La Grande Life is as 'Grande' as you make it - 2/13/2011
Growing up in a different small town and making the journey to La Grande for college (home of Eastern Oregon University), I found the migration to La Grande's community tough at first. This was mostly due to the lack of integration between the City of La Grande and Eastern Oregon University. EOU serves as a nearly full service community inside of itself and the student base has never really invested in the downtown and in turn the city has not invested in nurturing the student population to its downtown. This paradigm, however, is changing.
It has now been 12 year since I moved to La Grande and like most transplants I had bounced out of the Grande ronde valley to adventure in Portland, Seattle, and other places - but found myself drawn back to "The Valley of Peace." It was only after I had returned that I began to unlock the beauty, power, and possibility resonating in this valley.
Recent economic impacts (seen nationally) has indeed taken a tole on the local economy, jobs and jobs creations, available investment capital etc - but La Grande has taken on the challenge of shifting itself into a new a vibrant community. Packed full of creative residents and professional and with the additions of new youthful organizations, the relationships between EOU and the City are beginning to engage and interact. Live music, and the arts are making there self more public - reaching out - and in turn are helping to bring the community members and students to gathering points, events, festivals - and most importantly getting them to begin to engage as groups and clubs to aid in problem solving and new paradigm possibilities...people are starting to consciously dream more here - and that is exciting.
I see ourselves now (we with a family and now invested in the communities future) having great opportunities to wipe out a lot of belief, policies, regulations, perspectives, that no longer serve the community and replace them with new, energized ways of doing things as a community to enhance and improve the well-being of all those who choose to participate actively and creatively in the metamorphosis of a rural city in Eastern Oregon. The Rural Renaissance. Viva La Revolucion.[read more...]
Moving to La Grande? Think twice . . . - 12/31/2007
I lived in La Grande for the past nine years, and also for high school. It is a small, cliqueish town and unless one is in a particular social set, it is hard to feel comfortable there. Frankly, I experienced people as just being flat-out rude, despite every effort on my part to be friendly.
The climate is extremely dry; the winter wind is enough to suck the life out of you simply walking from one's front door to your car, the summers are just as dry and recent summers have had many days over 100. One evening in a small town just outside La Grande a few winters ago our thermometer registered 20 below zero. There are no words for that kind of cold! And the schools are, shall we say, less than adequate. A friend of mine had a child whose repeated struggles in school were chalked up to laziness, and the school outright refused to help her. Come to find out the child had a learning disability.
After moving to the midwest, I am shocked at how friendly people are out here, how they go out of their way to look you in the eye and smile, even if they have no idea who you are! The dissonance between my new town and La Grande is a continuous (and pleasant) surprise.
Granted, there is a right place for every person, and I know several people who moved back to La Grande after living in other places as it seems hard to leave La Grande and stay gone. That said, ninety percent of those I know who moved back left again within a short period of time, saying they hadn't realized how good they'd had it elsewhere. The one thing that can be said for La Grande is that in general it is a very safe place to live, but in my experience this does not make up for its shortcomings.[read more...]