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Unused Prineville rail line being converted into recreational trail

(Update: Clarifying that railroad tracks were removed years ago)

PRINEVILLE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A stretch of long-idle railroad tracks in Prineville are now being turned into about a half-mile walking and biking path, from Northeast Juniper Street to Combs Flat Road.

Mayor Jason Beebe says he remembers watching the trains going by as a kid.

"Ran down to Ochoco Lumber and ran through Prineville. When I was kid, this thing was running full-time," Beebe recalled Monday. "I'd come down here to the park, and there'd be trains every day."

However, Beebe says, those days are long gone, as the rail line had been dormant for a long time and the tracks themselves were removed years ago. 

So the city decided to do something with the route: creating a 10-foot-wide, paved trail.

"Luckily, our city engineer comes up with a lot of good ideas and works well with a lot of groups, and decided to go after a trail system," Beebe said.

And that's exactly what he did. So the city secured an ODOT Rails to Trails grant, which has paid for 90 percent of the $400,000 project.

The mayor says he thinks it's great how it all came together.

"Right where we're at, we're pretty close to a creek and some amenities and a park, so it's just another opportunity to get people out walking around," Beebe said.

James Good, who owns a local bike shop, Good Bike Co., is also excited to see the new trail come in.

"It’s incredible I guess, right?" Good said. "Why wouldn’t you want -- I mean, any trail that’s going to get you off of road or highway, I see as a huge advantage, and maybe if anything, I mean any mileage ... if anything I'd like to see that mileage multiply by X."

The trail should be finished within the next two months, and the city is hoping to add to it this summer.

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Blake Allen

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