La Pine's pride in Olympic gold medalist Ashton Eaton overflowed onto letter boards at businesses across the city, after Eaton won the decathlon at the summer Olympic games in London. “Go Ashton Eaton — La Pine's Olympian," one sign read.
Now, the city will recognize Eaton by renaming the portion of U.S. Highway 97 within the city limits as Ashton Eaton Boulevard.
The City Council voted unanimously on Wednesday night to rename the highway and designate the week of Nov. 11 Ashton Eaton week in La Pine. City Manager Steve Hasson said signs could be ready for installation in six weeks.
Eaton attended La Pine Elementary School and his grandparents still live there. On Wednesday night, Eaton's mother, Roz, and grandmother, Carolyn Wallace, attended the council meeting.
“As his mom, I'd just like to say thank you so much to the city of La Pine and all of the people that made this happen," Roz Eaton said. “I know having spoken with Ashton that he's so humbled."
“It is true that it takes a community," Roz Eaton said. “(Ashton) is so wanting the children of La Pine to have a place where they can learn and have opportunities and grow and that's exactly what La Pine offered him when he was younger."
Mayor Ken Mulenex said he was impressed by Roz Eaton's comments, and that Eaton's family played a key role in his success. Mulenex said that renaming the highway and designating a week in Ashton Eaton's honor also celebrates the city's contributions to Eaton.
“La Pine is a friendly, caring community that will step forward and help at any time when the need is there," Mulenex said. When you've got a community that is like that and you've got our young people growing up in it, they see this positiveness."
“It's a great way to honor a hometown person that has shown even coming from a town like La Pine, you can still be anything you want to be if you apply yourself," Mulenex said. “And we're awful proud of that."