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Lessons learned from primary election

Wahl is editor of the Wallowa County Chieftain.

Published on May 22, 2018 2:14PM


The primary election is behind us. Congratulations to everyone who participated in the process.

Whether you ran for office, advocated for a position, volunteered time or simply kept abreast of the issues, you should know you played a key role in one of our country’s greatest opportunities.

Congratulations to Bruce Dunn who won the county commissioner race. We know Bruce will do a bang-up job for the citizens of Wallowa County.

Creation of a library district went down in flames, but it was a learning experience for everyone involved. The discussion is not over at this point.

Clearly, the Wallowa County Commission has no intention to use any of its federal aid “windfall” to keep the library open, so other avenues will need to be considered.

I would encourage everyone on both sides of the library issues to remain involved and work to build understanding.

Voters supported getting rid of weeds, which kept a valuable and much-needed program in place.

There were similarities between the weed issue and the library district. Undoubtedly, the biggest difference was the bottom line for taxpayers. One had a much larger bite.

WHILE BRUCE Dunn will be a new face around Wallowa County Courthouse, a familiar visage will be gone.

Judge Russell West is retiring as of the end of the month.

He has had a long and distinguished career in several aspects of the law from private practice to serving as Circuit Court Judge.

Most of you already know that, but did you know that the past few weeks, Judge West’s son Nick has been hanging around Wallowa County as well?

West, an OHSU Medical Student and Rural Scholar, is about two-thirds of the way through a six month rotation with Winding Waters Clinic in Enterprise.

He’s learning the practice of Frontier Medicine, mentored by experienced Winding Waters providers in the clinic, hospital and emergency department.

Both the Wests recently were guest speakers for the Rotary Club of Wallowa County. Seems mountain-climbing runs in their family.

We wish all the best to both members of the West family.

MEMORIAL DAY weekend is ahead of us. In many worlds, that means the beginning of summer and a slower and more leisurely pace.

In Wallowa County, it means buckle your seatbelts, because we’re about to experience our busiest time of year.

There is a diversity of opinion on the efficacy of tourism in the county, but it would be hard to imagine us without a tourist season.

If you think about it, tourism is connected to natural resources because folks come here to enjoy the beauty of the mountains and the lake, all of which are precious resources we all cherish.

If you’ve never done it before, I challenge you to engage folks who are here for a visit. Get to know them and discover what they’re all about.

I don’t believe I’ve met a tourist yet who came here hell-bent on racing through our streets at top speed and destroying our environment. For the most part, they’re older or have young families in tow.

To visitors reading this column, welcome. Enjoy your stay ... and come back.



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