SUNRIVER, OR -- Central Oregon’s largest endurance sporting festival is this weekend, with nearly 4,000 athletes expected to take part in 20 different events, ranging from a BEASTMAN Triathlon to a 5k, 10k, trail run and kids races. More than 90% of Pacific Crest participants are believed to be from out of the area, bringing with them friends and family who grow the area's population by around 19,000 people.
For 23 years, Pacific Crest has been held in Sunriver, but it may be forced out in 2021. Sherri McMillan, with Why Racing, is the primary event organizer. She tells KBND News, "Of course, with any large event of that nature comes parking issues, traffic. So, there are some people in the community that maybe have become more vocal in suggesting Sunriver has just become too busy for an event of this size, and feeling like the event is a little bit more of a detriment to the community, versus a positive." But, she says others, mostly in lodging and food service sectors, told her they appreciate the positive impact the event has on the area.
The finish line for most races is at the Sunriver Village, along with the main festival. McMillan says the complaints about overcrowding prompted the Village to not renew the event's permit after next year. "We need to figure out either, one, is there another place within Sunriver that can host that kind of group – that kind of a size? And, of course, as soon as this went public, we’ve had communities across Central Oregon that have come out of the woodwork, saying, ‘Please, bring your event to us! We need this kind of economic impact'." She wouldn't comment on which communities they're talking to, but she says it is possible they could remain in Sunriver, just not at the Village. Regardless of where it lands in 2021, McMillan is confident it will remain in the High Desert, "Pacific Crest is such an incredible event and it’s got such a strong reputation and there’s also so many incredible venues, even just in Central Oregon, that I don’t foresee it leaving Central Oregon. Ultimately, we would love to stay in Sunriver, if we could figure it out; it’s a great community. But, it also feels good to know there are a number of other options and a number of other communities that really want the event." She expects to know by next year's festival where Pacific Crest will be for its 25th year, in 2021.