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Nathan Buehler
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Email; 503-689-3559

January 23, 2018 Media Contact

Members Announced for New Eastern Oregon Economic Development Board

Governor Kate Brown named members of the Eastern Oregon Border Economic Development Region Board this month, and scheduled the first meeting of the group.

The Oregon legislature created the board with House Bill 2012, to develop and implement strategies for investment in workforce and economic development in the region, and recommend changes in regulatory laws that impede economic development and workforce training. The state appropriated $5 million for the board to use to implement its recommendations.

"Communities in Eastern Oregon are resilient and eager to set into motion a new plan to spark economic growth," said Governor Brown. "The newly created Eastern Oregon Border Economic Development Board will spearhead this effort, and I look forward to working with them to support a thriving, local workforce and bring new investments to the region."

Oregon State Senator Cliff Bentz (R-Ontario) and House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-N/NE Portland) co-sponsored the legislation creating the board and the associated funding.

"The community, through this board, has a unique opportunity to propose creative solutions to address local economic challenges," House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-N/NE Portland) said. "I know the leaders on the board and the community as a whole are up to the task. I look forward to the recommendations and strategic plan they will bring forth."

"House Bill 2012 gives local people a chance to suggest to the legislature ways to fine-tune Oregon laws so that they make Oregon, when compared to Idaho, the more attractive choice," said Senator Cliff Bentz (R-Ontario). "The differences between the laws of the two states, combined with the remote and rural nature of Malheur County, create problems in attracting and retaining businesses which are not present in other parts of the state of Oregon. House Bill 2012 shows that Oregon's political leadership recognizes that 'one size does not fit all' and that regulatory differences are not frozen in place and can be changed to meet place and need."

The board consists of seven voting members, nominated by local governing bodies within the region and appointed by the Governor. The director of Business Oregon is an ex-officio non-voting member, and Business Oregon will staff the board and administer any financial awards or programs the board elects to make.

The board's duties are to:

  • Identify policies and strategies that will promote workforce and economic growth
  • Make recommendations to the legislative assembly for policies and strategies that improve the availability of career and technical education, workforce training programs, and higher education for the purpose of improving the availability of a qualified workforce for employers in the border region
  • Identify specific laws, rules, and regulations that place specific workforce development or economic development efforts in the Border Region at a competitive disadvantage to the same type of efforts in the areas of Idaho across from Border Region
  • Make grants or loans not to exceed a total of 10 active grants at any one time pending fund availability
  • Establish a means to evaluate grants or loans made by the board
  • Facilitate collaboration among employers, local governments, state agencies, and stakeholders to enhance and expand workforce and economic development in the region
  • Consult with school districts, community colleges, and universities, and the Employment Department in identifying policies and strategies that will enhance and promote workforce development
  • Report annually on or before December 31 of each year to standing and interim committees of the Legislative Assembly related to business and economic development regarding implementation and administration of the Eastern Oregon Border Economic Development Board and grants and/or loans made by the board

The board members include:

  • Shawna Peterson (chair), managing partner, Yturri Rose, LLP
  • Tiffany Cruickshank, transportation manager, Snake River Produce
  • Bill Johnson, owner, Loft Property Management and former Microsoft executive
  • Ralph Poole, CEO of Campo and Poole Distributing, and Energy Transport LLC
  • Stuart Reitz, professor, OSU Malheur County Extension Office
  • Priscilla Valero, director, Eastern Oregon University Ontario Regional Center
  • Dana Young, president, Treasure Valley Community College
  • Chris Harder, director, Business Oregon

The board's first meeting will be held January 24 at Treasure Valley Community College.

More information on the board and its activities are available on the board's web page.

Business Oregon, the state's economic development agency, invests in Oregon businesses, communities, and people to promote a globally competitive, diverse, and inclusive economy. The agency's services span rural community development and infrastructure financing; business retention, expansion and recruitment; export promotion and international trade; investments in industry research and development and entrepreneurship; small business assistance; and support for arts and cultural organizations.