Gov. Kate Brown spent Wednesday in Harney County, talking with local residents and officials.
It was the first comprehensive visit the governor made to the eastern Oregon community since the 41-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge last year.
“They came through it, they’re hardy, and they’re moving forward,” Brown said.
OPB reporter Amanda Peacher tagged along on the visit. She joined “All Things Considered” host Kate Davidson to talk about the trip and what residents told the governor. You can hear their conversation by clicking play on the audio player at the top of this article.
Harney County residents expressed concern about the basin’s dwindling water supply and asked the governor to help hasten the state’s regulatory processes for businesses and new development.
After speaking with Burns Paiute Tribal members, Brown said one statistic stuck with her.
“Thirty-eight percent of Burns Paiute tribal members are diagnosed with diabetes,” she said. “That tells me both in terms of health and environment that we need to work with the tribe to provide them with the tools that they need to be thriving.”
The governor said she’s planning to look for ways to improve the tribe’s access to health care and recreation opportunities.
Brown also met with local high school students to learn about the Burns High Schools vocational programs—the governor spoke about her goal to find ways to help rural students find jobs in the communities where they grew up.