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Wahl to Wall: Remembering Bruce and his knowledge of forests

Wahl is editor of The Chieftain.

Published on August 29, 2018 8:24AM


It was with heavy heart that I learned of the death of Wallowa County Commissioner-elect Bruce Dunn last Tuesday.

We were wrapping up the last page of the Aug. 22 edition at the time. I was so taken back my journalistic instincts took a back seat.

We were able to get the sad news onto the front page.

When you are fairly new to a community, you don’t often know personally folks who die. I feel so blessed at having gotten to know Bruce through the course of the campaign. I grew to appreciate his insights and willingness to educate the “new guy.”

In fact, we had tentatively set up a date to meet Thursday morning to catch up and talk forest plan revision. Bruce sent me an email Monday letting me know it was a busy week for him, but he gave me several windows during which we could get together.

That’s the kind of person he was.

Bruce was a bit wary of me when we first met. When we finished conversations, he’s always say, “now can I ask you something?” That would usually be followed by an insightful question about how the Chieftain operated and often the media in general.

We both agreed there were people in the media who needed their butts kicked. He told me several time he was genuinely appreciative of the work we did.

Likewise, I had never met anyone who had the knowledge of forest, trees and forest issues Bruce possessed.

Born and raised in North Dakota where the state tree is a telephone pole, forests were not in my native bank of knowledge.

Yet. Bruce often said, “I really don’t know that much more than the next guy, I’ve just been around longer than most of them.”

I remember the first time Bruce shared his idea to create an NRAC-type organization to deal with issues other than natural resources in the county. I was impressed and told him we would support it as strongly as we were able.

I believe in people gathering around a table and reasoning together. It sure beats shooting at each other from the weeds.

I am quite sure that his vision will be implemented in the county, and I will offer whatever resources at my disposal to see that it does.

Our condolences to Bruce’s family and all his friends and colleagues. I didn’t get to know him as well as I would have liked.

Heaven’s forests are in good hands.

THIS WEEK, we will be on short deadline due to the Labor Day holiday on Monday. That means changes in when certain need to be submitted in time to make the next edition.

We try our best to accommodate everyone because we know it’s a bit difficult to keep track such things. Think of it this way: Almost everything that will run in the Sept. 5 edition will need to be into us by noon on Friday, Aug. 31.

It’s seems like most holiday deadline weeks we end up leaving something out. If it happens to be you, my apologies in advance. It’s not intentional.

If you have questions, you can always call or email.



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