Frank Yraguen: A Local Perspective
Frank Yraguen was born in Ontario, Oregon and graduated from Vale Union High School in 1958. After completing his undergraduate degree at Oregon State University, spending a few years in the Marine Corps including a Vietnam tour, a short stint as a teacher and then attending law school at Willamette University, Yraguen returned to Malheur County as the appointed District Attorney. He has served as a judge in Malheur and Harney Counties since 1976. “I love the people in this region,” he says. “They are very friendly and neighbor-oriented. The landscape keeps me here too—you can find a bit of everything in Eastern Oregon.”
Your Might Like to…
1. Visit historic Vale, Oregon
Frank’s hometown Vale has a rich Oregon Trail history. Emigrants crossed the Malheur River here, and visitors today can seek out sightings of the ruts. Historic outdoor murals depicting the region’s history are found all around town. The Stone House Museum displays Oregon Trail history and artifacts, in a stone house built on the trail in 1872. Gold mining equipment and Native American artifacts are found at this museum too. “Take a walking tour of the town and revel in history.”
2. Spend a day at the Four Rivers Cultural Center
The Treasure River Valley area around Ontario was born around agriculture and a diverse population of residents. The Four Rivers Cultural Center celebrates the four rivers that sustain the region and farming, as well as the many cultures that have cast influence, including the Northern Paiutes, Basque, Japanese, Hispanic and Anglo-American immigrants.
3. Visit the Owyhee Dam and Reservoir
The largest dam built in its era, the Owyhee Dam forms the Owyhee Reservoir and Lake Owyhee State Park. Colorful volcanic formations dot the 53-mile-long lake, which is a draw to anglers seeking warm water catches like catfish, bass and crappie. Two campgrounds and a day use area make it easy to enjoy this beautiful destination on the far-eastern border of Oregon, south of the small town of Nyssa.
Invested in Community
As a longtime Eastern Oregonian born to a Basque father and an English and Scottish mother, Frank Yraguen is well versed in the diversity and community cultural resources of the region. He and his wife of 56 years, Patty, volunteer for many cultural and community organizations including the Vale Stone House, the Vale Heritage Reflections Mural Society, the Basque Club of Ontario, and the local courts conducting legal mediations. “What I love best about Eastern Oregon is its people—hard-working; down-to-earth; salt-of-the-earth people—folks who go out of their way to know one another and be good neighbors to one another and help those in need,” he says.