Home Back Issues March 2009 Hood River economy holds steady

Hood River economy holds steady

| Print |  Email
Archives - March 2009
Sunday, March 01, 2009

hoodriver.jpg Hood River has seen dozens of new businesses open and the county has the third-lowest jobless rate.

HOOD RIVER The recent closings of five Hood River businesses, including the historic Columbia Gorge Hotel, has created concern about the town’s overall economy. Yes, the hotel is in trouble and several businesses — Hood River Chrysler Jeep Dodge, Hood River Ford Mercury, Abruzzo Italian Grill, and the Panzanella bakery — have shut down. But local business officials say that the city of around 7,000, which relies heavily on its agriculture, sports recreation and tourism industries, is doing fine.

The weakened economy hasn’t deterred local entrepreneurs from bringing a variety of new businesses to the area. Over the past year, Hood River has seen the addition of 29 businesses, most of which center around the town’s tourism industry, says the local chamber. New businesses include several restaurants, retail shops, art galleries, a museum and a salon. And the county has the third-lowest unemployment in the state at 6.6%.

“Business has slowed,” says Stu Watson, coordinator for the Hood River Downtown Business Association. “But we are optimistic that in this economy, there are still people with steady incomes that are going to want to vacation, dine out and shop here.”

During the winter months, the town’s economy depends mainly on tourists drawn to the area by Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort. Although hazardous winter weather conditions limited early-winter travel, the area saw business increase during January, says Greg Colt, president of the business group. Bill Fashing, the county’s economic development coordinator, adds that there is no indication that the bottom of the tourism market has fallen out.   

“In a town this size, you know almost everyone. But when I go out to a restaurant or a coffee shop, I’m still seeing quite a few faces I don’t recognize,” says Colt. “When I stop seeing those faces, then I’ll worry.”

Fashing also notes that there are a number of other business sectors that are doing well, and have not yet faced major layoffs. Although based across the river in Bingen, Wash., unmanned aircraft systems manufacturer Insitu has boosted the town’s economy.  

But Fashing warns that while business in the area is holding steady and unemployment is fairly low, that could change quickly as consumer spending patterns change.

“Any industry that depends on the leisure discretionary dollar is struggling,” says Watson. “Businesses need to look long and hard at staffing and cost factors, and adjust to changing times. If they don’t, they might not survive.”      
NICOLE STORMBERG


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

Closing the gap: Community colleges and workforce training

News
Thursday, March 27, 2014
03.27.14 thumb collegeBY MARY SPILDE | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

Community college career, technical and workforce programs present an opportunity to bring business and education together as never before.


Read more...

What I'm reading: Brad Smith & Travis Boersma

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Brad Smith, founder of Hot Pepper Studios, and Travis Boersma, president of Dutch Bros. Coffee, share their recent reads.


Read more...

Why I became an educator

News
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
03.04.14 thumbnail teachBY DEBRA RINGOLD | GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

How can we strengthen the performance of institutions charged with teaching what Francis Fukuyama calls the social virtues (reciprocity, moral obligation, duty toward community, and trust) necessary for successful markets and democracy itself?


Read more...

Leader's bookshelf

Contributed Blogs
Friday, March 14, 2014
02.06.14 BooksBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

Five books that will make you a better leader.


Read more...

The 2014 List: The Top 33 Large Companies to Work, For in Oregon

March 2014
Thursday, February 27, 2014

100best14logoWebOur 100 Best Companies project turned 21 this year, so pop open the Champagne. Our latest survey gives us plenty to cheer.

 


Read more...

The 2014 List: The Top 34 Medium Companies to Work, For in Oregon

March 2014
Thursday, February 27, 2014

100best14logoWebOur 100 Best Companies project turned 21 this year, so pop open the Champagne. Our latest survey gives us plenty to cheer.

 


Read more...

Barrister bands

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
IMG 4691BY LINDA BAKER

An intellectual property attorney by day, 48-year-old Stoll Berne attorney Tim DeJong is a singer and guitarist by night.


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