Time to call it a career

By Kelly Ducote, Wescom News Service July 09, 2014 08:57 am

Jason Yohannan, a regional economist with the Oregon Employment Department, is retiring after 30 years with the agency and 25 years in the La Grande office.
Jason Yohannan, a regional economist with the Oregon Employment Department, is retiring after 30 years with the agency and 25 years in the La Grande office.

Regional economist set to retire this month after 30 years 

La Grande’s office of the Oregon Employment Department will soon lose its seasoned regional economist.

Jason Yohannan is set to retire this month after 30 years with the agency and more than 25 at the La Grande office.

In 1984, shortly after graduating from college, Yohannan took a job with the department’s headquarters in Salem. Four years later, he was moving to Northeast Oregon.

“It was a promotion for me,” Yohannan said. “Being a young, eager worker I wanted the promotion, so I applied and got it.”

He says he had only been to La Grande once before, but the risk had a positive result.

“The job was a good fit for me, so I stuck around,” he said.

Since he arrived in La Grande he has been central to putting out a quarterly newsletter detailing the region’s employment data on top of his other duties.

“The job’s been good. It keeps me busy, it’s kind of demanding at times,” Yohannan said.

Times, though, have definitely changed.

“When I first started 30 years ago, there was no Internet. We didn’t have personal computers,” he said.

Still, the community has stayed the same in a lot of ways.

“Natural resources are still important,” he said.

With kids at Eastern Oregon University and La Grande High School, Yohannan won’t be leaving the area anytime soon but is planning on slowing down to enjoy the little things.

“I like the slower pace of life. It’s a great community,” he said. “Life is short. If you can take the time to dial back, smell the roses, to use a cliche, that’s a good thing.”

For the full story, see Wednesday's issue of The Observer