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City hires new economic development manager

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Matt Lorenzen, Estacada's new economic development manager, stands in front of City Hall. Lorenzen is eager to put his diverse background to use in the position.Estacada’s new economic development manager is eager to delve into the job and help facilitate development that appeals to people in town.

“My job isn’t to come in and impose my vision,” said Matt Lorenzen, who also serves as a project manager for the city’s urban renewal agency. “I want to listen to the (city) council goals, and what businesses and residents want, and make that happen.”

Lorenzen has been in the position since Monday, July 18. His predecessor, Terra Wilcoxson, accepted a position as business and economic development coordinator for Clackamas County.

Lorenzen started his professional life as a high school history teacher. After several years in this position, he received a master's degree of public administration and worked for a development firm and as a real estate agent. Additionally, he has volunteered with West Linn’s development association and was named its president in 2015.

In his previous positions, Lorenzen has worked with everything from marketing and grant writing to land-use and business outreach.

“I’m eager to take my diverse background and put it all together in this position,” he said. “(The position) seemed like a really good opportunity to do that.”

To Lorenzen, the most rewarding element of economic development work is problem solving.

“A large part of this work is determining which obstacles are preventing the development you wish to see,” he said. “I like coming up against those obstacles and working through them, and seeing the solutions come into place. Seeing the end results come together is really rewarding.”

Lorenzen is excited about many of the city’s current economic development projects, including an upcoming opportunity for residents to open their homes to visitors as part of an alternative lodging network, which the city hopes to have finalized later this year.

Lorenzen sees many assets for both residents and visitors to Estacada, including its proximity to the Clackamas River.

“The river is something that draws many outsiders into town,” he said. “That’s a huge resource.”

Lorenzen said he hopes to see continued growth in downtown Estacada, citing mixed-use commercial buildings with retail establishments on the first floor and residences on the second floor as valuable for the city’s economy and creating more affordable housing.

He is eager to hear from current and potential business owners in Estacada.

“I want to be seen as a resource and an open door. . .to help them achieve the aspirations they have for Estacada,” he said.

Lorenzen believes the town’s people are one of its most valuable assets.

“In the short time I’ve been here, I’ve seen that the people who live in Estacada live here intentionally,” he said. “That sense of loyalty and love of this place is a huge asset, and definitely something that business owners can tap into.”

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