I met Chris Orr when I was fresh out of high school, smoking dope and working as a mechanic at VeloPro in Santa Barbara, California. Working at that shop was a truly memorable time in my life and Chris was one of the shop locals who was friends with all the employees and a regular shredder on our after-work shuttles to the top of Camino Cielo for a ripping sunset run down Tunnel Trail.
It’s worth noting that Blake, Vincent, and Tom mentioned in this interview were also employees of VeloPro at this time. For me it was an unforgettable time in a very magical place. But the years pass, and people fall out of touch. I moved from California to Portland in 2005 and it would take 10 plus years and social media for me and Chris to reconnect.
This past summer, Chris was up in Portland to work on the Adaptive trail system at Gateway Green and I was fortunate enough to have him over to my backyard for a safely distanced dinner. He has been a passionate supporter of people and community throughout his life and has a long and inspiring history of building trail systems and communities. Chris is no-bullshit.
It’s my experience that incredible people like Chris are not anomalies, that their goodwill and good deeds build the places and spaces where we find solace, safety, community, and honest enjoyment. That there are more of them in the world than we are aware and that’s a problem. It’s my belief that awareness is the mechanism for inspiration, growth, creation, community, prosperity, and peace. So please meet Chris Orr.