Hwy 97 in La Pine now also 'Ashton Eaton Blvd.'

Six-miles stretch being named in decathlon champ's honor

Ashton Eaton Blvd. now in La Pine

LA PINE, Ore. - La Pine welcomed home Ashton Eaton Saturday to celebrate the honorary renaming a street they named after the gold medal decathlete. The six miles of Highway 97 through town is now Ashton Eaton Boulevard.

City Hall was packed with citizens, all wanting to honor their hometown hero.

Eaton, along with La Pine City Manager Steve Hasson nailed in the new Highway 97 street sign Saturday afternoon.

It's only temporary, though. The real street signs should be put up by this spring.

Eaton and his family spent many of his early years living in La Pine, before he and his mom moved to Bend. And La Pine's proud residents are happy to put his name all over the city.

Eaton says he's proud and honored, too.

"Probably one of the biggest honors," Eaton said. "I did the parade in Bend (last fall), but having a major highway, Highway 97 named after you, it's a big deal."

"It's weird but very, very cool," he added. But once the signs are up and I'm driving by, it's going to be strange. It's part of history, so it's very overwhelming."

While he doesn't live in La Pine any more, his roots are still there.

Eaton's grandma still lives in La Pine, and he says he visits her still during the holidays.

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