- Associated Press - Sunday, January 15, 2017

PENDLETON, Ore. (AP) - Family gatherings at the Primmer house now include two city councilors.

Dale Primmer, 44, was sworn into the Pendleton City Council a week ago while Doug Primmer, 53, was recently sworn in for his second term on the Hermiston City Council.

They may be each be known as Councilor Primmer in their respective communities, but their parents still like to reminisce about the days of their sons’ youthful hijinks, reported the East Oregonian (https://bit.ly/2jvYL9U).

“It was wild around our dinner table with four boys,” their mother Donna recalled.

Not too wild, their father Dewey added - the four Primmer brothers and their younger sister never gave him trouble with drugs or “anything like that.” But in 1977 when the family moved to Hermiston the fields surrounding their house provided a childhood paradise of pheasant hunting and building a motorbike track.

“Every weekend we’d jump in the Blazer and off we’d go,” Dewey said. “It was fish, fish, fish and every fall it was hunt, hunt, hunt.”

Doug was the oldest. Dale was the youngest of the boys, so Doug said Dale “got hung upside-down by the ankles a lot” when he came around to annoy his older brothers and their friends. Whenever they broke a light bulb in the basement playing pool (Dewey correctly guessed that investing in a pool table would keep his children and their friends safely within earshot more often) the older boys would send Dale on his bike to fetch another one before Mom and Dad got home.

“Let’s just say we had a running tab at the hardware store,” Doug said.

Family dinner around the dining room table was a must each night, and Dale said all of the Primmer kids held down jobs during their teenage years.

“We did sports until high school and then cars and girls came along, and they’re expensive,” Dale said.

Doug eventually moved on to a career in corrections, while Dale headed to Western Oregon University to become the first Primmer to graduate from college. His graduation was attended by the entire family, including siblings who flew in from out of state as a surprise.

Lots of people can’t wait to get out of their hometown, Dale said, but he and Doug never had that burning desire to leave Eastern Oregon. Even when Doug had to spend a year and three days (not that he was counting) in Pendleton for work, he returned to Hermiston as soon as he was able.

“He couldn’t figure out the one-way streets,” Dale joked.

“It just wasn’t home,” Doug countered.

Dale, however, did stay in Pendleton after work first brought him there. He said it was strange, once he had kids in sports, to suddenly realize he was rooting for the Bucks after a lifetime as a Bulldog. But somewhere along the way Pendleton became home.

That doesn’t stop the rest of the family from playing up the Pendleton-Hermiston rivalry.

“I tell him all the time, ‘I can’t believe you’re raising Buckaroos,’” said Donna, who graduated from Hermiston herself.

Doug became a Hermiston city councilor more than four years ago after being frustrated with the controversies with the police department that were then enveloping the city.

“I saw a bumper sticker that said ‘The world is run by those who show up,’ and it just clicked with me,” he said.

When people started suggesting a few months ago that Dale run for one of Pendleton’s open seats, it was only natural that he ask his brother for advice on whether he should indeed run.

“One of the things I told him is ‘I’d love to tell you not to run,’” Doug said, noting the amount of time and energy the position takes. “But I can’t think of anyone better.”

He told his brother to make sure he felt he had the time to devote to being on the council, but also told him about how rewarding it is to see a project through that makes community better.

Dale said that if only one seat had been open, he probably would have left it to someone else. But it was exciting to think about the opportunity to help the city change course with a new mayor and four new councilors. He also saw it as a next step in serving the community.

“Simply complaining takes no talent,” he said.

On Jan. 3, when Dale took his seat on the Pendleton City Council, Doug was there watching. It proved to be an eventful meeting - Dale got “sworn in and sworn at,” as he put it. He said he appreciated the opportunity afterward to get his older brother’s perspective on the difficult decision the council made to start levying nuisance fines on the owners of the former city hall building that was damaged in a 2015 explosion.

Mirroring the relationship between most brothers, the relationship between the cities of Pendleton and Hermiston has historically been a mix of rivalry and partnership. The Primmers said they will both work in the best interests of their cities, but they will also have plenty of opportunities to share ideas over texts and family get-togethers in the home they grew up in. They hope their personal relationship will be an asset to the two communities.

“I think there’s times to work together, and times to compete,” Dale said.


Information from: East Oregonian, https://www.eastoregonian.com

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