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Care about the region's economic future? Tell us about it!

The most powerful and successful communities are those whose citizens are engaged in what’s going on around them. Let’s keep building Northeast Oregon’s strength by getting involved in regional economic planning.

NEOEDD compiles a new Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy—affectionately known as the “CEDS”—every five years (with annual updates). 2018 is a CEDS revision year, so NEOEDD has been working hard to engage civic leaders in visioning exercises. Now, it’s your turn! Please join us for a public meeting in your county, and share your opinions via our anonymous survey.

Led by NEOEDD, local leaders in business health care, education, natural resources, and government have explored their hopes for and concerns about Northeast Oregon’s economy. A key finding discovered at a discussion in late January was the need for more collaboration across county lines in order to diversify the economy and provide better paying jobs for the region. The importance of involving people of different backgrounds, cultures and ages in planning for the region’s future was also highlighted.

To gather more perspectives on how best to improve quality of life in NE Oregon, NEOEDD is hosting a public forum in Wallowa/Union/Baker County and an anonymous online survey. People who enjoy gathering to share food and ideas are invited to attend the forums. Fun and facilitated activities will inform participants about the region’s current economy, and gather input on strategies to provide for jobs, education, housing, and other essentials needed to support a healthy economy. Free! Refreshments will be provided. RSVPs are not required but are appreciated (541-426-3598), so we don’t run out of food!

Forum schedule:
Baker County
Wed., Feb. 28
Baker County Events Center
5:30-8:30 p.m.

Wallowa County
Wed., Mar. 7
Community Connections
5:30-8:30 p.m.

Union County
Wed., Mar. 14
Blue Mountain Conference Center
5:30-8:30 p.m.

People are also invited to complete the Northeast Oregon Strategy Survey, here. Please respond by Mar. 21.

Those of us in government and economic development do not—and don’t want to—work in a vacuum. We need your input! We look forward to hearing from you.

Agora Improves the CEDS Process

One of NEOEDD’s most important responsibilities is to publish the region’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). This document, redrawn every five years and updated annually, provides an overview of the region’s social and business landscape, an analysis of the region’s economic and community development issues and opportunities, and a list of potential economic development and civic projects within the region that need funding. Check out our website for the 2013-2018 plan and 2016 update.

This year, a new innovation is available that will connect project supporters with potential funders, create greater visibility for projects, and keep project descriptions up-to-date. That innovation is an online platform called Agora.

“Agora was originally piloted with the Mid-Columbia Economic Development District in 2014,” says NEOEDD Executive Director Lisa Dawson. “We and a few other areas of Oregon make up the next phase of expansion. I like this platform because it brings more life to a project than a description in a spreadsheet, and it will give us a way to see what’s being proposed across the state.”

Community leaders, such as city and county staff, elected officials, regional coordinators, and nonprofit directors, are encouraged to register projects for which they seek funding by March 31, 2016. NEOEDD staff will then review each project proposal and provide free consultation about ways to make each proposal stronger and more compelling to potential funders.

In order to take advantage of the Agora platform and NEOEDD's technical assistance, project supporters need to create a profile for their organization here. Once logged in, users can create networks of other community leaders and organizations and view their projects. And users can, of course, upload their own projects, called “deals.”

Private capital providers, such as state and federal agencies, community foundations, and banks, and philanthropic sector individuals and organizations are also encouraged to register so they can view projects and consider them for funding.

A quick video overview of Agora (picture above) is available here. Testimonials from the beta phase are here. If you have questions about creating an Agora account or uploading a deal, contact Lisa, Sara, or Kristy at NEOEDD, 541-426-3598. The deadline to upload a deal for the 2016 CEDS update is March 31.