The rural stomp

| Print |  Email
Friday, August 01, 2008


s_Robin ROBIN DOUSSARD

THE LOSS OF TIMBER MONEY. The loss of rural programs. The loss of the Office of Rural Policy. Even air service to rural communities is getting sliced.

The roll call of losses, recent or historic, could easily discourage the hardiest of souls. But that wouldn’t be the nature of Oregon’s rural leaders.

Weary of watching rural resources notably dwindle in the past year, they’ve decided, as retired Gilliam County Judge Laura Pryor puts it, that “maybe we just have to do it ourselves. There isn’t any money, the dollar is in trouble, there’s a war. We just have to face facts.”  

So rural leaders are doing just that and are launching the first Oregon Rural Congress, which will be held Aug. 21-22 at the port facilities in Cascade Locks. The event’s organizers are focusing on discussing solutions to the daunting number of issues facing the state’s rural economies: the dwindling and volatile natural resource-based industries; the inadequacy of rural infrastructure, especially county roads and telecommunications; the challenges of delivering health care to residents; the shrinking financial support for rural initiatives and communities.

“We are behind the eight ball going into the next century in rural Oregon,” says Hood River County commissioner Maui Meyer. “We have no infrastructure and no ability to recover and lead the way. It’s going to be a difficult and troublesome road if we don’t come up with some solutions.”

Meyer sees rural Oregon as ill-prepared to meet and best the many issues facing it right now. “As our state becomes more and more dependent upon our resources, we want to stop first and have a baseline conversation about our end of the bargain,” he says.

Pryor sees the congress as the first step in a long journey. Solving rural problems “isn’t something you do overnight,” she says. “You don’t have foundations in rural Oregon, You don’t have big business groups, like the Portland Business Alliance. We hope to come up with some directives for ourselves, the Legislature, the Oregon Business Plan, the state agencies.”

The always direct Pryor, who helped get the Office of Rural Policy started and also watched as the Legislature pulled its funding this year, says she hopes “ground-level people in the region show up. I don’t care about the electeds.”

Whatever the turnout, the congress is an impressive show of spirit, smarts and strategy. Whatever the outcome, it’s a gathering that’s unlikely to remain silent, or to accept defeat.

 

More Articles

Fighting Fire With Fire

May 2015
Friday, April 24, 2015
BY BEN DEJARNETTE | INVESTIGATEWEST

Timber companies and environmental groups take a stab at collaboration to boost logging and restoration in Oregon fires.


Read more...

5 ways successful people kickstart the day

The Latest
Thursday, April 02, 2015
coffeethumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Are mornings the most productive part of the day?  We ask five successful executives how they get off to a good start.


Read more...

Man for All Seasons

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

A longtime technologist and entrepreneur, Dwayne Johnson, 53, is managing partner of PDXO/GlobeThree Ventures, a strategy and business consultancy in Portland.


Read more...

Editor’s Note: It’s a Man’s World

Linda Baker
Thursday, April 30, 2015
lindablogthumbBY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR

Earlier this week we posted an article from our May issue:  It’s a Man's Man’s Man’s World. The story covered the gender divide in tech from the perspective of male workers. Twitter didn’t like it.


Read more...

6 development projects reshaping Bend

The Latest
Thursday, April 09, 2015
bendthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Bend has reclaimed its prerecession title as one of the fastest growing cities in the country.


Read more...

Green workplace 2.0

Linda Baker
Thursday, May 28, 2015
IMG 2808BY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR

Reinventing capitalism. Office dumpster divers. Handprints versus carbon footprints. These are some of the ideas panelists and attendees discussed during the second annual Oregon Business “Green Your Workplace” seminar yesterday.


Read more...

Biker dreams

The Latest
Friday, May 15, 2015
bike at ater wynn-thumbBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

The Portland Bureau of Transportation is seeking input from businesses on a $5.5 million initiative to create a network of biking, transit and pedestrian trails within Portland’s central city.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS