On April 1, 1921, the Lees family moved to La Grande, Oregon. Walter had a job with the La Grande Flying Company. Walter had some interesting days at work. Once his "passenger" was a pig. The Oregonian reported it this way:
PIG FLIES TO EXHIBIT
Boar Owned by Fair Board President Takes 20 Mile Flight.
La Grande, Or., June 1 (1920) (Special) "Floyd McK", purebred Chester White boar, was taken to Union by airplane today and will be one of the exhibits at the three-day stock show which opens tomorrow. The boar is owned by J.E. Reynolds, president of the state fair board. Pilot Walter E. Lees of Portland, who is making commercial flights here, carried the pig and Mr. Reynolds to Union...
Flying out of La Grande, for a while I had a mechanic. He worked for nothing, just to get experience. The company furnished a little old Ford pickup. We would load all of our equipment in the truck, including a large piece of canvas, cooking utensils & food, blankets, etc. and the mechanic would drive the truck and I'd fly the plane to the different towns. We would set up camp near the plane and sleep and cook our meals nearby to cut down on expenses.
I worked on commission, no salary. We carried very few passengers, due to a slump in wheat prices. Only a few people had enough money to buy plane rides, so I was forced to pad my expense account in order to get enough money to feed my family. I had to do some tall talking to justify the expense account to the company officers, but I managed to get by with it.
In La Grande, Oregon, we lived in three places. First we rented a house, but the woman wanted it back right away. Next we rented rooms in a farmhouse, but that didn't last very long. Finally, we rented "the tumbledown shack." Pops was gone frequently, so when it snowed, the neighbors would shovel a path to the woodpile for me. It was really a dump with rags stuffed in the broken windows. Dad Lloyd sent us a Victrola and some beautiful records. We put it on the window seat, for lack of any other furniture. I had to dry clothes by the wood stove -- ugh.