Eileen Laramore 01

Eileen Laramore leads a group of activists who clean up the Oxbow area. Laramore has been involved in cleaning up homeless camps and damage in the area since 2013.

Friends of the Oxbow Property

When and why did you move to Hermiston?

In 1951, the Union Pacific Railroad opened the Hinkle Yard. My dad, George Bennett, was transferred to Hinkle from Green River, Wyoming. I was 2 years old. I graduated from Hermiston Senior High School in 1967 and relocated to the Willamate Valley. In 1997, I decided there was too much rain and too many people there so I moved back to Hermiston. Once a desert rat, always a desert rat.

Where is your favorite place to eat in Hermiston?

My favorite place to eat in Hermiston is Hales Restaurant. Lately, I’ve grown fond of Schwan’s delivery service.

What do you do in your spare time?

I like to learn about Pacific Northwest history. I’ve got over 150 books and articles on the subject.

What surprises you about Hermiston?

Its constant growth.

What was the last book you read?

Just finished reading “Red White Black: A True Story of Race and Rodeo,” by Rick Steber. I’m adding it to my Pacific Northwest history book collection.

What app do you use the most, other than Facebook?

Umatilla River Levels and Food and Water Watch

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

I would like to visit the Kiger Mustang Reserve in the Steens Mountains.

What is the funniest thing that ever happened to you?

I try to find humor in all situations. Here is an example:

In the 1980s, I was a shipper/dispatcher for a manufactured home company. My assigned parking space was located next to the sales manager’s office with a huge picture window. One day, the lead of the yard crew came into my office and suggested I take a look at my vehicle. I went around the corner and there was my three-tone blue Bronco II, wedged at a 30-degree angle against that big picture window. Both driver’s side tires were off the ground. What happened? The yard crew used a tracker with weights on the front to move houses in the yard. When the driver stepped off the tracker it coasted into the driver’s side of my Bronco II, tipping it sideways onto the big picture window. Hearing a crunching noise, the shocked sales manager looked up and thought my vehicle was coming through the glass. Word traveled fast and many people wandered by to observe my vehicle wedged against that window and, of course, to tease the sales manager. Everyone with the exception of the general manager, the sales manager and the tracker driver thought it was funny. I was still laughing when I presented the general manager with the body shop’s bill. How could I be upset? I got a excellent new parking space, the repairs were paid and we all got a good laugh.

What is one of your goals in the next 12 months?

Start training someone for the position of executive director for Friends of the Oxbow Property.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

Personally, I’m very proud of my three grown daughters and five grandchildren. Professionally, I’m pleased that Friends of the Oxbow Property, a nonprofit natural resource group I founded in Hermiston, is still active and relevant.

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