VIP: Conversation with Eastern Oregon activist Laura Pryor

| Print |  Email
Archives - July 2007
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

Corner Office: Steve Tatone

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

Seven tidbits about the president and CEO of AKT Group.


Read more...

Tackling the CEO-worker pay gap

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY OREGON BUSINESS STAFF

An SEC rule targets the disparity between executive and employee compensation, reigniting a long-standing debate about corporate social responsibility.


Read more...

Carbon Power

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Researchers in a multitude of disciplines are searching for ways to soak up excess carbon dioxide, the compound that contributes to global warming.


Read more...

The short list: 4 companies engaged in a battle of the paddles

The Latest
Thursday, December 04, 2014
pingpongthumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Nothing says startup culture like a ping pong table in the office, lounge or lobby.


Read more...

The Human Factor

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY BRIAN LIBBY

Matt French opens up South Waterfront.


Read more...

Free Falling

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, December 18, 2014
121714-oilprice-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR

The implosion of the energy complex: The best thing for low oil prices is low oil prices.


Read more...

That's Not a Watch (This Is a Watch)

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Smartwatches are all the rage. But old-fashioned timepieces keep on ticking.


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