Motorcycle rally

May 23, 2006 11:00 pm

Plenty of folks were excited. And plenty more were worried.

Lots of people were coming to Baker City.

On motorcycles.

This isn't new, per se. Motorcyclists love the roads of Northeastern Oregon.

But heretofore, the groups have been a dozen or so friends, or maybe a few dozen club members.

More than 800 had registered for the Hells Canyon Motorcycle Rally by the end of April.

That's a pretty big group of people, regardless of what they are coming here to do.

Thankfully, the folks at Historic Baker City, the Baker County Chamber of Commerce and the City of Baker City recognized that just turning participants loose in Baker City wasn't the ideal model for welcoming guests to town.

They went to work organizing restrooms, street closures and food vendors.

They urged merchants to market to the visitors, and arranged for a welcome booth and food and retail vendors downtown.

They put more police on the roads, just in case.

It was gratifying enough seeing these entities working in concert.

But their efforts paid off: the event went off without a hitch (save for snow on the passes and menacing weather in the sky).

It's another example of how a small town like Baker City can roll out the red carpet and play host, whether the guests are riding broncs or bikes.

We hope we'll hear the roar of motorcycle engines on Baker's streets again this summer — and at an 8th annual rally next year.