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Call center will create up to 18 new jobs

Bronze Antler sold to Alaskan couple
Kathleen Ellyn

Wallowa County Chieftain

Published on May 4, 2018 11:57AM

Innkeepers of Wallowa County and creators of The Bronze Antler B&B, Bill Finney and Heather Tyreman, left, and new owners Mike and Raylene O’Conner.

Kathleen Ellyn/Chieftain

Innkeepers of Wallowa County and creators of The Bronze Antler B&B, Bill Finney and Heather Tyreman, left, and new owners Mike and Raylene O’Conner.

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We keep looking for these jobs with living wages and here they are.

A Virtual Eligibility Call Center will be established in Enterprise and will employ from 8 to 18 individuals. The new service will be located inside the Litch Building at 104 Litch Street in Enterprise. Call center employees will determine a caller’s eligibility for coverage under the Oregon Health Plan.

Job postings are on the State of Oregon Jobs Page: search Medical Eligibility, and apply under Multiple Sites rather than a specific city.

“We’re in a pretty good position with our current technical ability,” said Child Welfare Supervisor Shelley Straughan, who works at the Litch Building. “Baker and La Grande are also being included in the call enter expansion, but Wallowa County appears to be getting the biggest number of new hires.”

THERE IS a new taxidermist in town. JR Rymut, 31, who has a background in museum exhibit fabrication in Missouri, Arizona and Washington, is available to create museum quality mounts for local hunters and taxidermy fans.

JR received a fine arts degree from the Rhode Island School of Design, and studied taxidermy and tanning in Montana. That led to work in one of the most esteemed taxidermy studios in the country, and collaboration on the largest and most eye-catching installations on display at the Safari Club International Convention.

Rymut’s studio, Echo Taxidermy, is at the corner of Depot and Main Street where he is currently creating an octopus for a museum diorama.

Because of an extensive background in museum dioramas, Rymut is particularly adept at creating pedestal mounts and life-size installations with realistic backgrounds for your mounted game.

Rymut is at 541-625-0176 or visit echotaxidermy.com.

LAST SEPTEMBER, Bill Finney and Heather Tyreman heard a knock on the front door of their bed and breakfast, The Bronze Antler, in Joseph and outside stood two Alaskans.

Mike and Raylene O’Conner, of Seward, were vacationing in Joseph and had struck up a conversation about their goal of establishing a mainland business base. They were directed to Bill and Heather.

One look inside the Main Street house with its antiques and art, and the O’Conners were charmed. Further examination showed that charm was combined with luxurious amenities for guests. It’s not for nothing that The Bronze Antler is listed as a Select Registry B&B.

“This house — it’s amazing,” said Mike O’Conner. “To bring this place up to this level of quality — we just couldn’t imagine.”

Last week the O’Conners signed papers, and The Bronze Antler will soon be under new management.

Bill and Heather, who have a background in the military, said that after 18 great years in Wallowa County, they were ready for a bit more footloose adventure.

Of course, they’ll be back regularly, and they’re not leaving soon. Bill and Heather will continue managing the B&B while the O’Conners, who have a seasonal Wilderness Hostel on Resurrection Bay in Alaska, go back to manage that over the summer.

The O’Conners expect to be back in Wallowa County in six months, and then the decision of how to manage the B&B will be made.

The O’Conners also had a coffee shop in Seward and their artistic, musical and literary entertainment was similar to what Wallowa County has to offer.

“The night we went into Fishtrap Fireside, we found like-minded people,” Raylene said. “We were really impressed with the Josephy Center, too.”

The O’Conners are looking forward to the 300 days of sun they’ll get in Wallowa County in comparison to the 60 days of sun they had in Seward.

While the O’Conners are visiting and getting the paperwork lined out, Bill and Heather have introduced them to the Grande Ronde Symphony Orchestra, the Oregon East Symphony and the Wallowa Valley Orchestra (Heather plays oboe and English Horn in those orchestras) and the Grange.

All that’s left now is to get these folks on the Dragon Boat team. It might happen. Raylene was on crew in college, and both are kayakers.


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