CROOKED RIVER RANCH, Ore. - (Update: Comments from Crooked River Ranch official)
The sprawling, 10,000-acre Crooked River Ranch unincorporated community that straddles the Deschutes-Jefferson county line has about 5,000 residents -- and there's currently just one paved road in and out of it. But an effort is underway to create another.
Ranch officials are trying to get approval from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to pave the rest of a now-dirt Southwest Quail Road, connecting it to Lower Bridge Road to the south, for that second exit.
The residents' concerns range from congestion during construction to the logistics of wildfire evacuation.
The CRR manager told NewsChannel 21 it took her 45 minutes to get from Terrebonne to the ranch one day last week. We've also received Facebook messages saying buses have been late picking up kids from school.
The manager also said they're "terrified about the eclipse" traffic and that, if a large wildfire were to break out on the ranch at that time, the large number of visitors would make it even harder to evacuate.
Plus, the amount of people already living on the ranch, especially at this time of year, is a point of concern.
"The number of permanent residents here, and summertime residents, where we're most concerned, obviously, about a fire -- that is when the population of this community is at its maximum," CRR Director Bim Gander said Wednesday.
Ranch residents have drafted a petition to the BLM for permission to pave the dirt road. The agency is expected to make a decision by late June.
For more information, visit this BLM web page.
As far as when the ranch wants to start construction, that might not happen any time soon. (The idea of extending Quail Road has been up for discussion for close to a decade).
"I can say it won't happen this year," Gander said. "Hopefully with luck -- knock on wood -- we can get started on this process, at least by next year would be my ultimate goal."
Several years ago, another CRR access at Wimp Way was closed, over many residents' objections, by Deschutes County commissioners after ODOT raised safety concerns about dangerous turning movements and crashes. It remains as a gated emergency exit.