Sherman County eNews #129


  1. Thinking Makes It So


  3. Clearing out the Sherman County Children’s Closet

  4. It’s Rafting Season on the John Day River

  5. Alma Jean (Watkins) Tipley 1920-2019

  6. Sherman County History Tidbits: 1926

  7. Links: Things to Think About & Things to Do

Appreciation can make a day – even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary. ~ Margaret Cousins

1. Thinking Makes It So

What is the one thing that determines, more than anything else, the quality of your life?

Some people say, “You are what you eat,” but it might be more appropriate to say, “You are what you think.” Now, this is not really “new” news. This is one of the great universal truths, handed down over the centuries by poets and philosophers and by almost every great religious leader the world has ever known.

We move toward and become like what we think about, and our present thoughts, more than anything else, determine our future. So, it is important to learn to control your thoughts. First, you need to learn how to listen to you – a skill you can learn – to really understand what you are thinking about. (Keeping a journal is one way to monitor your thoughts.) When you can do that, you’ll be taking control of your life as well as your thinking.

And how do you control your thoughts? Well, once you learn to monitor yourself by listening to the stream of inner messages that precede your emotions, then you ask yourself if some of these thoughts are other people’s ideas that may not really be true – for you. Where did they come from, and are they really helping you to grow?

Look for distortions, exaggerations, and other misrepresentations – words like “always” and “never” are immediate red flags. Once identified, then you deliberately correct them – on the spot – to a more realistic viewpoint. Finally, you choose to put the best possible slant on every situation, every event, and every occurrence. There are at least two sides to every story, typically more than two, and one of those may lead you to a more productive end result.

Just remember, your present thoughts do determine your future. When you consistently expect the best, and think in those terms, you tend to get the best – out of yourself and those around you. ~The Pacific Institute


Myth: Have you ever heard or thought these?

“They are prescribed by doctors. They aren’t that bad if the FDA approved them.  Doctors don’t want to get sued so they limit them.  I know people who use them all the time and are fine. I have used them before and I didn’t get addicted.”

Truth:  Each day, 140 people in the United States die of a drug overdose, 91 specifically due to opioids.

3. Clearing out the Sherman County Children’s Closet

Sherman County is clearing out the Children’s Closet! We have several totes of gently used boys and girls clothing (sizes newborn to 5T), jackets, some random nursery supplies, and a bassinet- FREE to the public. It will be available to rummage through until May 31st, located in Moro, upon appointment with Amber DeGrange- call/text 541-980-5232 to set a time.

4. It’s Rafting Season on the John Day River

The water is high; but not too high and the sun is warm; but not too hot. It’s rafting season on the John Day River.

Designated a National Wild and Scenic River; the John Day provides isolation, peace, and more than a few good fishing holes. A truly wild, back county experience.

The most popular trip is the multi-day trip starting at Clarno and ending at JS Burres. This trip through the John Day Wilderness Study Area provides rafters with beautiful views, great wildlife, and a chance to disconnect from the world. See

For those looking for a shorter trip, the 10 mile float from JS Burres to the Starvation Lane take-out provide rafters and kayakers with a riverside view of the heart of Cottonwood Canyon State Park. Bring the tents and a fishing pole to turn it into a multi-day trip.

A few things to remember on your trip:

  • Pack out all trash (dumpster located at JS Burres)
  • Portable toilets are required on overnight trips (dump located at JS Burres)
  • Be aware of fire bans (beginning May 24th this year)
  • There is no cell service. Carry plenty of water and a first aid kit
  • Make sure to have your life vest, whistle and float permit. Rangers may ask to see these on your trip.

For those planning a float, be sure to check the BLM website for rules, river maps, and float permits (required year round).

Rafting season usually lasts from May through early July, depending on water levels. Generally, 350-400cfs is required to float through the Cottonwood-Starvation Lane section. For current river levels check the USGS website. Once water levels reach 350-400cfs, the gate to the Starvation Lane access is closed.

Most importantly: Be safe. Have fun.

5. Alma Jean (Watkins) Tipley 1920-2019

flower.rose.starBorn on a farm east of Olex, Oregon on February 5, 1920, Alma Jean (Watkins) Tipley spent much of her life in Gilliam and Sherman counties, attending g r a d e school in Olex and Rock Creek Station, high school in Arlington and graduating from Wasco High School before getting her teaching certificate from Oregon College of Education (OCE) in 1942. She distinguished herself at OCE and was selected for the prestigious Collecto-Coed service society.

While a majority of her 99 years were lived in Gilliam County, she had several forays living in other parts of the country. Right after graduating from OCE, instead of taking the teaching position that she was offered, World War II had broken out and she accompanied her second husband, Jim O’Meara, to Columbia, South Carolina where the Army Air Corps did its B-25 combat training, and had son Mickey there in 1943. After the war they came home to Wasco and son Jim was born in 1945.

She first became a teacher when she moved to Condon with the boys in 1951. After marrying Elmer Tipley in 1954, she had son Roger in 1959, enjoyed watching her sons’ athletics and taught school until they moved to Blaine, Wash. when the Condon Air Force Station closed in 1970. In Blaine, she learned to love the beachcombing, clamdigging and crabbing at Birch Bay; also substitute teaching.

They moved back to their Condon home after Elmer’s retirement from Blaine Air Force Station. When Elmer had a severe car wreck in 1980, Alma Jean turned her energy toward his recovery and rehabilitation. In 1985, she also became an inspirational cancer-survivor; her uterine cancer diagnosed early enough that surgery and radiation treatments made her cancer-free.

At the Condon United Church of Christ, for over 30 years she was one of the regular organists and piano players for Sunday services, and served as treasurer. Musical to the end, even when her failing eyesight made it impossible to read sheet music, she played and sang golden oldies on the piano for her assisted living facility. Her piano playing was always done with great flourish and style.

When she was a grade school teacher in Condon Schools she was known for being a quick walker in the halls, and that speediness stayed with her to the end, assisted by her walker, zipping past slower people in the halls on her way to dinner or bingo. That energy and tenacity led to many successes. In the late 1980s, she believed that Condon needed an assisted-living facility to provide new jobs and to care for the aging population of the county. She worked tirelessly, organizing resources and motivating Gilliam County to turn that vision into a reality by building Summit Springs Village; which opened its doors in 1994. She was quite competitive, spending hours each week playing Scrabble, consuming crossword books, and in friendly games of dominoes, pinochle and bingo.

She researched and published a history of the John Day River McDonald Ferry and contributed to many other Sherman and Gilliam county historical works (all without access to a computer or the internet). Her hobbies were many and varied over the years, and many of those hobbies translated into blue ribbons at the Gilliam County Fair: peanut brittle, biscuits, cookies, rhubarb, canned fruit, rock collections . . . . The most widely-known of her hobbies might be the over 500 quilts that she made as gifts. Whether received by a new grandchild or by an ailing friend, wrapping up in one of her quilts feels like a loving hug. Her quilt-giving was featured in the June 2008 Ruralite magazine.

She is survived by her sister, Elaine Strahm of Mesa, Arizona; sons, Mickey O’Meara of Sebring, Florida, Jim O’Meara of Phoenix and Roger Tipley of Houston; step-daughter, Neva Campbell of Milwaukie; and 17 grandchildren, Bill McMullen Jr, Corrina (McMullen) Johnson, Myles McMullen, Jeff McMullen, Sean O’Meara, Cammy O’Meara, Michelle (O’Meara) Bissey, Kelli (O’Meara) Leonard, Geoff Tipley, Kyle Tipley, Katie Tipley, Blair Campbell, Ann (Campbell) Adrian-Scott, Brad Bullock, Brent Bullock, Bryan Bullock, and Shannon Bullock. She also has 27 great-grandchildren and eight great-great-grandchildren.

Her final chapter included a big move to Houston, Texas, to live closer to her son Roger’s family. Regardless of the state where she lived, she was forever an Oregonian at heart and loyal to the Trailblazers to the end. She joined the fellowship of her departed family and friends in heaven on May 4, 2019, after celebrating her 99th birthday in February. A graveside service will be conducted at the Condon Masonic Cemetery at 1 p.m. Friday, May 17.

6. Sherman County History Tidbits: 1926

The Observer, Moro, Oregon

1926 Notes, not quotes:

  • January: Daughter born to M/M J.L. Gentry of DeMoss Dec. 31. Will Huck in business at E side of John Day bridge (at the mouth).
  • February: “Rufus River Rats” challenged “Wasco Hill Hounds” for baseball. Liquor plant (still) found on Miller Island. Mrs. John Buether’s sister visiting from Germany. Charles Scott’s airplane wrecked 2 mi. W of Wasco. City of Moro became owner of Moro Hotel.
  • March: 22 people joined new golf club at Rufus.
  • July: Boy Scout outing at Suttle Lake. About 80 Tennesseeans gathered at Kent for a picnic & the 48th wedding anniversary of M/M Adams of Tennessee. B.F. Shull working on irrigation system for truck garden at Hay Canyon. Miss Gladys Gentry to Antelope to see aunt & uncle & her grandparents who are here from Mountain City, Tennessee. 2 monster rattlesnakes killed ¼ mile S of Hay Canyon warehouse, 40” long, 10” around, 11 rattles. Extreme heat wave in the county, water a concern. Fire on L.E. Kaseberg farm 275 acres, several sacks of wheat. Barn on Harry Van Gilder farm near Wasco burned, 2 cows, calf, fanning mill, feed chopper, implements, harness & hay. Fire Henry Howell wheat W of Wasco near top of Gordon Ridge. Fire Carroll Sayrs – combine, ¼ section of grain. Fire C.W. Smith – 40 a. stubble, 100 sacks of grain.
  • August: Fire Andy Holt farm – house, the old Bakeoven store/road house, 2 barns, hay, equipment, outhouse, buildings, personal effects. Rev. Wm. A. Pinkerton here to see brother Robert W. Pinkerton, preached at Presbyterian church. Vacations, relatives here for harvest.
  • September: Students leave for college. Deer hunting.
  • October: Rufus golf course alive with golfers. Gathering to listen to the world series. Deer hunting. McAllister Bros.’ airplane flights. Wasco Study Club.
  • November: Boy Scouts camped on the Gibson place on the John Day River: McKean, Burnett, Barnes, Sayrs & Buell of Moro & Holtzapfel & Vinton of Grass Valley. Large number of people went to Maryhill to witness the dedication of the Hill museum. “Little Margaret Wonderlick was petted by the Queen upon her arrival at Celilo” – Queen Marie of Romania enroute to or from Maryhill Museum. Bridge of the Gods opened. Sol Coats’ sister from Dufur visiting in Rufus. Improvements on Rufus golf course. Geese are coming in.
  • December: Test oil well in Clarno basin. Marius Douma & Roscoe Moore returned from USA tour. 8 Moro students at OAC, 4 at U of O, 1 at Pacific University, 3 at Normal School at Monmouth.

7. Links: Things to Think About & Things to Do

bird.owl3Rafting Season on the John Day River

Deschutes River State Recreation Area

Largest U.S. Measles Outbreak in 25 Years Surpasses 800 Cases