Maupin, Oregon is located on a quiet stretch of Oregon State Highway 197, between The Dalles in the Columbia River Gorge and its popular neighbor to the south, Bend. The town is best known for world-class white water rafting on the lower Deschutes River and draws thousands of adventure-seekers to its banks each summer. In the shoulder seasons, Maupin hosts scores of fishing enthusiasts, road and gravel cyclists, bird and game hunters, and travelers seeking a quiet, relaxing escape. But come 2021, a new cohort will be drawn to the high desert vistas of Maupin thanks to the Deschutes River Athletic Complex (DRAC).
The DRAC is an ambitious new development project that will create a state-of-the-art track and field facility with sweeping views of the Wild and Scenic Deschutes River below. The site now hosts an uneven and irregularly-shaped (non-regulation) cinder track and grass field next to the local high school. Using the existing facilities is a challenge for local students. Divots and ruts are a tripping hazard and the cinder winds up in athletes’ shoes in ridiculous quantities. These very challenges are what led to the creation of the DRAC project: a local student questioning why it has to be this way.
Holly Miles, daughter of Imperial River Company owners Rob and Susie Miles, was tired of dumping cinder out of her shoes after each run and only being able to practice up to 2 hurdles in a row on the long jump runway, to avoid ankle sprains. The only opportunity to run a full hurdle race was at the track meets which have to be held out of town. As it turned out, others in the community were excited about her idea, too! The DRAC has evolved into a true community-led endeavor, drawing support from the South Wasco School District, City of Maupin, Imperial River Company, The Red Truck Outdoor Experience, and the Maupin community.
The track will be built with 8 lanes and an inside rail, making it an eligible location for international time trials. The complex will also include “field event facilities, football field, and related spectator facilities that will accommodate a wide range of uses with opportunities for significant local impacts.” The complex will be open to the public and provide plenty of exercise opportunities for the community as well. Extra features include new grandstands for viewing events, a plaza with hookups for food trucks, a grassy area for camping, and a grandstand for concerts and other performances.
The facility will be a great addition to Maupin and North Central Oregon. The town’s location in the rain shadow of the Cascades means that it sees around 300 days of sun per year, allowing the DRAC to host outdoor track and field events, concerts, festivals, and more while the west side of the state is water-logged. The goal is to complete the project in time for the Oregon 21 World Athletic Championships and be able to offer the facility to visiting teams for training leading up to the events.
We’re beyond excited for this project and can’t wait to share it with you. The project is funded through grants and generous donations. If you’d like to add your support, you can donate via the DRAC website. To stay informed, follow the Instagram accounts of @maupin.drac @imperialriverco, @red.truck, and @maupinoregon.