Oregon Caves, historic chateau help boost Josephine County

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Archives - July 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
chateau-fall-pond1The lodge employs 40 seasonal workers.
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE OREGON CAVES CHATEAU
For 100 years, tourists have traveled through the Siskiyou Mountains in Southern Oregon to explore the Oregon Caves National Monument. For the past 75 years they could stay at the Oregon Caves Chateau, a National Historic Landmark. These remote attractions are more than historic sites — they bring tourism dollars to a county continuing to struggle with the loss of timber revenues.

More than 70,000 visitors travel to Josephine County each year to tour the Oregon Caves, a series of marble caverns several miles long that open at an elevation of 4,000 feet. According to the monument’s superintendent, the caves attract $2.6 million a year in direct spending and $4.6 million in indirect spending, supporting about 84 jobs. Last month, Rep. Peter DeFazio and Sen. Ron Wyden introduced legislation to expand the Oregon Caves National Monument by more than 4,000 acres to protect natural resources and increase recreational and economic development opportunities.

“The caves impact the county; there’s no question about it,” says Steve Dahl, Grants Pass economic development coordinator. “Tourists come for the caves and then take a jet boat ride on the Rogue River or visit one of the local wineries.” Some of these tourists also spend their vacation money at the Chateau. The lodge hires 40 seasonal employees, buys local produce and wine for its restaurant and has sold $150,000 worth of local art since 2002.

Scott Taylor, owner of Taylor’s Country Store and Restaurant in Cave Junction, says the Oregon Caves improve his business. “If people are traveling from afar trying to see the redwoods, the caves are a side trip,” says Taylor.

In Josephine County, tourism dollars are an important aspect of the economy. The leisure and hospitality industry is one of the largest employers. But revenue from top employers isn’t enough to replace the timber industry. The county closed all public libraries two years ago and has the fifth-highest unemployment in the state.

“I don’t think tourism has totally replaced timber revenues,” says Bob Schumacher, executive director of the Illinois Valley Community Development Organization, the lodge’s nonprofit concessionaire. “But the Chateau has brought a flow of outside money into the community.”

Even if that flow doesn’t surge like the Rogue River, on hot summer days it refreshes the local economy.
JENNY FURNISS
 

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Editor's Letter: Power Play

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014

There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:

Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.

New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.

The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace. 

Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.

This month we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay. 

Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.

New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”

That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!

— Linda


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