PORTLAND, Ore. – Wildfires burning in Central Oregon and around the state have forced the cancelation of Cycle Oregon’s Classic Ride next month.
The 490-mile ride through the Cascades and around Crater Lake was planned for Sept. 9, but wildfire smoke made the air quality on the route unhealthy and hazardous, Executive Director Steve Schulz said. Previously planned alternative routes are also affected by wildfires.
"It's an unhealthy environment to put people into and we're not willing to risk that," Schulz said.
More than 2,300 riders registered for the event.
"This hurts a lot to a lot of people. We have people that have made plans, we have people from 48 states and 10 countries that are trying to come out and do this with us."
The Cycle Oregon board and staff members made the decision to cancel the ride after consulting with state and local agencies.
"We did look at other alternate routes throughout the state, but again the whole state is in a wildfire issue, so you know, risking trying to move somewhere else on a short notice, not executing as good as we do, was just a risk we weren't willing to take," said Schulz.
This is the first time Cycle Oregon has canceled an event.
Schulz said organizers are still working to determine how riders will be compensated, because many of the costs to put on the ride have already been incurred and are not completely refundable.
"We do have costs that have gone off so we need to look at what do we have, what's solvent as far as the organization, how do we make sure we keep moving forward and able to do these events in the future," said Schulz.
The two dozen wildfires around Oregon have forced the evacuations of more than 4,500 people.