Enterprise, the Jewel of Eastern Oregon
June 30, 2019
Wallowa County occupies the far northeastern corner of the state of Oregon. It’s far from Portland and the State Capitol in Salem, far from the Pacific ocean beaches, and far from California. Unlike most of eastern Oregon’s desert stretches, Wallowa County boasts snowed-capped peaks and lush green valleys.
Enterprise, county seat of Wallowa County, lies in a beautiful alpine valley. When you go there, expect to see many pickup trucks with two black labs in the back. Standard. Expect also to see a few horses get loose just outside town and run down the road with their owners running after them in vain, causing the closest thing to a traffic jam in this rural place. Again, standard.
Welcome to Enterprise, named after the idea of “enterprise.” After a look around town, we’ll end up at the lake. That’s how life usually works around here.
The courthouse and many other buildings in town are constructed of a locally-quarried gray stone block known as Bowlby Stone, named for a local landowner. The porous stone could be cut by masons while it was still damp from the quarry, but after a time it dried as hard as concrete. (This last bit I read on an historical sign, and this is the first time I’ve heard of quarried rock being called “damp”.)
Here’s Enterprise’s slogan: “The Past is our Future.” I doubt that will be so, as will be seen later.
Enterprise has a population of 1,940; the county has a total population of 7,008. But that may change. Its fantastic location in a deep Alpine valley beckons travelers, tourists and second-home seekers. In short, folks with disposable cash. That’s what I saw when I last visited a few years ago.
Only western Oregon makes the national news — in Portand, Antifa just beat a bystanding journalist into a brain bleed (https://humanevents.com/2019/06/29/antifa-brutally-assault-journalist-during-portland-protest/?utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fduckduckgo.com%2F) — but eastern Oregon is the Republican half of the state.
You can see the signs of it everywhere:
This part of Oregon is becoming a refuge from the fascists taking control in western Oregon. Meanwhile, the spirit of Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce will be here always.
Here’s some more history, for this interested:
South of town, Wallowa Lake catches the snow melt from the mountains high above it and feeds the Wallowa River which runs through Enterprise:
Cool summer memories. Toes compliments of yours truly.
Some scientific information on the lake and surrounding area:
Finally, one last look at the valley, taken just before sunset on a warm June day:
All photos taken by the author. Photos were taken on June 25, 2007 and June 22, 2015.
A list of all photo posts from the American County Seats series in TimManBlog can be found here.