bendbulletin.com

NANCY
NENNIG

Board Member

Meet NANCY.

Prineville Lions Club

My husband and I have lived in Prineville for 17 years. I retired from the Banking Industry after 18 years, most recently working for Oregonians Credit Union. I enjoy the trails and camping in the Crook County
area.

In addition to that, I have volunteered for the Crooked River roundup for 15 years, am the current President of the Prineville Lions, a member of the Prineville Elks and a Member of the American Legion Auxiliary.

I was an active member of the Chamber Ambassador Committee for 15 years and supported all the Prineville-Crook County Chamber events and projects.

The Prineville Chamber represents all of Crook County and its individuals, organizations and business and I feel with my volunteering and networking I am able to support the Vision and Mission of the
organization.

Duane Porter

President

Meet Duane.

Financial Advisor, DFP Financial and Consulting

I grew up on a small cattle ranch in rural Southern Oregon which taught me the values of hard work, family, and a rural way of life.  I made the move to Central Oregon in 1993 for all of its beauty and activities.  Over the last 3 decades in Central Oregon, I have seen and experienced the incredible growth and expansion of this wonderful area.  In 2018 my wife and I decided to return to a rural lifestyle in Crook County.  With its diverse community, wide variety, and ever-expanding industry, the area has maintained a small-town rural feel and culture.


In 2019 after 25 years in Insurance and Investments, my wife and I decided to open DFP Financial & Consulting, a Private Wealth Management, Planning, and Consulting Firm.   We completely enjoy the people, community and all Crook County has to offer.  Being part of the Prineville Chamber is an important focus for us to give back to and help the business of the community.


In our spare time we enjoy our family and grandchildren; camping, riding horses and doing all that Central Oregon and Crook County offers, and fly fishing the Crooked River as often as possible.

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Andrea weaver

Secretary

Meet Andrea.

Recreation Coordinator, Crook County Parks & Recreation

I grew up on the North Oregon Coast in a small tight knit community. About 18 years ago my husband and I started traveling to Central Oregon a few times a year to escape the rain. We always talked about wanting to move to the Prineville area. We enjoyed the small town feel as well as the ranching lifestyle the area offers. In the fall of 2020 we made the move with our  three teenage daughters and we are so glad we did!

In the spring of 2021 I started with Crook County Parks & Recreation. A few months after that I took the Recreation Coordinator position. I love  working with Parks & Rec. I have met so many wonderful people in Prineville which has helped with adjusting to a new environment.

I got involved with the Chamber to learn more about the community and to grow relationships.

In my spare time I love working with my family on our ranch as well as watching my girls play sports and show livestock.

Casie Allen

board member

Meet Casie.

Owner - Bayberry Lane

My family has called Prineville home for several generations. Being born and raised in this amazing community, I have always felt so incredibly blessed. I strive to be an active part of the community and volunteer regularly. I am deeply involved in 4H, several youth sports programs, and have served on many other local boards and committees. 

My mom and I own a small downtown boutique called Bayberry Lane. Our motto is local people supporting local people. We enjoy being able to give back and strive to love the people of Prineville well. 

Being on the Chamber Board has allowed me to not only serve and express my opinions as a business owner, but also as a local who wants to foster a community that is able to adapt to change while holding on to their core values.

SHEENA
YORK

Treasurer

Meet SHEENA.

Signet Realty

I am the Owner & Lead Coordinator at Firefly Events and I have been planning and coordinating events for over a decade.   I also recently took on a role as a local real estate broker here in Crook County. 

I grew up around southern Oregon. I made a road trip to Prineville with a cousin, on that trip I was introduced to a handsome young Prineville man that later became my husband. I love Prineville and although I wasn’t raised here over the last 16 years it truly has come to feel like my hometown.

I was working for a business that was a Chamber member and I was looking for opportunities to get involved in the community. After several years of attending Chamber functions I was encouraged to join the Ambassador team and then the Board. It has been a great learning experience and a lot of fun to be part of the Chamber both as a member and on the Board.

I love the weather in Prineville. After growing up in the valley with so many days of rain, I truly appreciated having (mostly) defined seasons. Summertime in Prineville is definitely my all-time favorite! We enjoy paddle boarding at Ochoco reservoir, swimming at the Prineville reservoir, floating the refreshing Crooked River, hiking the Barnes Butte or Chimney Rock trails and riding our ATV’s on the many OHV trails.

Alexandra Greenberg

Vice President

Meet Alexandra

Chiropractor, Slater Chiropractic

I was born and raised in Prineville where I graduated from Crook County High School in 2009.  After that, I moved to Portland where I attended both Pacific University and the University of Western States for Chiropractic School. 

After ten years, I returned to Prineville and am now an Associate Chiropractor at Slater Chiropractic.

Since moving back, I have enjoyed how close this community is and realized how much I missed all that Crook County has to offer compared to the big city.  I started attending Chamber events to become more involved in our community and am excited to continue working with the Chamber as Vice President of the board.

I love spending my free time with friends and family, and enjoy getting out to explore all of Central Oregon.  I enjoy hiking, rock climbing, camping, kayaking and many other outdoor activities available in this beautiful area I get to call home.