Lisa Echols, 56, of Enterprise came to Wallowa County the first time after her dad, Bill Kessler, took a motorcycle ride with a fellow policeman, Ron Jett, and ended up in Wallowa County.
The family was living in El Cajon, Calif., and Lisa had recently graduated from Granite Hills High.
“Dad came home from his motorcycle trip and said, ‘Why are we living in California? We’re moving to Wallowa County,’” Lisa said.
Once in the county (in about 1979) Lisa worked for the Young Adult Conservation Corps under Bob Both of Lostine and later as a Forest Service Guard in Lostine Canyon –– working with the famous “Maude the Mule,” the only mammoth mule with wagon working for the Forest Service in the United States.
Lisa then went on to EOU for Art and Business courses, met former husband Mark Echols, who was in construction at the time, and the couple made a life in Hermiston and raised three children.
It was her folks that brought her back to Wallowa County again last July –– this time as a caretaker for her aging parents.
In addition to helping her folks stay in their own home in Enterprise, Lisa works part time as a Care Coordinator for Community Connection, helping people get Veterans Affairs and Oregon Project Independence aid and a host of other services.
Q. You obviously have learned a lot about people through your jobs and interests. What has Wallowa County taught you?
A. It’s a whole different world ... when you come to Wallowa County, you’re more integrated in the community. You know people, your reputation counts, your mindset as far as being mindful of other people is “I might bump in to them in Safeway or they’re probably so and so’s mother.” I like it. I go to Enterprise Community Church, and I love that, and I love my service opportunities I keep finding all over. I really do love service.
Q. What do you enjoy in the county?
A. I love the slow pace. I’m trying to be outdoorsy. Since I came to the county, I found out I was diabetic, so I took the CHIPS program and I’ve become more active. I learned to ski on the little bunny hill at Fergi and had a great time. I’m trying to focus on eating healthy and taking cooking classes and torturing my parents with new foods.
Q. You’ve got art background but you haven’t mentioned your art. What is your ambition for your art in the future?
A. What I really want is to get my whole life out of storage. I’m an artist who doesn’t have her stuff and isn’t able to do her art. For 11 years in Portland, I met some ladies every Monday night and we made Victorian lampshades, and my friend had a Victorian lampshade shop in Sellwood. I loved all the handwork. I miss all my stuff. I can’t wait to have a place that is mine and dig my stuff out of my storage unit –– free it from its prison.