About Us

In the late 1800’s James Paul Dorran migrated from Europe, to the east coast of the United States.  He raised and trained working horses for farmers and other industries.  He soon found steady work with the railroad, building tracks and carrying supplies.  With westward expansion, he and his family arrived in eastern Oregon, working the same occupation.  Instead of pay for dollars, Jim was paid in land, where he laid down his roots and began to farm.  This land is still in the family today.  One of Jim’s sons, Bill continued farming this ground which lies in Vansycle Canyon, North of the small farming community of Helix.  Bill Dorran married Helen Narkaus, whose family came from Finland and homesteaded in the Blue Mountains east of Weston, Oregon.  The Narkaus family raised potatoes, strawberries and livestock.  This property is still in the Narkaus family, and the Dorran ancestors still utilize this property for livestock pasture in the summers. 

Bill and Helen (Narkaus) Dorran built a home near his parents on the homestead property, where they raised their sons Randy and Russell.  Both sons grew up working on the ranch, where they still raised working horses, livestock and wheat.  Randy and Russell attended school, first at Ring Station, then in Helix, Oregon.  They would ride horses down to the tracks their grandfather built, catch the train into town, stay in a boarding house for the week, then take the train back to Ring Station where Bill would be waiting.  One of their first paying jobs was lighting a beacon light for the U.S. mail plane that flew from Pasco, Washington to Pendleton, Oregon.  Randy and Russell continued their education at Oregon State University, focusing on engineering degrees.  Russell finished his education and has become a leader in the power industry, mainly at the helm of Umatilla Electric Cooperative.  Randy returned to the farm to help his father as the Great Depression set in after receiving his degree.

For several years Randy helped his mother and father farm wheat, raise working horses and livestock.  Bill passed away from injuries sustained from a barn fall near the Narkaus homestead.  Randy met Marjorie Hargett and eventually moved the one room school he was educated in to the farmstead, where they began raising their three children, James, Janet and Judy.  All three children followed their ancestry, working hard on the farm with their parents.  All attended school in Helix and went on to college.  James was well educated, and was helping on the farm as well as helping develop a large scale irrigation project near Hermiston.  He was killed in a plane crash in 1969.  Janet went on to be successful in the accounting industry. Judy attended Eastern Oregon State College, where she got her teaching credentials and met her husband, Cliff Bracher.

Randy Dorran is a conservative farmer, as well as great steward of the land in which he was raised.  Growing wheat in a summer fallow rotation and raising livestock in a 6-10 inch rain fall was a challenge that he would prove to have a knack for.  He helped neighbors with their farming duties and soon was given the opportunity to expand his land base.  Partnering with these neighbors, along with adding more land to farm, Randy realized that draft horses and mules would give way to diesel crawlers and larger equipment.  Randy is also a leader in the industry, where he served as chairman of Pendleton Grain Growers and also was applauded for his conservation efforts by receiving Conservationists of the Year on more than one occasion.  He passed on this legacy to the generations that followed.

Randy’s daughter Judy, and son-in-law Cliff came back to help soon after the death of James.  Cliff and Judy Bracher moved into a home on Cold Springs Creek where Randy had expanded his last base.  This is where Cliff and Judy began raising the fifth generation of land stewards.   They raised four children Cindy (Middleton), Gretchen (Cherian), and two sons, Paul and Randy.  Randy (born in 1916) and Marge Dorran retired from full time farming in the late 1990’s.  All four of Cliff and Judy’s children attended school in Hermiston, and went on to earn college degrees.  Cindy, educated in Hotel Administration, lives in Hermiston, where she has two children and is married to Jason Middleton, Grain Operations Manager for Pendleton Grain Growers.  Gretchen followed in her mother’s footsteps, getting a degree in elementary education.  She and her husband Philip, live in Sammamish, Washington with their two children.  Philip is in the computer technology industry.  Randy and Paul both earned degrees in agriculture from Oregon State University, and after other job trials are both back at the farm.  Randy and his wife Char have two children and live near the Cold Springs headquarters of the fifth generation farm.  Char is busy with her leather business, Bracher Leather and helps on the farm when needed.  Paul and his wife Friday have three children and live near Helix.  Friday works at the farm office and also helps on the farm when needed.

Dorran Ranch, Cold Springs Ranches and Bracher Farms is a primarily wheat, summer-fallow rotation farm using the same conservation practices used from the previous generations.  Larger tractors and equipment have made this family operation more efficient, which in turn has helped them add more land to cultivate.  In recent years, irrigation has been added on 1200+ acres, which helps raise higher value crops to help feed an ever expanding world population.  Still abiding by the core values taught by their ancestors of hard work, integrity and conservation, this fifth generation family farm is rearing the sixth generation of farmers by the same virtues.

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