By Gary Fletcher
ENTERPRISE How did an award winning brewer end up in Enterprise?
Steve Carper was born and raised in the Los Angeles area.
He met Debra Duquette through mutual friends in Scappoose, and the two were married.
Steve had attended Humbolt State University, and Debra earned a teaching degree at Portland State University. She is a French teacher, but in Enterprise this graceful ballerina teaches dance.
Steve and Debra wanted to get out of Portland to raise their family. "We really evaluated places to live," Steve said.
Then they went camping in Wallowa County. That settled it. They moved here in the spring of 1996.
The "Little Switzerland of America" appealed to Steve, an accomplished mountaineer. He'd started at a young age backpacking with his father.
By age 14 he was rock climbing in earnest. Yosemite National Park became his playground.
It's the Water
In 1997 Steve and his partners started Terminal Gravity brewery and pub.
They picked the brewery's location on the east fringe of Enterprise because of the water quality from the artesian springs of Hurricane Creek.
Steve designed and built the brewery's tanks, and developed the recipes.
In 1998 Terminal Gravity's IPA was named the beer of the year by The Oregonian.
"TG" (as it's affectionately called) has developed a loyal following, even outside the area.
Its popularity has spread by word of mouth. It's not unusual for a first-time visitor's first question to be "How do I get to TG?"
Steve did not start out being a brewer. At the time he and Debra married, he was in the upholstery business. But he wanted to change careers.
He was interested in the micro-brewing industry. He started at home, brewing and studying.
"I was basically laughed at when I asked for a brewer's job at Bridgeport Brewing in Portland," he said.
However, with his construction background, he started as an apprentice in becoming a brewing engineer for maintenance and expansion.
"Being an engineer is a big advantage, because you're trained in the subtleties of the equipment, and know how it can change the quality of the beer," he said.
Steve did the commissioning brews the first ones; the trickiest ones, he said.
Now TG produces 4,700 kegs annually. It's the eighth-largest brewery in Oregon, and is number one in production and sales among micro-breweries of comparable size, he said.
The business continues to do well in this ideal setting. However, along the way Steve and his loved ones experienced a family's worst nightmare.
People still bring cookies and flowers on May 29. That date, four years ago, will always be remembered by Steve and his family.
May 29 was Memorial Day in 2000. It was the second day of a family rafting trip on the Imnaha River.
It was almost over. As the family approached the Cow Creek bridge, the take out point, there was a down tree across the river.
The raft hit it, and everyone was flushed out except for 8-year-old Logan. She was pinned under the raft.
Her father suffered foot and leg injuries while retrieving her.
Steve performed CPR until medical help was reached.
From Wallowa Memorial Hospital in Enterprise, Logan was flown to a Portland hospital, but she did not survive.
Two other people now have sight thanks to Logan's corneas, Debra said.
"We felt that the community grieved with us," Debra said. "Logan was a pretty exceptional girl. She touched a lot of lives."
Her classmates planted a tree at Enterprise School. The inscription at its base says, "For Our Friend Logan Class of 2009." Some of them leave notes and mementos at her grave.
"There was an overwhelming outpouring from the community," Debra said. "Lots of good people helped us with our struggle." People brought food and mowed their lawn, she said.
Someone Debra barely knew at the time cleaned their house and set up a donation account.
Someone organized an auction, someone else a rummage sale to help pay the huge medical bills. They had no health insurance.
Each May 29th since then, the family makes a pilgrimage up a particular peak of the Wallowa Mountains, one that's become special to them. Unnamed on the map, it's called Hurricane Point by some. Logan's family lives on Alder Slope at the base of it. They call it Cerro Logan.
"Cerro" means mountain in South America, where Steve has scaled peaks.
Two years ago, he ascended Cerro Aconcogua. At nearly 23,000 feet elevation, it is the highest peak outside the Himalayas.
After the family's May 29 climb of Cerro Logan this year, Steve was off to Bolivia to traverse the 21,125-foot Cerro Illimani.
Steve points out that there is a Logan Peak in Washington, and a Mount Logan in Canada.
Mount Logan is reputed to be a challenge. It would be his ultimate climbing goal, Steve said.
Logan's grandmother has applied to the state of Oregon to have the local peak officially named Cerro Logan. It will be at least a year before any action would be taken, Debra said, adding that if anyone is opposed to the name they will not pursue the application.
Logan is buried at the Alder Slope Cemetery, from where Cerro Logan is prominent.