Home Back Issues August 2008 The rural stomp

The rural stomp

| Print |  Email
Archives - August 2008
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

From the Editor: The human factor

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

In this issue, we celebrate our 21st annual 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon project.


Read more...

Workplace benefits

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Health care and vacations rule. That’s the consensus from our reader poll on workplace benefits that help retain and recruit employees.


Read more...

Powerlist: Meeting perspectives

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

BY BRANDON SAWYER

A conversation about the event-planning industry with sales directors from McMenamins and the Portland Art Museum. 


Read more...

On fire

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

A self-proclaimed “chile head,” John Ford “grows, eats and does everything spicy.” 


Read more...

Buy the book

News
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
2 03.25.14 thumb bookshopBY VIVIAN MCINERNY | OB BLOGGER

Oregon is home not only to many fine writers but also several accomplished small publishers.


Read more...

Eking out a living

News
Tuesday, April 08, 2014
04.08.14 thumb ourtable-coopfarmsBY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER

It may be obvious, but most farmers don’t make a lot of money. According to preliminary data from the 2012 Agriculture Census, 52% of America’s 2.1 million principal farm-operators don’t call farming their primary occupation. Farm cooperatives may offer a solution.


Read more...

Banishing oil burners reaps benefits for schools

News
Tuesday, April 01, 2014
04.02.14 thumb co2schoolsBY APRIL STREETER | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Three years ago, PPS set out to begin to convert the 1930s-era boilers from diesel/bunker fuel to cleaner-burning natural gas. Oregon’s largest school district has realized impressive carbon dioxide emissions reductions, setting an example for public and private institutions.


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