Diversifying the business base has been the mantra of most economic development plans in Oregon in the past few decades. It was a state built on natural resources, and since the fisheries and timber operations started to collapse, small towns throughout Oregon have tried to find a way to reinvent themselves. It’s still a work in progress. Oregon Business will examine some of those former timber towns in its November issue.
Despite the historic rollercoaster of the natural resources industry, the second most popular vote was to get back to the basic of agriculture and timber. Timber is unlikely to ever be king again because of federal forests policies, but ag has the ability to always be the once and future king, albeit with a volatile time on the throne. In our September issue last year, we detailed how spiking prices and an insatiable worldwide demand for commodities such as wheat brought record-breaking prices to Oregon’s ag industry. But just a few months later, the demand plummeted, prices dropped and the rollercoaster hit the bottom again.
Our poll showed no confidence in tech or the creative class as a way back to prosperity. Maybe its because the state has already had a tech-led recession, and the creative class is chronically underemployed.
Darwin comes to mind in this debate, when he said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”
And that, dear readers, is a field that’s wide open across all business sectors, populations and industries.