Prior to being an association, It’s our understanding Gene Wilson W7FRM initially established the repeater at the Spout Springs Ski Area. The posting of an aerial photo of that site is on the photo page . Gene and his wife Virginia KA7DKR (both SK) owned the radio station in Enterprise, Oregon.
We don’t know at what point the repeater became associated with “The Tri-State Repeater Association” in Spokane. Tri-State owned the repeater prior to SSRA’s purchase. When the repeater was acquired from Tri-State the frequency was 146.790. That Frequency was changed when the entire state went from a 30 kHz split to a 20 kHz split to provide more repeater frequency pairs.
When Tri-State owned the repeater, there were disagreements on how the repeater should be operated. It appears a problem developed when Tri-State wanted to link the Spout repeater to it’s other repeaters. The locals, did not want to link because there was already considerable traffic on the Spout repeater and the feeling was, linking would just cause confusion and difficult access for the amateurs served by the Spout Springs machine. The locals organized, headed mostly by the La Grande Amateur Radio Club, to offer to buy out Tri-State. An agreement was reached and the locals paid Tri-State $1000 for the repeater.
The La Grande Amateur Radio Club was instrumental in creating a constitution and getting the Repeater Association incorporated as a non-profit corporation. After some research it was decided to incorporate in the state of Washington simply because it was much cheaper in Washington than in Oregon.