VIP: Conversation with Eastern Oregon activist Laura Pryor

| Print |  Email
Sunday, July 01, 2007

LauraPryor0707ViP

LAURA PRYOR

Eastern Oregon activist

Tall and regal with deep blue eyes and abundant silver hair, Laura Pryor is a commanding presence used to commanding jobs. For almost two decades she was the elected judge for Gilliam County, spending those years and many more fighting and working for Eastern Oregon.

On this day several months after her retirement as the top county administrator, she sits in a Salem restaurant, having just found out the Office of Rural Policy, which she helped birth three years ago, is once again threatened. Pryor is deeply stung by this, doubly so because it comes at a time when rural counties are struggling with the impact of losing millions of dollars in federal timber payments.

“No one starts out to say, ‘Let’s murder rural Oregon,’” she says, looking long and hard out the window at the torrential rain, “It’s just unintended consequences.”

But this is a woman who doesn’t lose hope, so there’s no looking back, only turning to face new challenges. Pryor is helping set up a study with Oregon State University that will chart the impact of the timber-money loss, continuing to prod and nurture the Eastern Oregon Rural Alliance, and keeping her presence felt in Salem as she battles for her beloved eastern home. Even though she feels as if she’s starting from scratch again, she’s not willing to concede the fight.

If this doesn’t sound like retirement, then you’ve got it right. The 69-year-old Pryor laughs and says she retired from the county, but not from life.

“The urban-rural divide is real,” she says, and it’s her mission to try to bridge that. “How do we keep rural society alive and vital? I’m going to try to figure out how to do that.”

There are more meetings and many more hours to put in, so she heads out, braving the rain, face forward into the storm she sees gathering over rural Oregon.

— Robin Doussard


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

Marijuana law ushers in new business age

The Latest
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
062315panelthumbBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

Oregon’s new marijuana law is expected to lead to a bevy of new business opportunities for the state. And not just for growers. Law firms, HR consultants, energy efficiency companies and many others are expected to benefit from the decriminalization of pot, according to panelists at an Oregon Business breakfast meeting on Tuesday.


Read more...

Photo Diary: Forest Grove Farmers Market

The Latest
Thursday, May 14, 2015
IMG 8469BY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

There are more than 160 farmers markets in Oregon, contributing an estimated $50 million in sales, according to the Oregon Farmers Markets Association. We checked in on the Forest Grove market, which for several years has brought local produce and food vendors to Main Street in the center of town.


Read more...

Hall of Flame

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

A Power Lunch at Oswego Grill.


Read more...

Queen of Resilience

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Astrid Scholz scales up sustainability.


Read more...

An uncertain future

Guest Blog
Thursday, May 21, 2015
norristhumbBY JASON NORRIS | GUEST BLOGGER

Uncertainty is a part of doing business, whether in through the lens of investment opportunities and risks or the business of running an enterprise.


Read more...

Downtime with John Helmick

June 2015
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Live, Work, Play: CEO of Gorilla Capital.


Read more...

The ancient fish that stops bullets

The Latest
Friday, May 08, 2015
hagfishthumbBY CHRIS NOBLE | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Hagfish may not have evolved much over the last 300 million years, but their protein-heavy slime promises advances in super-materials.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS