"Our Town" survey: Prineville still small town USA
- Bill Sheehy
- Central Oregonian - Features
It actually began last January with three little words: Just Do It. That was the message presented to the community by incoming Prineville/Crook County Chamber of Commerce president, Donna Mohan.
>The results of the survey that asked people about their perception of Prineville as the first step in the local revitalization effort indicate that some people like the small town but still want growth
Chamber of Commerce president Donna Mohan discussed the "Our Town" survey and dressed for the occasion; wearing her "just do it" t-shirt
"I encouraged the audience to join in this very ambitious project, with the thought that together we could 'just do it,'" Mohan explained at this week's Public Affairs Forum. "This struck a chord and Prineville's revitalization effort was off and running."
The topic of this week's Forum was the detailed community survey designed to define what people living here think about their town. The "Our Town" survey was distributed last May at supermarkets, the library, at the Senior Center, at both the middle school and high school and printed in the Central Oregonian.
"We were hoping for 100 responses; we were ecstatic with 241," Mohan told the early morning group. "All in all we were happy with the results and impressed with how positive they were overall."
Describing exactly who took the time to fill out the survey, Mohan pointed out that of the 241, the majority (143) were female. Eighty-eight males completed the survey, Mohan pointed out for a total of 231. "There were 10 respondents who were evidently undecided on that question."
It was clear however, that people see Prineville as "small town, USA (52%)" located in "cowboy country (53%)." Most agreed that it is a pleasant, friendly community (38%) and a great place to raise a family (44%). Instead of being a lumber town (10%), the majority defined it as Les Schwab's town (37%), slightly out of the mainstream (33%) and in the middle of nowhere (32%).
Looking into the future, most would like to see Prineville be a clean,livable city (66%), fixed up to be a more attractive place to live and visit (47%). While a slim majority (47%) would like to see Prineville labeled as a historic city, being known as the heart of Oregon wasn't far behind (45%).
When it came to listing what business people would like to see in Prineville, a whopping 75 percent voted for a movie theater. In the realm of growth, however, the difference between controlled growth (56%) and more industry (53%) was a close call.
Making Prineville a better place to live (63%) was followed closely by the need to clean up unattractive areas (61%). Attracting tourists (28%) scored the lowest in the options for revitalization that were given in the survey.
Of all the people who responded, about a third were retired, with students being the second largest group (29%). Mohan commented on the fact that only 20 surveys were completed by people in the business sector. "I would have liked to have seen a larger participation from business owners," she said.