In hopes of learning about positive stories in communities, including Prineville, Adam Meyer and Ashley Donovan are running across the U.S.

Photo Credit: JASON CHANEY - Adam Meyer and Ashley Donovan arrived in Prineville on Friday, Aug. 8. They will conclude their cross-country trek in Washington, D.C.

Adam Meyer and Ashley Donovan jogged into Prineville on Friday afternoon in hopes of meeting with local leaders and learning more about the community.

They did not leave disappointed.

Meyer, who hails from Portland, and Donovan, who lives in northern Virginia about an hour from Washington, D.C., came to town on the latest leg of a cross-country trek called Run to Connect. Their journey began in Portland and will conclude in Washington, D.C.

“We are both interested in talking to people in the different communities we pass through to get a perspective on what unique aspects of each community people are proud of and what different communities have done that has really worked well,” said Meyer.

The Portland resident said he has worked in legislation and policy for two years with the Oregon Legislature and four years in the nation’s capital.

“Oftentimes, I get frustrated by the conversations that aren’t happening or the focus on negative activities as opposed to positive things that are happening,” he continued. “This was a great experience to meet people and focus on the good things that are happening in communities.”

Donovan recently finished her PhD in chemistry at Princeton and recently developed an interest in education policy and reform.

“My goal for the run is to interact with local school leaders and also teachers, students, school board members - really anyone with a vested interest in education - to learn about how some recent policy changes have affected their schools,” she said.

Because the schools have yet to open, Donovan was not able to meet with any local education leaders, but she and Meyer did interact with other community agency leaders.

“On Friday, we met with Captain Boyd of the Prineville Police Department,” Meyer said. “He was a wealth of knowledge about the community. In addition to education, mentorship, and neighborhood issues, he described a number of unique and successful police-led programs.”

These included the local prescription drug drop box program, which allows residents to safely dispose of their unneeded medications, and the neighborhood cleanup program.

The next day, the duo met with Crook County Fire and Rescue for a morning briefing.

“They walked us through their daily routine and gave us a tour of their facilities,” Donovan said. “The fire department had a lot of knowledge on a wide range of issues, as many folks have come from backgrounds in teaching, agriculture, ranching, economic development, security, technology, and more.”

Later that day, they took a tour of the Facebook data center. Meyer and Donovan were encouraged by how large companies like Facebook and Apple were investing in Prineville, bringing in tax dollars, and stimulating the local economy.

Because of the August heat, Meyer and Donovan try to keep their daily running to the mornings, but try to cover about 20 miles per day. They later hope to bump it up to 30 miles, but with Meyer nursing knee pains and Donovan pushing through an ankle injury, it could take a while to increase the miles.

“These are the sorts of things that during the first few weeks you have to work out the kinks,” Meyer said. “We are feeling pretty good.”

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