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About Hermiston herald. (Hermiston, Or.) 1994-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 2, 2019)
A6 • HERMISTONHERALD.COM
WEDNESDAy, JANuARy 2, 2019
OUR NEW NEIGHBORS
New 11th Street Market owners find community in customers
By JAYATI RAMAKRISHNAN
Brandt Koo has lived all
around the world, but he said
coming to Hermiston has
made him realize one key
“People around the world
are kind of just ... people,” he
said. “Everyone thinks it’s
better somewhere else. I’ve
heard the same thing every-
where I’ve lived — there’s
nothing to do at night. They
say that in small towns, and
But the southern Califor-
nia native has been happy
with his move to Hermiston
so far. He moved to the area
in March with his family,
to assume ownership of the
11th Street Market. Though
they’ve maintained most of
the store’s products and ser-
vices, they’ve expanded the
food options and now have
a full kitchen, where they
make deli items as well as
He’s noticed that unlike
many convenience stores,
customers tend to use theirs
more like a community
“It’s nice running a store
— you get to meet every-
one,” he said. “We’re kind
of a hybrid here. Usually in
larger places, convenience
stores get a lot of traffic.
Here, 80 percent of our cus-
tomers are the same people,
He attributed that to the
location of the store, not on
the main road but tucked
back on the edge of town.
Koo’s wife, Michelle
Quincena, and their chil-
dren, Kyle, 6, and Christo-
pher, 3, have adjusted well
to Hermiston. Kyle is in first
grade at Rocky Heights, and
Christopher is in preschool.
Michelle and Koo’s parents,
who are visiting, help out in
the kitchen of the store.
Though the first year of
running a store doesn’t allow
for much free time or travel,
Koo said they enjoy taking
their children to the local
“It’s more pedestri-
an-friendly than the coast,”
he said. “My parents walk up
the Butte every day.”
Though many people in
his family, and his wife’s,
have operated convenience
stores, it was one job Koo
had never done. Instead, he’d
spent years traveling and
working in different fields.
Most recently, he lived in
Newport and owned a com-
mercial fishing boat, harvest-
ing hagfish. That industry has
a lot of ups and downs, he
said, and it’s hard to succeed.
“We heard about the mar-
ket for sale out here through
family friends,” he said.
After coming to Hermiston
to check out the community,
they decided they could raise
their family here, and moved
to the area.
But Koo’s life and career
has spanned several indus-
tries and continents.
He ran a clothing fac-
tory in Ecuador, and lived in
Mexico for about a year. He
Staff photo by E.J. Harris
Brandt Koo and his wife, Michelle Quincena, moved from Newport to Hermiston recently and have bought and run the 11th Street Market.
Rural care draws Good Shepherd midwife to Hermiston
By JADE MCDOWELL
Catherine O’Brien knew from
the time she was in elementary
school that she wanted to help
deliver babies when she grew up.
“There was no second choice,”
The midwife, who started work
at Good Shepherd Women’s Cen-
ter on Nov. 1, got a running start
on her career when she started
nursing school at age 17. She went
on to earn a Master of Science in
Nurse-Midwifery and a Doctor of
O’Brien had been working in
Spokane, Washington but was
looking for a more rural setting
to practice in when she saw the
opening at Good Shepherd. The
women’s center had brought on its
first midwife only a few months
She said early in her more than
30-year career she worked at large
hospitals in San Antonio, and was
shocked when she moved on to a
much more rural area and realized
how many resources were simply
not available to patients there. She
said she loved providing services
to women who would not other-
wise have access to a midwife.
“I said, ‘I can’t go back to a big
city. They don’t need me there,’”
she said. “They have everything
because everyone wants to work
She eventually made her way
studied business in France,
taught in South Korea, and
then went to the Philippines.
There, he met his wife, and
their first son was born. Koo
is of Korean descent. He and
his wife talk to their children
about their heritage.
Contributed photo by GSHCS/East Oregonian
Catherine O’Brien moved to Hermiston in 2018 to work as a midwife for
Good Shepherd Women’s Center.
to Spokane, but didn’t feel it was
rural enough. She didn’t want
to uproot her twins — currently
sophomores in high school — so
her husband is staying with them
while she lives in Hermiston and
visits on days off.
“Luckily I have a car with good
gas mileage,” she said.
At work, O’Brien cares for
women through the stages of fam-
“Kyle, what are you?” He
asked his son, who was sit-
ting on his lap and watching
“Half Korean, half Fil-
ipino, and fully percent
American,” the six-year old
ily planning, pregnancy, labor
and postpartum care. She said she
works to understand their needs
and wants concerning their birth
plan, and provides education and
emotional support. Everyone’s
idea of a “perfect” birth is differ-
ent, she said.
“I don’t force anything on
them,” she said. “I’m basically
listening to their concerns. Nine
He said for him and his
family, Hermiston is the
ideal size, with the amenities
of a larger city but the pace
of a smaller one.
“I’ve lived in metropo-
lises, with hundreds of miles
of paved roads,” he said.
times out of 10, they’re going to
steer you in the right direction.”
She said most pregnant women
have a lot of questions and con-
cerns about what is best for the
pregnancy, and it’s important
they discuss those with providers
during their appointments.
“People get lots of well-inten-
tioned but crappy advice from
family members and the internet,”
Women will come in falsely
believing they can’t eat cer-
tain foods, she said, or that they
can’t take any medications at all
while pregnant. A midwife can
help patients sort out exactly
what is considered safe or unsafe
for the baby and mother during a
Patients at Good Shepherd
Women’s Center are encouraged
to have appointments with all pro-
viders during pregnancy, so that
they will be familiar with whoever
is on call when they go into labor.
Other practitioners include Dr.
Diana Edenfield, Dr. Leila Kee-
ler, Dr. Allison Khavkin, Angie
Hays, ARNP, and Kelli Stephen-
O’Brien said so far in the two
months she has worked there,
she is highly impressed with how
well-run the clinic is and how sup-
portive the staff are to patients and
“I’m very recent, but I’ve been
here long enough to know that I
love it,” she said.
“And it all kind of looks the
same. I’ve lived in really
small towns — Neah Bay,
Those places were a bit
too small, he said, especially
lacking in their ability to
draw young people.
But he said there have
been similarities in every
place he’s lived.
“I had to travel around the
world to learn that essential
fact,” he said. “If you just
want to live a nice life, you
can do it anywhere.”
Regift or refund: What to do with the present that just isn’t right?
By JADE MCDOWELL
Everyone has had the experi-
ence at least once in their lives:
They unwrap a gift with antic-
ipation, only to feel a sense of
The gift might have been given
with good intentions, but it doesn’t
fit right. Or you already have one.
Or it’s just plain hideous.
Local thrift stores hope people
donate their unwanted gifts.
Some people would rather hang
onto the gift, even if it isn’t some-
thing they would have purchased
for themselves. Tera Kelhanek of
Hermiston wrote on Facebook that
she might exchange a clothing item
for a different size, but exchanging
a gift for money or regifting it to
someone else was disrespectful to
“I keep it and use it,” she said.
“When someone gives me a gift,
they are thinking about me.”
Shelly Parmelee of Umatilla said
she has sometimes given away gifts
she has received, such as clothing a
certain relative used to send her that
didn’t fit her preferred style.
“I have received gifts from
family members, something that
I really didn’t like or care for too
much,” she said. “However, they
had a special reason for giving it to
me, and that is what made it special
to me. And so I kept those because
it is a memory of that person now
that they’re gone.”
She said people should appreci-
ate gifts given to them out of love,
but they also have a responsibil-
ity to pick out thoughtful gifts the
receiver would likely appreciate.
“I don’t buy stuff just to buy
stuff,” she said.
Krista Lynn of Hermiston wrote
that it’s not uncommon for her to
get a gift that’s not quite what she’s
looking for. But she said that’s not
surprising considering she usually
doesn’t spell out for people exactly
what she wants for Christmas. If
it’s something she really doesn’t
think she will ever use, she said she
thanks the person for their kindness
and then finds someone else who
would be happy to use the item.
Others said they don’t hesitate
to return a gift to the store or regift
it to someone else if it isn’t some-
thing they can or want to use.