In the upcoming weeks, La Grande Main Street will take you behind the scenes and introduce you to the folks that make us who we are—the Board, the Committees, the volunteers, and the staff. Each week, we will feature one of the many individuals who contribute so much to La Grande Main Street, ultimately making La Grande a vibrant, stable, beautiful place to gather, shop, eat, work, live, and play.
This week, we will start off with the President of our Board of Directors, Mary Ann Miesner.
If you have spent any time around La Grande, you have probably heard of Mary Ann Miesner. She has been an active booster and contributor to our community in many and varied roles since she landed here in the 1970s.
Having served on our Board since 2009, Mary Ann is currently the Board’s new President. Over the years, she has spent countless hours working with groups of enthusiastic volunteers on different projects including Safe Trick or Treat for Halloween, the Holiday Parade, Eastern Oregon Beer Festival, Crazy Days, and flower baskets, just to name a few.
In her capacity as Board President, Mary Ann looks forward to continuing to contribute to La Grande’s growth and success. She is a semi-retired computer instructor for the Training & Employment Consortium, and brings multiple skill sets to her role with La Grande Main Street.
Throughout her years of community involvement and service, Mary Ann has received many accolades, the latest of which is the Leadership on Main Award from Oregon Main Street’s “Excellence on Main” awards given out at the annual Main Street conference in October of 2022.
Mary Ann also is a member of the La Grande City Council, Position 4. In addition to serving her community, she loves gathering with her family, reading mysteries, and keeping the Timber Cruisers classic car club organized.
John J. Howard began thinking about founding a Real Estate Company in 2005 after being a Realtor since 1991, as well as being a county commissioner. In 2007, despite the county being on the brink of the Great Recession and the market on a downward trend, John decided it was time to act. At that time, downtown was not in the best condition for a start-up company, but John carried on, converting the old beauty college space into a top-drawer Real Estate office.
The mission from the inception of John J. Howard and Associates Real Estate has been to provide the best professional Real Estate services possible. Real Estate done right requires a large amount of one-to-one communications between buyers and sellers, and this is the lodestar guiding their mission. This involves coordinating the transaction management from acceptance of the buyer’s offer until closing and even beyond if there are problems afterwards.
John J. Howard and Associates Real Estate provides comprehensive professional Real Estate services for all of Eastern Oregon. They also offer residential and commercial rental services. They pride themselves on staying in contact with their clients and providing them with quality services throughout the entire buying, selling, or renting process.
Looking into the future, John J. Howard and Associates’ goals are to continue to provide the best and most comprehensive customer services that they can, along with being a strong community partner. John and his Realtors and staff pride themselves on working to make La Grande a place that people can be proud of being a part of while also encouraging people to be involved in their communities. Toward that end, as well as being a Partner of LGMSD, they have sponsored the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop and the placement of holiday wreaths down Adams Avenue.
With their dedication to professionalism and community involvement, John J. Howard and Associates Real Estate will continue to make Downtown La Grande and the surrounding region a vibrant, stable, and beautiful place. They are committed to this for the long term, stating “The community is what you put into it and we aim to stay engaged in our community for the benefit of all….if you build it, they will come.”
Eastern Oregon University, designated as Oregon’s Rural University in 2018, serves a vital role as an educational, cultural, and economic nexus for Eastern Oregon and other rural areas throughout Oregon.
Founded in 1929 as Eastern Oregon Normal School, EON had over 200 men and women enrolled in the two-year certificate program in teacher education. In 1932, EON was fully accredited as a teacher training program. The Oregon Legislature changed the name to Eastern Oregon College of Education in 1939. In 1956, the words “of Education” were dropped and in 1973, the Oregon Legislature changed EOC’s name to Eastern Oregon State College. Finally, in 1997, EOSC became Eastern Oregon University.
Throughout this time, Eastern Oregon University has evolved into a well-rounded institution offering the opportunity to learn in a small classroom setting. With four colleges, students can choose from more than 30 academic programs, including sciences, humanities, teaching and business with undergraduate and graduate degrees awarded.
Eastern Oregon University’s stated values revolve around altruism, civility, discovery, integrity, interdependence, and quality. These values enhance their mission of guiding student inquiry through integrated, high-quality liberal arts and professional programs that lead to responsible and reflective action in a diverse and interconnected world. In addition, Eastern Oregon University, as an educational, cultural, and scholarly center, connects the rural regions of Oregon to the wider world through partnerships with colleges, universities, agencies, and communities.
The goals of Eastern Oregon University are put forth in the “Strategic Framework: The Ascent 2029.” This includes six goals with two or three objectives for each, which are pathways toward achieving those goals. EOU’s goals are: (1) Student Success, (2) Transformational Education, (3) Grow the Number of Lives Impacted, (4) A Thriving University Community, (5) Relevance and Interconnection, and (6) Financial Sustainability. For a more in-depth discussion of Eastern Oregon’s goals and the individual objectives, please check out: https://www.eou.edu/about/mission. You will also find EOU’s “Statement on Freedom of Expression,” which was developed through collaboration with the University Faculty Senate, the University Council, and the Associated Students of Eastern Oregon University (ASEOU).
As Oregon’s Rural University, Eastern Oregon University combines a beautiful setting and a small size with far-reaching academic and professional connections for a truly well-rounded and inclusive educational experience, as well as serving as an educational, economic, and cultural touchstone for La Grande and Northeast Oregon.
Engage the community to create a welcoming and economically diverse downtown rooted in