Articles

Humble Beginnings: In the Backroom of a Bakery

In 1996, in the backroom of a bakery, a group of local citizens came together to create a new organization in our community – Wallowa Resources. The mills had shut down and 20% of the workforce lost their jobs overnight! This happened in response to profound changes in national forest management. Local businesses, the hospital, and schools felt the impact immediately.

Since our creation, we have focused on the stewardship of Wallowa County's land and community. We're solution oriented, we get the job done, we educate our community, and we put local people to work. We share our successes and failures with others so we can all learn from each other. We want to revitalize rural communities, especially Wallowa County. Our response to that founding crisis emerged as a new model for generating community based solutions. We were quickly recognized as a leader in revitalizing rural Oregon.

Today, we are looking to the future and are building our organizational capacity to expand local and regional benefits of this model.

Our Timeline

1996 Wallowa Resources founded.

1998 A mobile mill was tested to see the viability of processing small diameter logs.

1999 Wallowa Resources partners on the McDaniel's Wallowa River Restoration Project.

2000 Wallowa Canyonlands Partnership, a cooperative noxious weed management program, starts with seed funding from the Bureau of Land Management.

2001 Invested in the Joseph Timber Company to save the mill jobs. The Company closed before benefits could be realized.

2004 Arroz Stewardship Contract – Resulted from the work in the Community Planning Process; Arroz was the first commercial timber sale not appealed in ten years.

Kids and Schools participate in the first youth education program, Outdoor School.

2005 A new small log processing business, Community Smallwood Solutions, is formed with 15 other investors.

2007 Wallowa Mountain Institute, the education arm of Wallowa Resources, is created.

2009 A new small business, Integrated Biomass Resources, moves to Wallowa County to produce chips, hog fuel, and pest-free certified firewood.

Reservoir Fuel Reduction Project occurs, creating 14 jobs and thinning 800 acres of forest and providing biomass fuel for Enterprise School bioler.

2010 We move into the old hospital building, now the Wallowa Resources' Stewardship Center.

2011 With Whitman College, we host a month-long course, Whitman in the Wallowas, with Wallowa County as the classroom.

2012 Construction of the new Integrated Biomass Energy Campus begins and is projected to support over 20 jobs.

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