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Oregon Web team grows up

Gresham Web site design company's client list tops 500
by: John Klicker, “We’re building Web sites and friendships,” Watkins says of her Oregon Web Team business in Gresham. Watkins sets up and maintains Web sites for businesses.

Laura Watkins gets some interesting requests as head of the Oregon Web Team.

The company's State of Oregon Web site occasionally draws people considering a trip to the state. The site, run by Oregon Web Team, promotes businesses in the state.

But that didn't stop one wildlife fan from contacting Watkins. His question?

'He wanted to know where he could go to see beavers,' says Watkins, president of Oregon Web Team.

Another couple wanted to know how they could go about getting married at Multnomah Falls. And while such inquiries may not exactly be Watkins' area of expertise, she says she tries to help out anyone who contacts her, directing them to other Web sites, for instance, or providing a phone number. At the least, she returns their e-mail.

Such is the obliging ethos of Watkins and her Web site development business.

The Gresham-based Oregon Web Team has been designing Web sites for businesses, churches, sports organizations and nonprofit groups for 10 years. The company moved into larger digs on Southeast 223rd Avenue in January, after spending its initial years operating out of a home on 182nd Avenue.

'We're trying to grow up,' says Watkins, showing off the company's client 'wall of fame.'

The business has worked on Web sites for a range of groups, including Oregon Hazelnuts, a regional growers' network; Friends of Baseball, which helps keep the game alive among Oregon youngsters; and the Greater Gresham Baptist Church, among others.

Oregon Web Team aims to be a one-stop Web shopping enterprise, offering not only site design, but also hosting applications and e-mail maintenance. Watkins says businesses needing Web services can expect a 'very collaborative process.'

'We don't know your business ,and you probably don't know Web sites,' she says.

Creating a Web site can be a confusing jumble of 'gigabytes, optimization and hypertext,' the Oregon Web Team site says. But the company tries to alleviate the Internet intimidation some business owners may feel.

'It does make people nervous,' Watkins says. 'They know they want a Web site but don't want to deal with the technical issues.

'You talk technical issues with some people and their eyes glaze over.'

Watkins can empathize - 'I'm not technically trained. I'm kind of on their side.'

The technical side of things - including site and logo design, hosting, domain names and shopping cart creation - is left to the company's computer gurus.

Their expertise, combined with the collaborative process, has yielded more than 500 clients and nearly 300 hosted Web sites, Watkins says.

'We're building Web sites and friendships,' she says. 'We're trying to be in a long-term relationship with your business. We're here for the duration.'

Part of being a successful business, Watkins says, is community involvement. Oregon Web Team has donated time to the Mt. Hood Jazz Festival, the Gresham-Barlow Education Foundation and Gresham's Center for the Arts, among other groups. The company also provides special rates for non-profit organizations.

'We're here to serve,' Watkins says.

And that has made many people happy, including those searching for beavers.

For more information

What: Oregon Web Team, a Gresham Web site design and hosting

company

Where: 333 S.E. 223rd Ave., and online at www.oregonwebteam.

com and www.stateof

oregon.com