Athletics competition at McKenzie Track raises $ 4,500 for vacation farm fire recovery

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Last month’s McKenzie International meet in Blue River enabled Olympic hopefuls, a Portland track organization and other athletic enthusiasts to raise $ 4,500 to rebuild areas affected by forest fires in the last year, including the location of the race.

The meet took place on June 22, the week of the US Olympic Track and Field Team Trials, which took place at Hayward Field in Eugene. McKenzie International brought dozens of upstream athletes to compete in the 5,000-meter, 1,500-meter and 800-meter events in hopes of reaching Olympic qualifying times and raising funds for the community affected by holiday farm fire.

Athletes donated all of their cash prizes and spectators donated for admission. Portland Track, the organization that hosted the competition, charged around $ 6 for people to watch a live stream of the event online.

After:Olympians and fans head upstream to meet to help recover from McKenzie wildfires

On Thursday, Portland Track President Michael Bergmann presented Duane Aanestad with a check for $ 2,500 with McKenzie Track and a $ 500 donation to the Oregon Community Foundation Community Reconstruction Fund. The competition also raised $ 1,500 in donations and event admission for McKenzie Track, Bergmann said.

Portland Track President Michael Bergmann (left) presents Duane Aanestad with McKenzie Track with a check for $ 2,500 collected at the McKenzie International Track and Field Competition for Forest Fire Recovery in June.

Bergmann sees that there is interest in more events on the McKenzie Trail.

“I have already been contacted by another member of the community for riding an ultra 50K up there and because we could have a track and field competition at the same time,” said Bergmann. “So people are starting to think about different ways to activate space and make it aware”

The state forest fire reconstruction fund benefits, still in fundraising

The $ 500 donation helped the Community Reconstruction Fund move one step closer to the overall fundraising goal.

“We have raised $ 7.8 million and our goal is 10 (million),” said Melissa Freeman, director of strategic projects for OCF. “So we are still fundraising.”

The fund was started under the leadership of Governor Kate Brown, with the OCF, the Meyer Memorial Trust and the Ford Family Foundation. The three organizations each donated $ 1 million to start the fund, Freeman said.

All donations since then have come from individuals, families and businesses, with over 1,000 donors since last September.

The OCF has already distributed $ 2.2 million to organizations with needs in reconstruction efforts through capacity and response grants.

George Letchworth holds aerial photographs of the McKenzie Trail taken after its completion in 2009.

Community nonprofits to receive OCF funds soon

The OCF will select and disburse funds to non-profit organizations that have applied.

“We’ll end up allocating the bulk of the funds starting in August,” Freeman said.

The nonprofits that applied are “organizations that truly help the community come together, identify needs, and strive to engage those most affected by the fires in eight counties across the state since the last Labor Day, ”she said. .

The McKenzie School District is one example, she said. The district is set to receive a $ 95,000 grant from the OCF to create an affordable and quality child care program for communities affected by wildfires.

The demand for money, however, is much higher than what organizations have raised, with more than $ 11 million in funding requests.

“So we could really use more aid, appreciate all these different organizations that have come together to bring money to the fund,” Freeman said.

People can find out more about the rebuilding fund and how to donate at oregoncf.org/rebuild/donate/community-rebuilding-fund.

Contact reporter Jordyn Brown at jbrown@registerguard.com or 541-246-4264, and follow her on Twitter @thejordynbrown and Instagram @registerguard. Support local journalism, subscribe to The Register-Guard.


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