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Gov. Brown's east-west romance

Gov. Kate Brown has been using the story of her romance with Dan Little to illustrate her knowledge of Eastern Oregon issues.

GOV. KATE BROWN'S FLICKR PAGE - Gov. Kate Brown, center, and husband, Dan Little, rightGov. Kate Brown has been using her long-distance romance with her now husband, Dan Little, to illustrate her link with Eastern Oregon.

She told the story during a luncheon in Pendleton Sept. 15. She repeated the story at the Oregon Leadership Summit Monday, Dec. 4, before answering a question about what policies would enable Eastern Oregon to share in the state's economic prosperity.

"Dan and I started dating when he was working for the Wallowa-Whitman (National Forest) in Enterprise, Oregon," Brown said. "I know most people end up living together and then get married, but we did the opposite. We commuted for a year and then we got married…"

The couple tied the knot at the Wallowa Lake Roller Skating Lodge, a fact which elicited laughter from the more than 1,200 attendees at the 15th annual leadership conference.

"After a year of traveling back and forth, we ended up moving to Portland," she said. "For me, it taught me a lot about rural values and getting a sense of rural Oregon's perspective."

Brown said there's still an "urban-rural divide in my household right now."

Her stepdaughter lives in inner Southeast Portland, and her stepson lives in Prineville.

"He works in Crescent, and he's paying $12 a night to enjoy what I am very sure is the luxurious comfort of a bunkhouse … so I want to make sure that we have communities that thrive throughout the entire state of Oregon, not just in our urban communities."