Community spirit on track up river

BLUE RIVER, Ore. - The McKenzie community celebrated the largest track meet ever at the high school Friday with the groundbreaking for a new field house and community center.

Eugene may be known as Track Town USA, but the front-runner for track dominance in the suburbs is in Blue River.

McKenzie High School hosted the first-ever Aaron and Marie Jones Invitational, named in honor of the couple that owns the Seneca Sawmill and donated the land and money to help the school build its first track.

The invitational, attended by 8 teams, marks the start of the new track's fourth season.

By next year, the community will have more reason to celebrate: a $400,000 track field house/community center.

The track opened in 2010. Now they're ready to jump to phase 2, a new McKenzie field house and community center.

"It'll be our rendition of the Bowerman Turn at Hayward Field (at the UO) except in this case it will be a two story building and windows on both sides," said McKenzie Community Track president, Jeff Sherman.

It will be a $400,000 investment by the Jones family.

An emotional Marie Jones told KVAL News, "In time, this is going to be one of the number one fields. It's a love--it's a love that my husband and I have for the area."

For the students at McKenzie High School, what a step up from the days when Highway 126 was their practice route.

"The track is super nice by itself. We've had some really nice track meets here. Adding the field house is going to make it more of a focal point in the community," explains junior Bailey Adams.

Construction on the field house should start in just a few weeks with completion officials hope by late summer.