Volume XIX | Issue 1 | Spring 2019
Adrian lies in Malheur County, Oregon, near the confluence of the Snake River and the Owyhee River.

A future for Adrian

Residents of Adrian work to create a 20-year vision for their town

It began with a conversation. Community members at an Adrian High School basketball game in January 2018 began talking about how to make positive changes in their town, which was suffering some hard times. Adrian’s only grocery store was closed. The track team didn’t have a track. The town’s physical appearance needed a little help. 

“We started talking about things that needed to change and how to do this,” says Adrian native Nickie Shira, who moved back to the community after college and now works for the Malheur Education Service District. “And we decided to bring the community together to see what we needed to do to have a healthy vibrant community in the next 20 years or so.”

Adrian 2040

And that’s how the Adrian 2040 initiative was launched. In February 2018, Adrian residents, including business owners, student leaders, farmers and parents, began a series of meetings exploring community needs. Beautification of the town was one of the first projects the group tackled, and a town cleanup day was scheduled. 

“The day before the cleanup we had a community movie night and 120 people came for the movie, kids games and a dinner made and served by the sheriff’s department,” says student volunteer Sadey Speelmon. “The turnout for the cleanup day was even bigger than the night before — 200 people — which is huge because Adrian only has 115 residents.”

Other actions resulting from Adrian 2040 efforts include a farmers market, Neighborhood Watch trainings and plans for new sidewalks for safe school access. 

The most recent success enjoyed by the group is the opening in January of the Adrian Food Pantry, which aims to fill the gap left when the town’s only grocery store closed two years ago after its roof collapsed in a snowstorm. The pantry, located at the high school, serves 15 to 20 families a week, with the number increasing all the time.

“It’s just so encouraging to see how many people keep showing up to the meetings,” Shira says. “Every meeting we’ve had more people. Between the first and second meeting our numbers just doubled. I’m motivated to do this work by our future generations. I want Adrian to continue to be a great place to live and grow and raise our families.” 

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