Economic Development

I am holding a virtual business leader discussion – Sunday, February 27th at 4PM. Details…

Communities evolve over time. Hopefully, for the better. My grandmother told the story of how her family traveled by boat to Toledo with the incoming tide. That was their transportation at the time. She recalled when the County dropped off telephone poles at the end of their road (on the Bay Rd.) for electricity. They buried them. One after another so the wire could reach their farm. Within her story are the threads of economic development. A County Commissioner serves as a conduit for the people. Together we write the next narratives of how County Government serves our community.

County Government fundamentally facilitates Economic Development.

A County Commissioner has great responsibility to the community for Economic Development. Defined as: the creation, growth and retention of Lincoln County businesses by our Economic Development Alliance – economic development (while meaning different things to different people) is arguably more than a jobs program, it’s an investment in growing our economy and enhancing the prosperity and quality of life for all residents. How can a commissioner create, support and retain policy that supports economic development as defined? I argue that it is a mosaic, a community tapestry of organizations functioning together. Our organization provides many fundamental services that are the backbone to economic development occurring all over our county. County government is fundamentally an economic development facilitator. As a County Commissioner (if elected) my responsibility is to deliver a balanced budget and maintain the continuity of essential county services into the future. Additionally, it is my responsibility to echo the needs of our community into the many governing bodies that simulate and support workforce development, transportation and various programs that impact the maintenance and growth of society.

County as Employer, Provider of Services and Infrastructure

Our services should be equitable, professional and sustainably minded. When we consider adding new services we need to ensure that they are relevant and feasible. Every year we balance our budget. A commissioner must maintain this continuity. Lincoln County’s missions is to “provide essential public services, both legally required and locally desired, in an efficient, effective, and respectful manner.”

Lincoln County Assessor’s Office tracks your tax dollar distribution. More data online at the County’s website.

County Government Provides Direct Funding for Economic Development Objectives

County Government provides both direct funding and administers pass through funds to other organizations for the intended purpose of economic development.

  • We provide funding to the Small Business Development Center at Oregon Coast Community College. Fantastic program for helping educate and develop small businesses. When individuals play State Lottery machines a portion of these funds are deposited into our general fund and distributed to SBDC. These funds are also used for the County’s Community and Economic Development Grant Fund. Historically, over 1 million dollars have been awarded to local organizations that demonstrate valid need for infrastructure improvements that will serve their growth and our community. 
  • For several years the county commission supported RAIN – Regional Accelerator Innovation Network. RAIN deploys support services to build entrepreneurial infrastructure and entrepreneurial ecosystems (venture catalysts). The County decided to end funding until our local cities match funding. I would like to see this program come back to the County but agree that interjurisdictional cooperation would be helpful.
  • Historically, the county has financially supported the Economic Development Alliance of Lincoln County. The (EDALC) is an Oregon 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization, governed by a local Board of Directors. The County also uses transient room taxes to fund the EDALC, the Oregon Coast Aquarium and County Commons. However, with the passing of Measure 21-203 and the 5-year phase out of STRs this funding has an uncertain future.
  • We create/support jobs by funding “tourism promotion” with transient room taxes. Some funding was previously allocated to COCA. The Central Oregon Coast Association – which promoted tourism. The association was dissolved and for the last three years allocated TRT dollars are distributed to local Chambers of Commerce for operational expenses. Again, the passing of measure is creating an uncertain future with an expected decrease in collected TRT revenues.
  • The county will receive funding from The Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) program, a part of the American Rescue Plan, delivering $350 billion to state, local, and Tribal governments across the country to support their response to and recovery from the COVID-19 public health emergency. How will be allocate and distribute these dollars? This is “in process”.
We need fresh data…. The Research Group, LLC (TRG) prepared a report for the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners. The report contains results from a ten year check-in on recent economic and social indicators in Lincoln County, Oregon (2014).

Commissioners are Decision Makers on Many Governing Boards that Impact Economic Development

If elected I will continue to participate on the various organizational bodies that help shape and advise how the Feds, State and other public administrative agencies provide funding and projects at the regional and local level. 

  • County Commissioner serves on the Cascades West Area Commission on Transportation. (CWACT) provides a forum for local governments to collaborate on local, regional, and State transportation issues in the Benton, Lincoln, and Linn County Region.
  • County Commissioner serves on the Oregon Workforce Talent and Development Board. (WTDB) is the overall advisory board to the Governor on workforce matters, including developing a strategic plan for Oregon’s Workforce Development System.
  • County Commissioner serves on the Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments. (OCWCOG) manages a variety of local, State, and Federal programs to serve residents, local governments, and businesses in our tri-County Region. OCWCOG is recognized by the State as an Area Commission on Transportation (ACT) and a Type B Medicaid Transfer Agency. Additionally, the association is recognized by the Federal Government as an Area Agency on Aging (AAA), an Economic Development District (EDD), a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Revolving Loan Fund Coordinator, a U.S. Department of Agriculture Revolving Loan Agency.
  • County Commissioner serves on Regional Solutions – South Valley/Mid Coast Region Coordinator (Benton, Lane, Lincoln, and Linn Counties) Regional Solutions focuses on strategic, targeted, and equitable workforce development investments. The Governor’s Future Ready Oregon 2022 proposal aims to fund training and apprenticeship programs that will give all Oregonians — including BIPOC, women, low-income, and rural Oregonians — meaningful opportunities in key growth sectors such as health care, manufacturing, and construction.
  • County Commissioner serves on Northwest Oregon Workforce Consortium providing guidance to Northwest Oregon Works.  This is one of nine local workforce areas supporting locally driven decisions and programs. NOW invests federal funds into individual career/business development and bridges business and prospective employees. Ultimately placing individuals in trainings, programs and permanent career paths.   
  • County Commissioner serves on Community Services Consortium governing board. CSC helps people in Linn, Benton and Lincoln counties to access tools and resources to overcome poverty and build more stable futures. Mission is ending poverty in Linn, Benton and Lincoln counties. CSC provides a wide variety of wrap-around services to meet basic needs and help build stability Housing, utility assistance, food, weatherization, pre-school (Head Start) workforce education and more.  

County Commissioners Advocate Directly to the Sate Legislature for our Community’s Needs

Recent example. The Oregon Legislature approved more than $600 million to support communities impacted by the September 2020 wildfires, mitigate the effects of future wildfires, and increase community resiliency. Commissioner Jacobson was a strong advocate for our community during legislative hearings (House Special Committee on Wildfire Recovery) and with legislative staff to help direct these funds into action at a local level. Her Septic & Water System Repair Assistance Program has provided financial help Available Now To Inspect and Repair These Crucial Systems For survivors Of The 2020 Echo Mountain Fire. She has secured over $500,000 to directly repair road infrastructure. I have personally observed her tirelessly fight day after day to bring these dollars to North County.

Commissioner Jacobson and myself recently provided a regional report on the progress and ongoing challenges in wildfire-affected areas. County government provides a voice. Chairman Evans said “you really are the bedrock that the committee has relied on for intel and insight on local needs. Thanks for continuing to play that role.”

CTSI Tribal Members and FEMA meet at the unveiling of FEMA’s direct housing site made possible with the the property provided by CTSI in Lincoln City.

County Commissioners meet with city, state and federal government officials concerning matters of coordination, cooperation policy matters for the purpose of agreements relating to land water uses, and other city, state, and federal cooperative projects. (literally – in the job description of commissioner)

​In the aftermath of Echo Mountain Fire county commissioners and staff continue to meet with FEMA, DHS, ODOT for the continued advocacy and coordination of resources to the fire effected community. These are these are unseen meetings and phone calls that happen daily for a commissioner.

County Government by it’s very nature is constantly providing oil to the mechanisms that make up our economic machinery.

Economic development is defined by Wikipedia as “the process by which a nation improves the economic, political, and social well-being of its people.” When I say the county has a role in a “thriving community” economic development is intertwined in this concept. A commissioner’s first priority is to maintain the county’s continuity of services. Additionally, a commissioner should advocate for our community by participating in the web of organizations that seek to further our stability and growth.

Newport Skatepark – 2,000 Sq. Ft Addition

The new 2,000 sq foot addition to the City of Newport’s skatepark completed by Dreamland Skateparks was celebrated with a beautiful day, amazing riding, prizes, and food. The video in this post features  Spencer Nebel, City Manager and Danielle Scott owner of Dreamland. I am thankful for their comments about the collaboration to support the new build.  

This video was pretty textbook. I got lucky and grabbed Spencer as he was leaving the park. And, Danielle Scott was willing to provide some details. “Andy 360” must have tried the loop 15 times before he nailed it. Skaters work hard for their skills. Well earned Andy!

The video also illustrates the synergy and desirable outcome for our park on a given day. I do not know if there are numbers for how often it’s used. Prior to the expansion, my own experience has revealed that both locals and tourists use the park. Since the expansion, my conversations with the park’s frequent flyers have said that use is up considerably. The influx of visitors to cities like Newport may support the argument for such investments. We are a tourist community. Some families may simply choose a city that has such assets over those that do not. And, communities that have such assets may increase the stay length compared to communities that do not have a variety of recreational activities to choose from.

In retrospect, the unification of energy to pull off the addition exemplifies what’s desirable when dedicating public funds to such infrastructure. I have not inquired about numbers to the City or Dreamland. I should do that.  The data would be interesting to know.  My casual conversations lead me to believe that the new addition is the result of donations, corporate sponsorship of sorts from Rogue, City funding and some old-school fundraising.  There may have been grant money…

As a rider – both skating and biking – I can testify to using the park on a semi-regular basis. It’s one of my go to spots during lunch break. Google Maps says it’s .6 miles from my office cubicle.  As a sit/stand office worker I make it a point to move my body at lunch.  “Sitting is the new smoking.” Desk jockeys benefit from exercise more so than our cohorts who actually use their bodies for work.

My dude. I had dreams of producing a little skating prodigy. I imagined an early companion too soon, perhaps. Did I start him to early? It was worth giving it a shot. Funny how their peers are ultimately more influential. He’s with the program now. But, it’s not going to happen overnight. I admire his persistence. We bought a helmet too, btw.

To my surprise, the re-grand opening had a special turn of events for both me and my son. It Inspired him to begin skating. It was also an affirmation that building community infrastructure to support action sports such as skating has the benefit of encouraging new discoveries for athletes young and old.

On the way to the re grand opening I reminded Reed that our mission needed the inclusion of video documentation. On occasion, the documentary process gets a little tiresome for my handsome lad. I thought it fair to give him a disclaimer that I would be up to my usual antics.  I mentioned that there was going be food, beverage, possible prizes and likely a few of his friends. Reed assured me that “None of his friends will be there.” “How can you be certain?”, I asked. He couldn’t articulate and became frustrated at my additional inquiries. “Is it just a gut feeling?”, I asked. “Yeah, Dad.”

Within minutes of arrival Reed asked to go play with a friend. It turned out, that friend, an inexperienced skater, encouraged him to ride. They practiced and watched the other skaters during their blitzkrieg on the fresh concrete.  For the next two weeks, he asked that we ride, every day. Every day. I was so stoked! I had wrapped his little body in padding when he was 4 and he reluctantly gave it a shot. He never desired to ride again, however. I let it go. Not his thing, I thought. I ride a lot. But, over the years I’ve often carved out time to do that, without him. So, this was full circle for us.  My hope is that the joy I experience from this hobby and sport might be something we can continue to share.

Rogue has been a big supporter for both the Newport Skatepark and Dreamland Skateparks. They also produce a signature Dreamland Lager. Are we lucky or what?! Right the $#@$ on Rogue!

So, the question of weather or not there is justifiable ROI to the community, the non skateboarding community, is one that is in contention for some.  How we equitably determine which shared assets are worth our investment? Our skateboard park, our pool, our various other parks, our roads, police, emergency services and so on.  Not everyone agrees all of the time and such is politics, government and questions of subsidy.   

Again, I don’t have specific number for the Newport park 2,000 sq. ft addition. If and when I get this data – I’ll post the update here. Estimates by the Tony Hawk Foundation suggest the “National Average Skatepark Cost per square foot: $22.10” These numbers and actual use numbers would certainly facilitate improved evaluation for this investment and future investments In our communities.

The Argument for Skate Parks

Public Skatepark Development Guide
Resource for advocates and planners seeking information about public skateparks. If you’re working on a public skatepark project.

Lunch break. When I was growing up local concrete parks were not the norm. As a 49 year old it is taking some time as a skater and biker to learn to flow and get comfortable letting centrifugal force carry one through the transitions. Both exciting and/or scary depending on how you frame the experience.

Tony Hawk Foundation
The Tony Hawk Foundation fosters lasting improvements in society with an emphasis on supporting youth in low-income communities through skateboarding programs and the creation of skateparks.