Eastern Oregon is easily accessible by road, rail and air. I-84 runs through Eastern Oregon, connecting our region to Boise, Portland, and Salt Lake. Additionally, regional Highways 30, 26, and 86 make the drive throughout Eastern Oregon easy and convenient.
For rail transportation, businesses can utilize the popular Union Pacific Railroad.
The Grant County Regional Airport is a public use airport that has a helibase and training center which is ideal for businesses commuters looking for a short flight to nearby communities, including Boise.
The Baker City Municipal Airport is also open to the public and an excellent airport for small private aircraft.
The La Grande/Union County Airport has five employees working year round, with all of them certified as Phillips66/World Fuel/NATA Professional Line Service aircraft fuel handlers. The airport was designed to hold commercial aircraft and ideal for local business use.
The Burns Municipal Airport in Harney County is a Level 3 industrial zoned general aviation airport. The airport has around 3,600 itinerant operations and 1,500 local air operations annually. They also have a body and repair shop onsite.
Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative (OTEC) is one of Oregon's largest distribution cooperatives. Headquartered in Baker City, Oregon, with district offices in La Grande, John Day, and Burns, OTEC serves approximately 31,000 meters in Baker, Grant, Harney and Union counties with a network of overhead and underground lines approximately 3,000 miles long. OTEC's distribution system represents an investment of more than $153 million.
Can you really start an electric cooperative with seven hundred pennies? That's what three Baker City residents did in 1987. At the time, this part of northeastern Oregon was served by an investor-owned utility, CP National Corporation. This multi-state conglomerate was looking to unload its dilapidated system and to get out of the not-so-lucrative rural electric utility business. When several attempted purchases failed, Dick Haynes along with Peggi and Glenn Timm brought forward the notion of forming a cooperative to own and operate the utility locally. Thus in 1987, Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative was born.
To demonstrate community support for the cooperative, the trio collected a penny from each of 700 citizens and secured a $33 million loan from the Cooperative Finance Corporation. A year later, the citizens of Baker, Grant, Harney and Union counties began operation of OTEC - one of the largest electric cooperatives in Oregon. Foremost among the challenges facing the fledgling cooperative was the need to upgrade a rundown electrical system long overdue for an overhaul. As poles and wires were replaced and substations rebuilt, local residents began to enjoy a service level previously unknown in this part of the state.
Today, system upgrading continues and district offices have been established in Burns, John Day and La Grande in addition to the Baker City Headquarters. The utility now serves approximately 31,000 meters and operates a state-of-the-art distribution system representing an investment of over $146 million. OTEC is a living tribute to three community leaders with a dream and 700 pennies.