Commissioner Position #1
Commissioner Murdock was born in Newport, Rhode Island. His father was a commander in the U. S. Navy and his parents had relocated there during World War II. After the War, they returned to Western Washington and lived in Winlock and Castle Rock before moving to Toledo where he graduated from high school. The move to Toledo resulted in the purchase of an 80-acre farm which launched his interest in farming and ranching. He raised hogs, sheep, and cattle and each year raised and marketed several thousand fryers he sold under his own label to customers in Seattle.
After high school he enrolled at Washington State University where he majored in agriculture and journalism. At commencement, he was named the outstanding graduate in the College of Agriculture and the outstanding graduate in journalism. After leaving WSU he went to work for the McMinnville News-Register and enrolled in a masters degree program in education at Linfield College.
Two years later he went to work as a teacher at W. F. High School in Chehalis. He spent sixteen years in Chehalis as a teacher, vice-principal and principal. In 1982 he moved to Walla Walla where he served as deputy superintendent of the Walla Walla School District. Eleven years later, he became superintendent of schools in Pasco. In 1997 he was named Washington’s superintendent of the year. Two years later, he moved to Pendleton to become superintendent of what is now the Intermountain Education Service District. In 2007, he was named editor and publisher of the East Oregonian. Two-and-a-half years later, he became superintendent of the Douglas ESD.
Throughout his time in Chehalis, Walla Walla, and Pendleton, he continued to build his interests in ranching. While the family still owns a small flock of registered sheep, their primary focus has turned to Red Angus cattle. The home ranch is on Yoakum Road. He served four terms as president of the American Montadale Sheep Breeders Association and is currently a member of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association.
In 2002 Murdock was named a distinguished graduate of Washington State University. In 2008 he was inducted into the College of Agriculture, Home Economics, and Natural Resources Hall of Fame. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the WSU Foundation.
He has been a Rotarian for forty years and he and his wife Donna are members of the First Christian Church in Pendleton. They have three children, Shannon Bergevin who lives in Walla Walla with her husband and two children; Bryn Browning, who lives in Hermiston with her husband and two children; and Ian, who lives in Echo with his wife and two children.
He was elected to the Board in 2013.
Commissioner Position #2
Commissioner Larry Givens, a native of Umatilla County, was raised on a hay, wheat, and cattle ranch. He graduated from Umapine High School in 1967. He furthered his education by receiving a BA in 1972 From Northwest Nazarene College in Education and Earth Science. He did his post graduate work at Washington State University, University of Oregon, and Portland State.
He was a dedicated educator in Milton-Freewater for over 30 years, 1972-2003. From 1978-1982 he was the superintendent of the Tum-a-lum School District. Between 1986 and 1993 he spent his summers working with the US Forest Service, Umatilla National Forest, Walla Walla Ranger District (in fire management) and eventually law enforcement. He was the staging manager for the Redmond Air Center during the summer of 1992. After retiring from education and before becoming a county commissioner, Larry worked full time managing his farming business, L&A Ranches Hay Sales. During that time, he served on the Umatilla County Planning Commission for 12 years, spending 2 of those years as the chair.
Larry was selected to participate in Safety Operations Procedures for Nuclear Energy Reactors/Hanford Energy Site and to also participate in Safety Procedures and Storage of Nuclear Waste at Carlsbad, New Mexico low level nuclear waste storage facility.
As a county commissioner since 2007, Larry has been actively involved in following committees and organization:
• Chair of the governing board of the Oregon Dept of Geology and Mineral Industries
• Member of the National Association of Counties’ Energy, Environment and Land Use Committee
• Member of the LOAC for Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission
• Umatilla Hospital Authority Board
• Committee member for the Oregon Forest Land Reclassification committee
• Chair of the Umatilla County Board of Tax Appeals.
• Pacific Corp Regional Advisory Committee
• Chair of the Association of Oregon Counties Energy & Environment Committee
• Oregon Wind Energy Task Force
He and wife Anne (currently a third grade teacher) have four children - Trina, Brandon, Jeff, and Katie.
Commissioner Position #3
Commissioner Elfering was born in southern California and moved to Vale, Oregon at the age of two. He was raised on the family farm, working the fields and feeding cattle, driving tractor and bucking hay. This taught him the value of hard work.
He attended school in Vale, playing on three Vale state championship football teams in his four years at Vale High School.
During college, he worked part time to pay for his education. In his senior year at the University of Portland, he worked full time managing a sporting goods store while carrying a full course load and achieving a 4.0 GPA. He graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history.
Also in his senior year, Commissioner Elfering married his wife, Yvonne. They raised 5 children and recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
After graduation, Commissioner Elfering began his successful career in insurance in Salem and Vale. Within two years he was appointed to assistant superintendent in agency administration for the company.
With a strong desire to return to eastern Oregon, he and his family moved to Pendleton in 1970 prompted by his purchase of an insurance agency office in Pilot Rock. The following year, he acquired an agency in Pendleton and merged the offices. The family then moved to Pilot Rock where they lived the next sixteen years. His insurance company selected him to serve as its district manager in northeast Oregon and, then, in Seattle, where he developed agencies for the next eight years. Commissioner Elfering bought an agency in Hermiston in 1990 and the family settled onto a 66 acre farm outside the city limits. The agency thrived and grew from that time to his retirement in 2005.