VoicesAverbeck 9244 for 030420


WALLOWA — Sara Averbeck grew up in Enterprise but moved away at 18 for college. She just returned to The County about seven months ago after living in Portland awhile and traveling a bit.

She works at the Nez Perce Wallowa Homeland in Wallowa and tends bar at the Range Rider in Enterprise. Her mom works at Wallowa Memorial Hospital and her stepfather works at Joseph Charter School.

By no means unfamiliar with Wallowa County, she shared her thoughts on living here.

What’s the best thing or place in Wallowa County?

I’d have to say the best thing is the mountains. My dad used to own Wing Ridge Ski Tours, a backcountry ski guide business, so I grew up spending a lot of time in the mountains. It was a pretty big part of my childhood.

What is the greatest challenge facing Wallowa County?

I think perhaps, not now but in the near future we’ll face gentrification — people with money moving into the county, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but making it more difficult for people who have been here for a long time to maintain the lives that they’ve led.

What can people do to make Wallowa County a better place for all of us?

It’s a really special place and the community’s really tight-knit and despite your background or your values we’re really good about taking care of each other. As long as we continue to do that, we’ll be just fine.

What have you learned from living in Wallowa County?

The value of close relationships and a tight-knit community, especially after living in the city for a while and feeling the lack of that. I’ve learned how important that is.

What’s your advice for people who are thinking about moving here?

Consider the impact that their move to the county will have on the people who already live here and to just be conscientious of that and aware of it. Consider the economic impact as to whether (their move here) will be a positive impact in that they bring new opportunity or new ideas or that by moving here and perhaps purchasing a really big, expensive, new home, you know, things that raise property taxes or make it harder for people to live here. People should just be aware of that impact and to think of how they can contribute in a positive way.

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