This year, Orofino Celebrations Incorporated (OCI) have selected Paul and Lee Pippenger as Grand Marshals for the 2019 Clearwater Fair and Lumberjack Days.
Long live the legacy of the Pippenger family in Orofino! We may not immediately associate the Pippenger name with logging, or realize a coin toss between Paul’s father, Wayne Pippenger and his brother-in–law, Louis Porter determined who would log and who would start a new business.
Many still remember Wayne and Iva Lee Pippenger who founded and operated the Glenwood IGA when it was on the corner lot at Bartlett and Michigan avenues across from the corner where the elementary school is now. Years later Paul would construct the building on the adjacent cormer we know as Orofino Marketplace today.
Paul shared he was in his third year at the University of Idaho when his father called and asked if he would come home to help run the grocery business. “Dad eventually retired and I bought him out making monthly payments. I regularly sought his advice and it always came back to helping the community.
“Dad was active in supporting the town and the chamber. He was instrumental in improving the road from here to Pierce. He was raised to believe in doing whatever he could to help his community.”
Wayne and Iva Lee Pippenger were involved in every competition and fundraiser imaginable. “I’ve always wanted to do as Dad did,” admitted Paul. “He cared a lot for this little town.
“For me, it was in the faces of the people who have been here through good times and bad. We admire all the families who have persevered, those who have been there to help their neighbors in time of need. It’s a hard way to make a living.
“There was a lot of red tape regarding the controversy of logging, but the town has rolled with the punches to carry on. Those who remain in the business aren’t necessarily rolling in the profits, but they have done what was necessary to grow with the times and continue to provide jobs for others.
“We’ve tried to bring things to the City of Orofino needed by the community, like housing, for example.” said Paul. “We’ve been trying to clean up older houses, we have quite a few rentals. They have all been updated with new siding and windows, new heating/air conditioning, LED lighting and appliances. We’ve kept some of the same original features when we could; it’s created jobs and has helped to keep this little town going.
“We have 110 employees, including a full carpentry crew. They’re an amazing group and do a wonderful job. We have the Lodge, the Loft, rentals and apartments. We’re also deeply committed to Brookside Landing, which we built and own with several other local families. We all hold the same goal of helping our seniors stay close to family and friends with the very best care possible.
“We love this little town and as long as I’m around, l’ll continue to support every cause I can,” added Paul. “Every little bit helps. It’s the generosity of everyone that makes this little community work.”
“The town is in my blood,” said Paul, “I couldn’t leave it for anything.”
Saturday of Orofino Lumberjack Days and the Clearwater County Fair is one of my favorites! Watch for Paul and Lee in Saturday’s Big OCI Parade to begin at 10 a.m. right after the Orofino Volunteer Fireman’s Breakfast, served from 6 to 9 a.m. in the Community Center Building, just downstairs of the Pizza Factory.
Following the parade is the OCI Auction at 12:30 in the park arena and the 4-H Livestock Auction in the barn at 3 p.m.
A little later in the day, catch the Truck Driving contest at the DEBCO storage yard area at 4 p.m. Just be back to the arena area in the city park for the Horse Pulling Contest and live music at 6:30 p.m.
Join friends, family, and neighbors for “Boots, Jeans, and Clearwater Dreams” at this year’s Clearwater county Fair and 72nd Orofino Lumberjack Days!