A tip of the hat to outgoing Port of Morrow director Gary Neal, as he looks toward retirement.
Perhaps no one has had a bigger impact on Eastern Oregon industry in the past 25 years. Neal has helped turned the port into an economic powerhouse, and a bright spot in what has been a rough stretch for the state’s rural economies.
Yet there has been nothing rough about the stretch the port has been on. According to a 2017 economic analysis, the port generates about $2.7 billion of economic output and creates about 8,500 jobs — both directly and indirectly. Not bad for a place that was little more “than sand and sagebrush,” when Neal arrived, as State Rep. Greg Smith described it.
A tip of the hat and a warm welcome to the big crowds descending on Pendleton for the OSAA 2A basketball tournament.
It’s the beginning of one of the most fun weekends in Pendleton, as crowds sporting different school colors collide in the stands and on sidewalks. They fill restaurants and hotel rooms, and also bring their spirit and excitement along with them.
Welcome to Pendleton, and may the ball bounce your way while you’re here.
A kick in the pants to a recent rash of nonprofit thieves in Eastern Oregon.
In Thursday’s paper, we documented serious charges leveled against Shawn MacGregor, who had been director of Tonya’s House in Pendleton, a small nonprofit that provided emergency shelter to teen girls in crisis.
It was an important charity that did important work — and like many small operations there was never enough money to go around.
Yet according to charging documents, MacGregor took more than $10,000 from the nonprofit, which closed soon after.
And these stories are more common than you think. Karen Hutchinson-Talaski stole more than $8,000 from the Umatilla Chamber of Commerce and Joann Griffith faces 35 counts of theft and computer crimes related to stealing from the Spray Rodeo Association and Haystack Cemetery Association, both in Wheeler County.
And while some of these are just accusations — no guilt has been proven — it is a reminder of how vulnerable small nonprofits are. And for all the people who donate their money, and who volunteer their time to help serve on boards or make a difference for the less fortunate, we must sadly remember there are others who may have ulterior and destructive motives.