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Patty Dorroh, Harney County Commissioner

Harney County became Patty's home in 2002 after a lifetime of military moves. She's from North Carolina but had moved around a great deal due to her dad’s military transfers. Following college, Patty herself served in the military as a Marine and married her husband Jeff; Jeff grew up in Eastern Oregon and had fond memories of the time he spent in Harney County as a kid. Ranching and farming were not part of Patty's life before Harney County but she and Jeff are 18 years into it and are thankful they raised their daughters in Harney County and live a productive, agricultural lifestyle.

While Jeff built the ranching business Patty worked 'in town' in the social services arena with the Harney County Commission on Children and Families, the Early Childhood Center, and DHS Child Welfare. "The collaboration involving families, volunteers, staff and community partners is the teamwork basis for social work. When we did the planning, applied for, and implemented our Drug Free Communities work, we brought together twelve diverse sectors of the community to make it happen."

In addition to this work Patty became a Harney County Commissioner in 2017. "It’s an action-packed job with multiple roles. It’s hard to describe a typical day; suffice to say that I make it a point to keep up with emails, calls, texts, and work from my home office as often as needed. Collaboration is key. There are many statutory governance matters that come before us on a regular basis, such as budget, land use, economic development, policies, contracts, public health, mental health, county road matters, and more. But that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. Far more of our duties take place with all the work that goes on outside those meetings, when you research, reach out to colleagues and partners, draft letters and testimony, and convene and collaborate around issues. Working with state legislators to represent our frontier rural needs and perspectives is an ongoing responsibility."

"I have found the most important work involves addressing our “areas of county concern.” There are planned things you take on, which in my case have included public safety, veterans' issues, and workforce housing. Then the unexpected happens, such as the county budget crisis, which required total focus for many months. COVID came along and there were not enough hours in the day to address the public health, public safety, and business concerns. Collaboration, coordination, creativity, and advocacy were our constant roles during the pandemic."

Patty has also participated in the Harney County Forest Restoration Collaborative since 2017, and recently started attending the Harney County Wildfire Collaborative meetings. She is also involved with the Community Based Water Planning and the Blues (Blue Mountain Forest) Intergovernmental Council.

For Patty, time away from work is spent on her ranch and with family. "There are always things to do on the ranch and on the home front, so that fills in a lot of my time when not doing commissioner work. Like so many, I really enjoy the community events that Harney County has to offer. But honestly, on weekends and after work, I also really like to stay home, spend time with my husband, and read a good book."