Navigating around John Day will soon get easier.

The city of John Day received an award that will improve signage and waypoints in the city. Outdoor Recreation Roundtable announced in December that they selected four communities to receive funding for their economic revitalization plans. John Day was selected and will receive funding to help implement the city’s plans.

John Day City Manager Nick Green said they were awarded $4,000 in cash with no match required.

Lindsey Davis, ORR’s acting executive director, said John Day was selected for several reasons. She said there is a state-level support for this work. The project also supports many forms of outdoor recreation such as backpacking, hiking, biking, campground and hospitality, fishing and wildlife viewing.

Davis said the project also promotes recreation opportunities at the city’s five parks and river and helps tourism and recreation, which were two of the hardest hit industries during the pandemic.

The ORR release said the implementation of the funding is in addition to technical assistance provided by the Recreation Economy for Rural Communities assistance program.

John Day participated in the RERC summit meeting in September, which established possible action plans the city can pursue to accomplish various tourism goals in the city.

Green said one of the action items from the RERC strategy was to improve signage and waypoints in John Day.

“For example, waypoints connecting Main Street to the city’s parks will improve the visitor experience and make it easier to get around town and know where you’re going,” Green said. “You can drive through John Day and never know there’s a river here or anything about the Seventh Street Park or the new Hill Family Park we’re building along the riverfront. This funding will help us identify specific landmarks and destinations to promote.”

The city will also receive technical assistance from ORR in the form of staff time. ORR’s integrated planning and design team will assist the city with the project, and the kickoff call with ORR will be on Jan. 11. Davis said the money is already out the door for John Day.

“After the destination analysis, we’ll develop new sign concepts, waypoints and other destination markers, which we will try to build locally and then install at strategic points throughout the city like our new downtown parking lots,” Green said. “This is a quick win, something we can do to enhance the community without spending a lot of time and money.

“The goal is to get people out and moving around, shopping downtown, exploring our parks and trails and getting to know the community better, especially for people driving through who weren’t planning to stop.”


Rudy Diaz is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. Contact him at or 541-575-0710.

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