PRINEVILLE, OR -- Crook County residents are moving forward with a project aimed at creating a healthier community, despite missing out on a national designation. Holly Wenzel, with the Crook County Health Department, says more than a hundred people attended a meeting last fall, to learn more about becoming a Blue Zone site. "Everybody wants to live a longer and healthier life. And, one of Blue Zone’s phrases is to ‘make the healthy choice the easy choice’ – making it easier to move around a little bit more in the day, making it easier to choose a healthier option, so that we really are able to live a longer life and be able to do that more fully."
They recently learned Crook County would not become the next Blue Zone partner. But, Wenzel says the failed attempt piqued the interest of residents, prompting the creation of a steering committee to develop their own healthy living initiative. She tells KBND News they haven't yet decided a specific focus. "This is all about what the community wants. So, it’s really hard for me to put out examples because the whole goal is for the community members to be able to come out and say ‘this is my idea of how to make our community more healthy and these are some steps I would like to take to make that a reality.’" The committee plans to issue a survey in the next few weeks; community meetings will follow, to brainstorm ways to make it easier for everyone to make healthy choices.
St. Charles has committed $25,000 to the Crook County effort and Wenzel says the committee is looking for more grants to cover the salary of a coordinator who would spearhead the independent effort. "As much as we agree with where this project is going, we don’t want to be the ones in charge of it. We really want the community to be able to be the ones who are doing this. So, we want to be able to give that kind of separation and have a position or a person who’s really working on this project and making it about the community."