City hires masters grad who will promote economic development
A new economic development manager
Dave Snider says city leaders should not expect their city to suffer the same economic downturn other area cities are feeling.
Snider was recently hired as Sandy's economic development manager, a new position for the city, and he plans to use a technique called 'economic gardening' to keep the local economy and businesses growing.
That term refers to a process of 'growing' a city's jobs through entrepreneurial activity instead of recruiting the jobs. This relatively new process began in Colorado in the 1980s, and was first seen in operation in 1987 in Littleton - in the Denver area.
Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology showed the great majority of all new jobs in any local economy were produced by a community's small, local businesses. That idea was the driving force behind economic gardening.
Because the Sandy Main Street program, headed by Jason McNeil, has similar goals for the downtown core, Snider will focus most of his efforts outside of that area. The downtown core includes everything between Bluff and Ten Eyck roads.
'The idea here,' Snider said, 'is for me to provide a Main Street focus for the rest of the city. But when there are issues involving the downtown core, (McNeil) and I both will probably be involved, although (McNeil) will take the lead and I'll be there to assist him.'
The city recently offered an economic forum, and the information gained from that event will assist Snider as he prepares a strategic plan for the economic development of the Sandy area.
Snider's role in gaining citizen participation in government and his role in communicating with local residents will be aided after the City Council is asked to allow him to convene a citizen academy, which is a communications method with a large background of successful experience.
A citizen academy would involve local residents taking a 'class' to 'learn what the government does and what it doesn't do,' Snider said.
'We would have people come in for a couple of hours one night a week,' he said, 'and listen to a presentation from one of the city's departments each week.
'This would let citizens meet the people in each department and get to know them - so they're not just faceless bureaucrats; they're actual people who live in the community.'
Although the idea of a citizen academy is not new, it is not widely practiced.
'Police, particularly in Oregon, have been doing this for several years,' Snider said. 'We'd like to do that for the whole city.'
Also keeping him busy with citizen contact and the delivery of information, Snider will update the city's website, Facebook page and soon add a Twitter account.
He also will be a liaison between the city and Clackamas County, Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Department of Commerce, state government and other nearby cities.
Snider, who now lives in Lake Oswego, did his undergraduate work in political science, and he is a recent graduate of Portland State University with a master's degree in public administration.
He has a local economy on his hands that could use a bit more development and a city in need of staying in touch with its residents.