Jimmy A. Collins has lived his whole life in Wallowa County, other than a year in college, another year in Arizona and a hitch in the service.
Born in Enterprise, he went to school in Wallowa and graduated from Wallowa High School. As for family, he lists a string of cousins from all over the county. He said one grandmother was Rita Thornberger, who he said was well known.
“I’ve got relations scattered all over the United States,” he added.
He spent many years working in the timber industry as a logger, faller, in a lumber mill and other things. He is now medically disabled and thus retired. He does keep active, though, doing such things as volunteering with the Wallowa Food Bank.
What’s the best thing or place in Wallowa County?
There’s not a lot of people. I’ve tried the big cities and I don’t like them. Also the school. It was when I was going to school, but I’m not sure now. For some reason, a lot of kids are going to charter schools now.
What is the greatest challenge facing Wallowa County?
Employment. But a lot of these young kids, they don’t want to work.
What can people do to make Wallowa County a better place for all of us?
Create more jobs. But there’s some stuff around here, but young people don’t want to work for minimum wage or a bit more. I know it’s tough to make it on minimum wage in eastern Oregon. I still think we need more law enforcement down here, but that’s the way it goes. If they had a policeman here, they’d enforce some of the ordinances that don’t get enforced, what with dogs running loose and other things. Also, there’s not a lot of places for sale or rent.
What have you learned from living in Wallowa County?
I like most of the people. Then, with some of the people moving in and some of the changes they want to make, I don’t think it’s good. Various things but I can’t really pinpoint them.
What’s your advice for people who are thinking about moving here?
It’s a nice little community. I like it here. It’s a pretty good place to retire.