Stops 19 and 20 include visits to Prairie City, John Day, Hines, and Burns
Burns, OR—Today and yesterday, Governor Tina Kotek and First Lady Aimee Kotek Wilson visited communities in Grant and Harney counties on stops 19 and 20 of the One Oregon Listening Tour.
“We are 20 counties into our One Oregon Listening Tour, and I continue to be impressed by local leaders and their deep commitment to creating prosperity for all residents,” Governor Kotek said. “It’s been great to learn from our rural and frontier communities about what they’re looking for from Salem and the creative solutions they’ve developed to get us to where we need to be. I look forward to continuing these conversations and bringing these lessons back with me to the Capitol.”
The visit to Grant County began in Prairie City with a ceremonial bill signing for Senate Bill 955, the AgriStress Suicide Hotline Bill, alongside local leaders from Grant and Wallowa counties and key advocates for the bill.
“It’s not always easy to ask for help,” Grant County Commissioner Jim Hamsher said. “Every little bit we can do for our agricultural workers can make a big difference. I’m glad to say the line will be up and running in just 30 days. It was an honor to have our Governor commemorate this moment in our own community.”
The Governor and First Lady then traveled to John Day, where they had a conversation about tourism development related to the Kam Wah Chung Heritage Site.
“It’s not just about the center or the historic site,” said Bridget Tinsley, a resource program manager for Oregon Parks and Recreation. “It’s really a story about the community of John Day and speaks to the needs of the region. People come from the Painted Hills to come see the Kam Wah Chung historic site and explore John Day. The question we always ask ourselves is: how can we create an experience that transforms you as soon as you come into John Day. Regardless of your background or where you’re visiting from, this is everybody’s story. History is active.”
In true Oregon fashion, the Governor and First Lady had lunch at 1188 Brewing Company in John Day with owner Shannon Adair and Prairie City Mayor Scott Officer, where they discussed a number of regional issues including the recovery from the fire this past spring that damaged a number of businesses and buildings in downtown John Day.
Following lunch, they had a conversation about innovative efforts to increase housing production through 3D home printing in Grant County. The discussion emphasized the urgent need to break the status quo when it comes to homebuilding and advance creative, nimble solutions to move Oregon out of our housing crisis.
They then traveled to Hines in Harney County for a roundtable discussion with the High Desert Partnership, a unique collaborative model established by farmers, ranchers, conservationists, federal partners, and local elected leaders focused on problem-solving around challenges facing rural Oregon. Participants honed in on the value that collaboratives bring to contentious issues by empowering all stakeholders to voice their perspectives.
Thursday ended with conversation over dinner about the importance of relationship-building between elected leaders in Salem and communities in frontier counties with local Harney County leaders at Representative Mark Owens’ farm south of Burns.
The last leg of the trip began Friday with breakfast with representatives from the Burns Paiute Tribe at their Tribal Council Office. Tribal Council leaders emphasized the importance of preserving and protecting ancestral land, supporting the health and well-being of tribal members, and the importance of a strong partnership with the State.
The Governor and First Lady’s visit to Harney County concluded with a meeting at Bella Java in Burns with Harney County Commissioner Patty Dorroh, a local business owner and former Burns City Councilor Forrest Keady, as well as a visit to the historic Central Hotel.