Northeast Oregon woman on unique search

By Mac McLean, WesCom News Service March 24, 2014 10:47 am

Enterprise woman trying to find couple who launched balloons

If Steve and Donna are still wondering where their balloons went, they should call Rosemary Howerton, and fast.

Howerton has been looking for this pair since she found the balloons they launched from Sunriver Resort almost 30 years ago, and she is about to throw in the towel. 

“This is my last attempt,” Howerton said in a note she emailed to The Bend Bulletin last week when she tried to place an ad seeking the two balloon launchers. “I thought I would just try one last time (to find them) before I threw it all away.”

Howerton’s story starts about 27 or 28 years ago — she’s not exactly sure when it was — when she found a bunch of balloons inside a window well at a house she and her husband shared 27 miles north of Enterprise, on U.S. Highway 3.

Howerton said this was a curious find because the house was surrounded by dense timberland on all sides and she was surprised the balloons did not get stuck in one of those trees. The balloons also piqued her interest because they were attached to a bunch of ribbons and a note written on Sunriver Resort stationery that read “w(h)ere did these balloons end up? we would like to know.”

The note was signed by Steve and Donna but included no last names or ages for the two balloon launchers. It also had an address that was about 7 miles south of the resort on Hunting or Huntington Road and a phone number that has since been disconnected.

“I don’t know if they were celebrating a birthday or what,” said Howerton, who was so consumed by her curiosity that she held on to the balloons long after she made her first attempt to reach Steve and Donna nearly 30 years ago.

“If I set off a bunch of balloons,” she continued, “I would be very interested to know where it landed.”

But Howerton’s curiosity does know some limits.

After her first attempt to track down Steve and Donna failed, Howerton said she put the balloons and the note inside a drawer at her Enterprise home — which is part of a state highway maintenance complex in the state’s northeast corner — and forgot about them until she and her husband moved to North Powder when he retired from the Oregon Department of Transportation about eight years ago.

She’s just now making her final attempt to find Steve and Donna and unfortunately it seems the trail has gone cold.

The two people who own the Huntington Road home the balloon launchers (possibly) listed as their address said they don’t know a Steve and Donna and that they’ve lived in that house since 1998.

The building’s previous owner could not be reached for comment. The last known address on file at the Deschutes County Assessor’s office is a post office box at the Sunriver Post Office that’s been closed for three or four years.