Jacey Bell, 41, was born in Salinas, Calif., in 1977 the daughter of Alvis and Jennifer Bell of Joseph. Her dad was in corrections at the time working in San Quentin and Soledad prisons and sidelining as a musician. You’ll recognize Alvis as an amazing harmonica player who has performed in numerous musical performances in the county. Her brother, Matt Bell is a professional musician in New Orleans, playing with the “Bad Penny Pleasuremakers.”
The family moved to her mother’s old stomping grounds in Idaho when Jacey was young and settled in Wallowa County in 1991. Jacey went to Joseph High School.
She went on to Lane Community College in Eugene and studied accounting and then traveled for seven years, working a variety of jobs, often managing restaurants.
She returned to Wallowa County for good in 2000. She began by managing the tramway kitchen, and then made a lateral move to Terminal Gravity, beginning by helping with the books and ending with leasing and then managing the pub in Enterprise. In 2017, she bought her own place: the historic “Range Rider Saloon” in Enterprise.
“I always thought this was a cool spot. I always liked it,” she said. “It was just by chance, I was pulling in to meet a friend here and saw the sign in the window and (former owner) Mark Baughn came walking out and I kind of half-jokingly said, ‘We need to talk about this.’ He turned around and said, ‘I’ll make you a deal.’”
In a few more years she hopes the Range Rider will be running like clockwork and she can hire a general manager and indulge that itchy travel foot again.
She doesn’t really have time for organized participation in charity events and prefers to support her community financially by helping out privately when she hears that individuals are in need.
Q. Why settle in Wallowa County?
A. I just always loved being here. It’s beautiful: mountains, hiking, the quiet and solitude. My folks are here. I have a lot of really, good friends here. Summer is nice and a lot of people come to visit. I like having a home base but being able to go (traveling). And one of the main reasons I bought the Range Rider is that I love music. and I wanted to have a venue. I wanted to have a place for all my friends to travel to and play shows. I have a lot of musician friends. I still work for TG booking their shows, too.
Q. What has Wallowa County taught you?
A. That sense of community and caring about one another; the value of being a good person; if you’re kind, they’ll be kind and support you back.
Q. Can you recall the first book you checked out of the library for yourself, and can you recommend a book you’ve read recently?
A. My grandmother was a children’s librarian so I read a lot of books that meant something me. I think the ones that made the biggest impression on me were the Black Stallion books by Walter Farley. I made covers for all of them. My grandmother was always mending books. I remember her taking the glue and the wax paper ... I drew pictures on the covers. Now, it’s all recipes and cooking articles. My go-tos are Epicurious and Bon Appétit. I like quality food, and our specialties here are more fancy food.