>Editor's note: With the Prineville - Crook County Chamber of Commerce taking such an active role in the future growth of our business community and the effort to add new industry, I asked Chamber president Donna Mohan to recap their efforts so far this year. Bill Schaffer
President, Prineville/Crook County Chamber of Commerce
The first eight months of my term as President of the Prineville-Crook County Chamber of Commerce is history, and what an exciting eight months it has been! Let me fill you in on a few of the highlights from the past eight months.
When it appeared that Prineville would be left out of the funding for redundancy of fiber optic lines through SB622, Executive Director Diane Bohle called upon the Chamber Membership. The membership stepped up and made their voices heard by generating 60 letters of protest that were hand delivered to the Oregon Community and Economic Development Commission by Judge Scott Cooper and Executive Director Diane Bohle. The Chamber has been represented at numerous meetings tracking the progress of this telecommunications bill. The Chamber views telecommunications as a vital piece of missing infrastructure for our community and considers it critical for our economic recruitment efforts.
When the Forest Service announced the closure of the Ochoco National Forest office here in Prineville, the Chamber became a force in the review process of this decision. A Community Advisory Committee was formed to review all available information and provide an opinion to our Congressional Delegation. Diane Bohle, the Chamber's Executive Director, was appointed to facilitate this Advisory committee. The summary findings of this committee was a compelling factor in the Forest Service decision to abandon the consolidation with the Deschutes and retain a Forest Service Supervisor for the Ochoco National Forest.
In addition to the work done on the above mentioned projects, the many committees sponsored by the Chamber are hard at work. The Chamber's Economic Development Committee includes community, government and business leaders. EDCO (Economic Development for Central Oregon) is also a participating member of this committee. The committee has provided volunteers for any number of committees and task forces at the request of the city and county. Currently, the Economic Development Committee is set to provide input and support for the City's upcoming economic summit and support for the application for the Enterprise Zone status.
The Business Council kicked off the year with the formation of the "Our Town" Committee which is working on a revitalization program as well as a "branding" project for Prineville. Recently, the Chamber joined forces with the Bend and Redmond Chambers to welcome the Family Motor Coach Association convention to Central Oregon. Over 50 Chamber businesses joined in a highly successful advertising promotion organized by the Business Council, aimed at the FMCA attendees to welcome them to our town.
The Quality of Life Committee sponsored the always popular community Easter Egg Hunt and the community wide clean-up project and instituted an Adopt-A-Block program for the downtown area. Committee members are now working on new ideas for the upcoming Christmas season.
The Tourism Committee has recently been reactivated and had a good turnout of interested people at their first meeting, held just last week.
After their summer hiatus, the Chamber sponsored Public Affairs Forum kicked off their new year in September. Hot speakers and controversial and informative topics are lined up for the 2001-2002 schedule. Upcoming topics are set to include the ethics of cloning, and identity theft, as well as speakers such as Portland Mayor Vera Katz.
Business and Education are interfacing in a new way thanks to the Chamber's Education Committee. This committee is producing a resource directory called the Yellow Pages for Teachers. This directory includes over 100 entries from Chamber businesses, government and members of the general public who are willing to serve as a resource for our community's teachers.
As you can see, the Chamber has been busy working for its membership in everything from economic development to downtown revitalization to community events to educating its membership on today's hot topics. The Chamber of Commerce will continue to assist businesses and employees relocating to Crook County by providing assistance and information to familiarize them with services, schools, local government agencies, community organizations, recreation and cultural opportunities. The Chamber is also in the planning stages of the development of a web page that will be an official doorway to our community.
You don't have to be a business owner to be a Chamber member; individuals are also welcome to join and receive all the benefits of membership, including the always popular "Fast Facts". If you aren't a member, what are you waiting for? Take advantage of our Fall Membership Drive and take a "Taste of the Chamber". Call the Chamber office today!