Governor and First Lady stop in Culver, Madras, Prineville, Redmond, Bend, and Sisters
Bend, OR—On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week, Governor Tina Kotek and First Lady Aimee Kotek Wilson visited communities in Jefferson, Crook and Deschutes counties on stops 24, 25, and 26 of the One Oregon Listening Tour.
“Every time I come to Central Oregon I am struck by the beautiful landscape and the warm welcome from the folks who live here,” Governor Kotek said. “This visit we were able to sit down with farmers persevering in the face of drought, local elected leaders sharing their vision for their communities, housing providers doing the work on the ground to address homelessness, and behavioral health providers working around the clock to mitigate the impact of fentanyl.”
Wednesday began with a tour of Macy Farms in Culver. Jefferson County produces 55% of the world’s carrot seed. Macy Farms is a multi-generational family farm specializing in carrot seed, potato seeds, and mint. They were joined by the manager of the North Unit Irrigation District to discuss water issues in the basin.
The First Couple then had a working lunch with Jefferson County leaders at Madras Public House, before heading to a briefing at the Madras Campus of Central Oregon Community College to learn about their expansion plans to address the area’s health care and early childhood workforce needs.
In Crook County, the Governor and First Lady attended a roundtable discussion at BestCare, the largest behavioral health provider serving Central Oregon. The topics discussed included serving individuals with serious mental illness who are experiencing homelessness, the substance use crisis fueled by fentanyl, and the lack of services for youth with mental health or addiction challenges. They wrapped up their first day with dinner at the ranch home of House Republican Leader Vikki Breese Iverson.
On Thursday, they started bright and early at Debbie Sue’s Cafe in Prineville for a working breakfast with city and county leaders to discuss the Prineville Renewable Energy Project. They then moved on to Deschutes County, starting with a Latino Community Engagement meeting at Redmond City Hall followed by lunch with city and county leaders in at Diego’s Spirited Kitchen.
After lunch, they headed to Shepherd’s House Ministries’ new Redmond location for a roundtable conversation about housing and homelessness with providers and local public officials for a wide-ranging discussion about shelter and transitional services for the unhoused, as well as housing supply and funding sustainability.
The First Couple then enjoyed a visit to the Redmond Farmers Market to support local makers and farmers, and then ended the official portion of their day with a meeting with Juntos Aprendemos to learn about their culturally-specific early literacy and school readiness program for Spanish-speaking parents and their children ages 3 to 5.
On Friday, their day started with a working breakfast at the Original Pancake House in Redmond with local leaders, followed by a tour of the Central Oregon Veterans Ranch in Bend. For the past five years this nonprofit organization has brought healing and hope to veterans on their 19-acre working farm by engaging hundreds of veterans of different ages and eras in peer support and agriculture-related activities.
The First Couple then visited Oregon’s beloved and iconic Blockbuster Video before finishing their trip in Sisters with a stop at Paulina Springs Books and a lunch meeting with the leadership of the Roundhouse Foundation.