Garrett Lowe of Wallowa came to the county in 2011 from Boise area where he was a fiber optic cable splicer. He brought that business with him and kept it until January 2016 when he and wife Beth purchased Timber Bronze 53. The couple also manages the Pacific Pride Fuel Plant for the Hendersons in Wallowa.
He’ll have been married to Beth McCrea Lowe for 32 years in June. The pair raised five children.
Garrett serves on the Wallowa Union Railroad Authority board, has been a Wallowa City Council member for nearly six years, has been bishop of the Enterprise LDS Church for the last three years and is organizer for the Wallowa Hometown Project.
Q. Why come to Wallowa County and more specifically the town of Wallowa?
A. We’ve always wanted to come back here. We just had to figure out how to do it. Having a job to bring with us was the ticket. Our last daughter (of five) had just graduated, so everybody else was out of the house. We love the small-town feel, the way the town works, how they all work together somewhat. We’d like to see them work together more.
Beth’s family has always been here, we think she’s fifth-generation Wallowan, she’s got cousins and aunts and uncles –– our kids, all but one, live here now. We’ve always loved, loved this town.
What started it was when I first met Beth we came back to an alumni banquet and I’d never ever seen that before. You had people from all these decades of classes that were meeting at the same place same time and they do it year after year. And I though it was great. I thought, ‘that’s a community that works together on things.’
And it’s continued to be like that. For instance at our last city council meeting we were discussing the garbage issue we’re going to have with the county pulling out and there were about 50 people in that room constructively trying to figure out what to do about that; how are we going to work together to get this thing figured out.
Q. What has Wallowa taught you?
A. Patience. Patience. I was a manufacturer’s representative (my wife says I got paid to eat and play golf) and I spliced fiber at the same time. You learn to do both –– but when you do that your brain gets into the mode of ‘I have to get it done and I have to do it now.’ Coming here has slowed that down to where I have time to weigh the facts, look at more possibilities, and to think more about relationships –– and that’s been good.
Relationships: even something as simple as waving at somebody you don’t even know when you’re driving down the road. They do that in Wallowa County. People take the time and courtesy to do that. In a bigger town you can’t even get people to look at you, much less smile.
Q. How has Wallowa County surprised you?
A. The people here realize that we have to make a switch. We don’t necessarily have to change the way we are; the feel of the town or the feel of the county, that doesn’t have to change. But our inner workings are going to have to change if we are going to survive. And I see huge numbers of people realizing that and being willing to do something about that. I think it’s not hugely surprising but it’s refreshing. We have tenacity and the willingness to work together to get things done.
What I’m surprised by is I’ve got a friend who is as polar opposite of me as you can get, and I’ll tell him that and he’ll tell me that –– but we set all that aside and we come together to work on things to make it better.
I’m also surprised that, for how small Wallowa County is, it works so well. There are resources here, but it takes people to put resources together to help others out. As an example
For instance, over this winter some folks that we know had about 12 inches of water suddenly show up in their basement and there were probably 30 rigs that showed up to help out within 15 minutes of putting the word out. That’s great, just great.
And you’ve got unsung heroes like the late Bethel Stubblefield from Diamond Prairie who donated time to the senior center, and no one outside of the senior center knew. She didn’t spread that news around. She’d done that for over 20 years. I like learning from people like that.