Commissioner Position #1

George Murdock
Vice-Chair

541-278-6202
george.murdock@umatillacounty.net

George Murdock

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 #3

Bill Elfering
Board Chair

541-278-6201
bill.elfering@umatillacounty.net

Bill Elfering

Commissioner Elfering was born in southern California and moved to Vale, Oregon at the age of two where his father was, subsequently, elected Sheriff of Malheur County. He was raised on the family farm, working the fields and feeding cattle, driving tractor and bucking hay. He learned there 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. Besides his parents, he credits the playing field for many lessons of life.

Attending college, he worked part time to fully 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 in 1964. Also just prior to his senior year, Commissioner Elfering married his wife, Yvonne. They raised 5 children and celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2013.

In 1964, after graduation, Commissioner Elfering began his successful State Farm insurance career at the company’s regional headquarters in Salem. In 1966, he began an insurance agency in Vale. Not long after, he returned to Salem where he was appointed to assistant superintendent in agency administration for the company.

With a strong desire to return to their eastern Oregon roots, he and his family moved to Pendleton, Yvonne’s home town, in 1970 where he acquired a State Farm insurance agency 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 settling on a small farm. In 1980, his insurance company selected him to serve as its district manager for northeast Oregon and, then, for 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 just outside the city. The agency successfully thrived and grew from that time to his retirement in 2005.

Commissioner Elfering was elected to the Board of Commissioners in November, 2012, and began his first term in 2013. He was re-elected in 2016. As commissioner, he was appointed in 2016 by the Association of Oregon Counties (AOC) to the Board of Trustees for City-County Insurance Services (CIS), the provider of insurance services and products to Oregon Cities and Counties. He has also served on numerous committees for AOC and for the National Association of Counties (NACo)