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Father and daughters: Don Nunamaker and his daughters Alison, left, and Ashley. 

West Cascade Avenue has changed greatly since Don Nunamaker, Realtors moved there 22 years ago, but its founder’s words that year hold true.

The company celebrated its 50th anniversary with an open house Aug. 9 at its headquarters, 2495 West Cascade, at Clearwater Drive.

“The design is very open and provides for good circulation with all the amenities. On West Cascade where all the traffic is, we have the first shot at someone coming in from the Portland area,” Don Nunamaker said in a retrospective on his career, in the May 1, 1998, Hood River News.

Don Nunamaker, Realtors is still the first real estate office one passes when coming into town from the west.

Formerly located downtown on Third Street, Don Nunamaker, Realtors broke ground on its current location in October 1998 and moved there in May 1999.

Nunamaker was born in Albany, but raised in Hood River from age 1: His parents, Bob and Gert Nunamaker, were both born in Hood River. He graduated from Wy’east High School in 1960 and from University of Oregon in 1965.

He worked for two real estate companies in Eugene before he was drafted in 1967. He served stateside, entering the Officer Candidate School and serving as an administrative officer in food service.

After serving in the Army, he looked for real estate work in Portland in 1969.

“He was advised by a colleague to return to his stomping grounds of Hood River, but at the time, Hood River was a far cry from the bustling small town it is today,” reporter Ben Mitchell wrote in a 2015 profile of Nunamaker.

Real estate in Hood River was also different than it is now, Nunamaker told Mitchell.

Around that time, real estate businesses were bundled with insurance companies and didn’t exist as separate entities in Hood River. He got a job with R.E. and Tom Scott Insurance Agency, where Bill Pattison gave him a desk for $50 a month in return for selling properties.

“He met his future wife, Janet, who was a secretary at the agency; they were married in 1970. Nunamaker stayed with R.E. and Scott for less than a year, moving on to create his own agency, ‘when I ran out of signs,’” he said.

The business weathered recessions in the 1980s and late 2000s. Nunamaker left sales and turned to managing the business in 1990, but about 10 years ago went back to his sales roots. Nunamaker said in 2015 that his key philosophies are “care more about the person you’re working with than the commission” and “don’t treat a person like you want to be treated; treat a person like they want to be treated.”

Nunamaker said of the real estate profession, “It’s not work.”

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