Currently there's a brouhaha brewing over Deschutes County’s intentions to close down NW Wimp Way thereby eliminating an alternate access route into and out of Crooked River Ranch. If you don't know NW Wimp Way it's the roadway that heads west off Highway 97 just north of Terrebonne and just south of the Rex T. Barker Veterans Memorial Bridge over the Crooked River.
While Deschutes County is responsible for the roadway and its maintenance, the Crooked River Ranch development is in Jefferson County.
Deschutes County says it has no money or desire to keep the road open to Crooked River Ranch while Crooked River residents say that having Wimp Way access to and from their development is crucial.
It’s an interesting dilemma, but frankly I’m more interested in the fact that, yet again, Wimp Way is thrust into the headlines. More exposure to this best named of all Central Oregon byways could lead to problems.
Problems like people saying that Wimp Way isn’t an appropriate name for a thoroughfare here in paradise by the Cascades. What the street needs, they might suggest, is a name that’s more powerful sounding like Strong Lane or Manly Way.
There’s a historical link to Central Oregon’s past in the Wimp Way name, but even that’s not a concern.
What is a concern is that we who consider ourselves to be card-carrying wimps have always enjoyed knowing that there's a street named in our collective honor. And let me tell you, that honor hasn't come easily. The Wimp Way sign at its intersection with Highway 97 has been stolen countless times. And probably as many pictures have been taken of people standing beneath the sign with smirks on their faces as have been taken of the impressive rock formations in nearby Smith Rock State Park.
There’s even a website (homedecor.cafepress.com) that shows the Wimp Way sign as “if we didn’t show it to you’d never believe it,” joke.
So, while I'm sympathetic to the access problem the residents of Crooked River Ranch face and appreciate what Deschutes County faces due to lack of maintenance funds, I am concerned that by dragging Wimp Way back into the news that people will start, as noted, calling for it to be re-named.
No matter what happens regarding the negotiations between the County and the residents of Crooked River Ranch, leave the name Wimp Way alone. It makes us wimps feel proud to be Central Oregonians.wimp