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Kellee Sheehy


JOSEPH — Kellee Sheehy has lived in Wallowa County about four years and works as the development director at the Josephy Center for Arts and Culture in Joseph, but it’s the “small-town victories” that make it home.

Married to Ryan Sheehy, who has a solar development company in the county, the couple has two children, ages 13 and 10.

Ryan grew up in Wallowa and brought his family here after 20 years in the Marine Corps. They’d lived in San Diego for nine years.

“Really, it was my decision,” Kellee said. “I said, ‘Why don’t we just move to Wallowa?’”

The family had already started putting down roots in the county.

“We’d bought some property in Lostine, thinking we’d potentially come back here at some point,” she said. “We had a lot of what we call ‘small-town victories,’ where we’d go to the post office and be out in five minutes or go to the courthouse and need to meet with someone and actually get to meet with them. Every time that’d happen, we’d come out and high-five and say, ‘Small-town victory.’ You can’t do that in San Diego.”

She recently shared her thoughts about living in Wallowa County.

What’s your favorite thing about Wallowa County?

We live right across from Enterprise Elementary School and I can sit there drinking my coffee and watch them walk to school. In San Diego, I’d have to drive one a half-hour one way and the other a half-hour the other way in heavy traffic.

What are your thoughts on Larry Braden resigning as city administrator over alleged harassment by council members?

I don’t know enough about it … so I’m just going to say no comment.

Did you know the city has declined to reveal whether it will investigate the alleged harassment?

I would like to know. I think there are always reasons for investigating such things. I would say yes, but I really don’t know a lot about it.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected you?

I’ve been recently vaccinated. … I think we’ve been a little more privileged in Wallowa County. When COVID-19 hit, it came to the county a little bit later and there’s been a lack of general panic. I’ve certainly appreciated that.

Were you at all hesitant about getting the vaccine?

I’ve lived all over the world and I’ve seen polio and other diseases and I think there’s more fear of not being vaccinated than being vaccinated. But I did get really sick on my second shot.

What have you learned from living in Wallowa County?

I have learned a lot about living in a rural community because this is my first time doing so. With my experience at the Josephy Center and how people pull together and that must be a product of people having a history of needing to rely on each other.

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

Go for it. There are opportunities for job. There are opportunities for families and children. Housing and rent can be tough, but that can change. Everything changes.

— Bill Bradshaw, Wallowa County Chieftain

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