If you take a drive through Oregon, you’ll probably notice a lot of places. Places like the Pioneer Place Mall in Portland, Crater Lake, The Mount Hood Skibowl and the Silver Falls State Park; but what about those tiny towns you pass through to get to those destinations? Towns like Hermiston, Helix, and Bonanza. When a couple students from some of these towns got interviewed, here is what they said about their towns and what growing up in them is like.
Shayla Miller, a senior student from Hermiston, was the first to be interviewed. When asked what her favorite thing about her town was and if she thought there was community spirit in her town, she answered,
“I would say my favorite thing is the fact that there is a happy medium between seeing new people every day and seeing people you've known for years. Lots of people know each other here, it’s like ‘it's a small world after all’ kind of thing every single day! We have a strong sense of community here, too, it's most obvious when lots of people gather at community events, like the Umatilla County Fair.”
When asked if her town would have left an impression on her life she said ‘of course’ and she loves where she lives.
Vitor Pedrosa is a junior BEC student from the tiny town of Helix, Oregon. He moved from Brazil to Helix when he was 8 years old. He mentioned that Helix has a completely different culture than his previous home. After asking what his favorite part of small town living was he answered, “I'd say the best thing about living out here is not having to deal with traffic. It's very peaceful out here.”
But even small peaceful towns have their cons. Vitor spoke about the costs of living in such small places, “From my experience, small towns lack everything from opportunities to education. Friendships are hard to build and rumors spread like a wildfire. It's a toxic culture.”
Still, he concluded his interview saying, “Helix has shaped me as a person for better and for worse, It taught me how to react to certain situations and it taught me to keep moving forward.”
9th grader Zachary Carson is from Bonanza, a small town in southern Oregon. When interviewed he mentioned his favorite things about Bonanza. “It’s small and everyone is nice, I can ride my bike just about everywhere I want; It’s really cool to live here and I feel free and safe. It’s also really easy to get a summer job.” He said that one of the major downfalls of small town living is having to drive almost 40 minutes just to get food. He also says that there’s not a lot of places to hang out with friends. Zachary thinks that living in Bonanza is enjoyable, especially being able to be in nature and look at the stars. To conclude the conversation Zachary stated; “There is a stronger community spirit. Everyone is very nice and we even have a greeting named the Bonanza wave since everyone is kind and nice.”
There are always cons to the city or town that you live in but everyone who has lived in a small town can agree that life is very peaceful. Knowing everyone creates a safer environment for children and teens, and ‘community’ can take a whole new meaning in places like these. If you blink while going through these small towns, you may just miss the opportunity to watch the interaction, spirit, and ambition every single member of that drive through town has. Next time you pass through, who knows? You may just want to make it your destination.