One might overlook Baker County as a recreational hub. It’s too “backwoods,” or too “podunk.” It’s so small and rural, how can there be anything to do?! Enter the truth:
Baker County has a little slice of everything and that’s why 17,000 people call this county home. If you dig just below the large agricultural presence, one will find vast diversity in all things recreational. There is a beautiful golf course, a fabulous little ski resort, and plenty of lakes to fish and forest to hunt. Not to mention, miles of roads to cycle and thousands of acres of land to run. Recently, a handful of awesome mountain bike trail systems have sprouted throughout the Valley. The trails are a direct result of passionate and devoted residents.
Seven years ago, a couple relocated to the Baker Valley to escape the hustle and bustle of their former home. Avid skiers, hikers, mountain bikers and overall outdoor enthusiasts, Pat & Elishah Thomas found a niche and have combined their passions with a business plan. Range Tour & Shuttle Company is born.
Range Tour & Shuttle Company offers guided mountain bike rides, as well as hiking and biking shuttles in and around the Baker Valley! Like many other small business successes in our Valley, Range Tour & Shuttle Co. is graciously welcomed to the county with an out pour of community support and enthusiasm.
Just another reason we all love the Baker Valley! Congratulations Pat & Elishah!
Baker City Realty Broker, Ann Mehaffy, was awarded Baker County “Legacy Woman of the Year,” at last weekend’s Baker County Chamber Banquet. Known for her involvement in everything Baker County, Ann’s recent recognition is well deserved. As past coordinator of Historic Baker City, a member of the Crossroads Carnegie Art Center Board or Directors, and an active member in the Ford Family Foundation,(just to name a few) Ann has a full portfolio of serving Baker.
It is this knowledge, expertise, and charismatic attitude that make Ann a wonderful person to talk with about buying or selling a home in the Baker Valley! We are proud to have such a passionate community member as a Baker City Realty broker. Congratulations, Ann!
Representing Baker County for 53 years, Baker City Realty is proud to continue supporting our local community. Below is list of local organizations that BCR has contributed to during 2014. It is these organizations, among many others, that help make Baker County the perfect place to call home. Happy New Year!
Brooklyn Primary PTO
Historic Baker City, Inc.
YMCA Swim Team
Baker Broncs and Bulls
Pine Valley Fair
Baker 4H/FFA Fair
The Great Salt Lick
Crossroad Art Center Gala
Festival of Trees
Baker Quarterback Club
Bake County has plenty of great places to live – beautiful historic homes, as well as modern dwellings. Baker also has lots of opportunities to start a business, or purchase an existing business. Sometimes, the business and the workplace combine perfectly, as in the Love Ranch at 28455 Middle Bridge Loop, listed for $795,000.
The Love Ranch has a well-maintained 2,674 square-foot main home of two stories. Built in 1898, the farmhouse has hosted generations of Baker ranching families and has been sensitively restored. In addition to the historic farmhouse, the Love Ranch also includes a guest cabin, an old working barn, a shop and other outbuildings. Plenty of trees provide shade for the yard, which lends itself perfectly to summer lounging or receptions. A partitioned vegetable garden will grow anything suitable for Baker’s climate.
The business angle lies in the 100 acres that comes with the Love Ranch. Right now, HOWMANY cattle and HOWMANY horses use the land. An irrigated meadow produces about 110-120 tons a year, suitable for selling. The ranch can profitably board other animals and has served as part of a local ranching cooperative. The ranch’s productivity is secure, thanks to its original water rights that are more than 100 years old.
Despite is strong rural character, Love Ranch is just 20 minutes from Baker and and, in the other direction, a short trip to the Eagle Cap Wilderness. Truly as special place, Love Ranch sites at the center of agriculture, hunting and recreation.
Local and Vocal!
Northeast Oregon is well known for its pristine beauty, recreational opportunities, and charming historic towns. We are also a well-connected networking rural region, though we often live many, many miles apart. Pitching in with a neighborly barn-raising attitude is alive and well in this part of rural Oregon; we often convene, collaborate, and reunite in our collective economic vitality effort, sharing stories and our successful future together.
Almost 100 participants were in for a treat at the Northeast Economic Vitality Summit held in La Grande December 10, 2014, at the Blue Mountain Conference Center. Attendees traveled from all regions of eastern Oregon, including Wallowa, Union, Baker, Umatilla, Grant, and Malheur counties, to hear presentations and to reconnect through networking and small group discussions. The focus of the Summit was: Rethinking Local: Live, Invest, and Grow!”
Keynote speakers Carol Peppe Hewitt and Katrina Scotto de Carlo proffered timely and exciting subjects. Peppe-Hewett’s topic – Local Matters: Building Community Capital Through Local Investments – brought the Slow Money Movement into focus. Peppe Hewett, a pioneer in the community finance movement, tells compelling stories of ordinary people connecting to local resources to develop new local financial products and services. Community finance is investment in small local enterprises and businesses, connecting local investors to their local economies, and building a local nurturing capital industry.
Scotto de Carlo is co-founder of both Supportland and Portland Made, innovative buy-local programs that have achieved national acclaim. Her presentation “Supportland: Building a Climate where Small Business Owners Can Share, Reward and Keep Local Customers” focused on community resiliency and recognizing the strength and interdependence that exists in local places.
During the summit we also heard from a panel of local experts on making NE Oregon more economically stable by leveraging local assets and exploring opportunities. Tom Hutchison, of Gold Rush Malt House, described the value-chain approach to creating wealth locally and left us with this quote: “Nothing produced in NE Oregon should leave the region before it’s achieved the highest value possible. Lisa Dawson gave us information about the NE Oregon Community Capital Collaborative, assisting business owners in finding local investors. Ginger Savage, Executive Director of the Crossroads Art Center, Annie Eskelin, Executive Director of the Art Center at the Old Library, and Mika Morton, Executive Director of Arts East completed the panel with their discussion of the economic importance of art and the culture of art in NE Oregon.
The summit was presented by Ford Institute for Community Building, and Rural Development Initiatives (RDI). Partners for the Summit were Northeast Oregon Community Capital Collaborate, La Grande Urban Renewal Agency, Baker Chamber of Commerce, Northeast Oregon Economic Development District and the North Fork John Day Watershed Council.
What a productive day we had, generating many new ideas, reconnecting with old friends, making new friends, and feeling energized and charged as we move forward to making NE Oregon as vital as we can. The challenges of our rural life are certainly sweetened by our collective willingness to collaborate and our long history of working together to get things done.
Sometimes, people just get an urge to leave the rat race and settle down in a small, safe town and own a business.
Well, here’s your chance.
Bonnie’s Cut & Curl in downtown Baker has been in business for maybe 50 years. The current owner, Bonnie Rux, has owned the business for 30 years and wants to retire. I say “wants to” because she still works a couple of days a week to meet demand.
“We stay busy. Even though we are open limited hours, people still come in,” Bonnie said. “Everything’s here for someone to take it over – it’s a turnkey business and anyone with the license could walk in and start working.”
The business is two stories and 1,145 square feet. Right now, Rux operates a general-purpose hair salon and barbershop and offers a selection of wigs. Rux has done various things in the space over the years, including nails, pedicures, facials, facial waxing, wigs and hairpieces. There’s plenty of parking and the property comes with two bathrooms, four wet stations, two dispensaries and the business is wired for a tanning bed. It is fully stocked with displays and products and wigs for sale. The second story is only partially finished. Rux would be willing to work occasionally for a while during a transitional period. She also rents a wet station to another lady who does hair.
Buying a turnkey business like this is a tradition for many professionals and it’s priced very competitively at $55,000. Doctors and lawyers, for example, have frequently owned their offices, building equity instead of throwing their money away on rent. When it came time to retire, they sold the business to someone entering the profession and took their equity. That’s how Rux bought this business and the next person who owns Bonnie’s Cut & Curl can have confidence they are investing in a building as well as a business.
Bonnie’s Cut & Curl is a local fixture, like hairdressers tend to be. It’s a social spot for people. For the right person, this would make a great place to settle down.
Out-of-state hairdressers looking to take over the business will need to get an Oregon license. For more information, visit http://www.oregon.gov/ohla/
The Website Base Camp Baker does a superb job introducing newcomers (as well as current residents) to the amazing variety of outdoor fun in Baker County: Camping, hunting, fishing, bicycling, snowmobiling, whitewater rafting, motorcycling, hiking, Hells Canyon boat tours, you name it.
Grant McOmie has published one of the most informative and well-written articles summarizing Base Camp Baker and the important role it plays in our local culture and economy. It’s definitely worth a read and it should get wider notice.
Baker City is famous for its outdoor recreation, thriving arts scene, beautiful historic buildings and traditional Western heritage. We probably take it for granted that Baker is a safe place but a recent study puts us at the top of all Oregon cities.
Safe Choice Security News earlier this month ranked Baker first on its list of the 12 safest cities in Oregon. The site analyzes FBI crime statistics to arrive at its conclusion, but it also considers other factors. According to Safe Choice Security News, “with a disaster preparedness plan, a Citizen on Patrol program and a dedicated police force, Baker City is the safest place to live in Oregon.” With a violent crime rate of 1 per 10,000 people last year, you are more likely to be injured skiing or hunting than you are to be robbed in Baker.
Not only is Baker the safest city in Oregon, it is safer than 90 percent of US cities. The second-place Oregon city, West Linn, is safer than 77 percent of US cities.
Agreed, most smaller towns tend to be safer. But it’s important to consider what such a low crime rate means for quality of life. It means people can enjoy a nice lunch or dinner on a sidewalk cafe downtown, or attend one of our many local festivals, and not have to worry about getting assaulted, or their car or home getting broken into while they have fun. It means residents and visitors can enjoy our campgrounds with safety. It means people can park overnight in an RV and not have to worry about it getting burglarlized. It means businesses can set up shop, confident their store will be secure. It means people are less guarded and suspicious and therefore more friendly and welcoming.
Low crime is an essential component of not only quality of life, but also of economic development. As Baker tries to attract more businesses, we should use our great reputation for safety as a selling point.
One of the nice things about being a Realtor in Baker City is coming into contact with historic commercial properties that have such amazing stories behind them. We are currently marketing a building at 1901 Main Street in Baker that has such a history, as well as a bright future.
This building is special for other reasons: It has served most recently as a local events center, hosting town hall meetings, dances, Baker Orchestra concerts, fundraisers, holiday celebrations, company parties, Eastern Oregon Theater productions, art shows and exhibits, weddings, parties and more.
Sigmund Heilner, a pioneer Jewish merchant in Oregon, constructed the building in 1874. An immigrant from Bavaria, Heilner commanded an expedition that supplied guns to volunteers fighting an Oregon Indian War in 1856. He was involved in insurance, mining, hides, grain, wool and established the first bank and telephone system in Baker. As his business kept growing, so did the building, which encompassed not only a hotel, but a brothel of great reputation. The building still shows where a basement corner entrance (now filled in) accommodated discrete gentlemen.
The Heilner building has always been at the center of action downtown, at the intersection of Main and Court streets. Every parade, festival and rally that happens in Baker, happens in front of this building. It is a superb location!
The current owner renovated the building in 2012, bringing it up to modern codes, refinishing the first level wood floors, updating its utilities and installing a new roof. The basement, first floor and second floors are each 5,000 square feet and there’s a beautiful mezzanine above the main floor. An architect who specializes in renovating historic buildings guided the work.
- The main floor has two public bathrooms, three walk-in sidewalk display windows, an office with a huge walk-in safe, a large catering/break room, a utility room an electric closet.
- The building has two public entrances from the sidewalk and one alley entrance.
- The mezzanine has two bathrooms, an office, a dressing room and a conference room and two stairways to the mezzanine.
- The basement has one bathroom, three storage rooms and a large main room, a maintenance/shop area and one stairwell to the main floor.
- The second floor is mostly unused and has not been renovated, but it is clean and in good shape. It is wired and plumbed and ready to be hooked up for something. The top floor entrance is reachable from an exterior stairway from the street.
- The catering/break room is not a commercial kitchen but could be converted to one. For now, caterers bring their food in and use the room for preparation and serving.
The Heilner Building has lots of exciting possibilities and is priced incredibly well at $245,000. While the building no longer has dwellings, the city will permit living spaces to be constructed so it could have lofts, a hotel or up to 10 bed and breakfast rooms, most of which would have views of the downtown and/or mountains. The roof could also accommodate a “roof garden” for events.
Realtors have a vested interest in the well-being of a community, both sociall and economically. A thriving town means more business, more jobs, more local investment and more development and buying/selling of real estate.
Below is a recent news article published in the Baker City Herald that shows the great involvement of the Baker County Board of Realtors in a local giving program. As a member of the board, we at Baker City Realty are proud to support these projects. They include capital investments, as well as events. See this page for a more complete list of charitable projects Baker City Realty also supports.
The Baker County Board of Realtors has announced the recipients of the Board’s 2013-2014 Community Giving Program. This program seeks local projects, families in need, or organizations to assist and give support.
Recipients of the program were: the Baker County Fair, Jean Main Benefit, Rhea Bunch BHS Rodeo Team Memorial, Dr. Jon Schott Honduras Medical Mission, Northeast Oregon Compassion Center, The Leo Adler Museum, CADA, YMCA, Geiser-Pollman Park Playground Improvement Project, and Baker High School Drug-Free Senior Party.
According to a press release, “The Board of Realtors is grateful for opportunities to serve our community in these meaningful ways.”
For more information on the Board’s Community Giving Program, contact the Baker County Hoard of Realtors, in care of Nelson Real Estate, 845 Campbell St., Baker City, call 541-523-6485, or ask a Baker County Realtor about the program.