ENTERPRISE — A Wallowa County native, Bart Latta’s parents first moved here in 1976 and he was raised here.
“I grew up here,” he said.
Then his family moved away to Eugene, where he met his wife, Angela, while at college.
The Lattas returned to Enterprise in 1996 and raised two daughters here. The daughters now are away attending college, he said.
Latta works as a patineur, a craftsman who applies finish coloration and a protective finish to bronze sculptures, for which the area is renowned.
He said his favorite thing about Wallowa County is the “wide, open spaces and the accessibility to wild areas.”
He also appreciates the atmosphere here.
“The small-town community of the area,” he said.
As spring has sprung, Latta is looking forward to breaking ground on his garden.
“We do every year,” he said.
He added that the crops he has the most success with include dark leafy greens, raspberries and strawberries.
“In our rocky soil, we don’t do well with tubers, but our sugar snap peas always do great,” he said.
He agrees that easing the housing shortage in the county is a “hot topic” that must be dealt with.
“We need to be able to expand the workforce, but there’s nowhere for them to live.”
He said it’s crucial to bring down the cost of housing, possibly with townhouses or other more affordable dwellings.
“It’s going to take a collaborative effort between city, county and state,” he said. “It’s going to take a big, coordinated effort to solve this problem.”
When it comes to people thinking about moving here, Latta’s advice is to get one’s priorities in order.
“They need to do their research first, to make sure they have employment that will provide the income they need to afford to live here because of the cost of housing,” he said. “Also, make sure there is an available rental unit or a house they can afford to purchase.”
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