Sharon Forster has lived in Enterprise for 47 years, many of which she spent as an educator.
Her late husband, Bill Forster, was a longtime reporter for the Chieftain.
Sharon taught English at Enterprise High School for 28 years and taught another couple of years overseas and at the college level.
They raised three daughters here, all now in their early 40s, and they have four grandchildren.
She recently shared her thoughts on living in Wallowa County.
What’s the best thing or place in Wallowa County?
On the west moraine where our home is.
What is the greatest challenge facing Wallowa County?
Employment, especially coming back from this pandemic, but it’s always been a problem.
What can people do to make Wallowa County a better place for all of us?
They can do what every American should do everywhere, and that’s to be more compassionate to all people and more caring.
I think we’re going to need to have that with what we’re going through as a nation, with the pandemic and with the horrific looting and burning from the most recent black murder. We’ve got to deal with that individually by making changes ourselves, and one is being more accepting of people who are different than we are.
What have you learned from living in Wallowa County?
I could write a thesis on that. It was not always the easiest county to live in. Coming here 47 years ago, it was very different. It was hard to be someone other than a rancher or a farmer or someone in the timber business.
What’s your advice for people who are thinking about moving here?
Do it with consideration of becoming actively involved in your community. People need to volunteer and help.
Do you believe the county is ready to move into Phase 2 of the COVID-19 recovery?
Absolutely not. We have not had cases here and we will have cases. Not taking the precautions that all of us have been asked to take is going to bring more of an outbreak of cases. We have to be very cautious with social distancing — I’m doing that. I think we’re moving too quickly if we open now.