A Traveling Diocese
The Diocese of Oregon is situated in the western-most part of the state of Oregon. This region comprises two major thoroughfares: Interstate 5 that runs from Ashland in the south, up through Grants Pass to Eugene, Salem, and Portland, and continues into Washington; and US Highway 101, which covers most of the Pacific seaboard (and all of Oregon’s coast). A coastal range runs north to south between these two thoroughfares, cutting the diocese in two.
The Diocese of Oregon is a tall diocese. By car, it is 340 miles from the northernmost church (Grace in Astoria) to the southernmost church (St. Timothy’s in Brookings). Travel within western Oregon is usually free of heavy traffic, except around our largest cities, or along the coast in the summer.
Distances between east and west can be deceptive in this region; roads are often winding as they cross the coastal range, so travel often takes longer than the miles would suggest. For example, it can take up to three hours to travel from Brookings on the coast to Ashland on I-5, even though they are only 137 miles apart.
Needless to say, our bishop does a lot of traveling. From the bishop’s office, the two furthest churches are Trinity in Ashland (about a four and a half hour drive down I-5) and St. Timothy’s in Brookings (just short of six hours away). One of our hopes is that our next bishop can help us pull together across such barriers of distance and landscape.