Comment Sought for the Update of the Regional Economic Development Strategy
Thank you for your interest in providing feedback on the draft of the 2022-2027 Columbia Gorge Economic Development Strategy! The draft provides the text for the strategy. The final document will benefit from graphic design work to improve the look and usability. Please focus your comments on the content presented in the draft document here. Email comments to or request a hardcopy from Tasha Blaircobb here. You can also mail or drop off comments to our office at 802 Chenowith Loop Road, The Dalles, OR 97058. Comments must be received by 5pm on January 7, 2022. We are also holding a photo contest to gather images for the final document. View the details here.
About the Strategy
The region develops the CEDS every five years as a guide to understanding the regional economy and crafting goals, strategies and actions to create jobs, raise income levels, diversify the economy, and improve the quality of life. The plan is compiled by Mid-Columbia Economic Development District (MCEDD) and follows the guidelines required by the US Economic Development Administration.
The draft strategy was developed over seven monthly meetings in 2021 (more details below) with more than 100 participants throughout the series, including local and tribal governments, regional partners, ports, chambers, legislators, state and federal partners, businesses and individuals. The strategy also incorporates economic data and additional feedback from online surveys and focus groups held with our Latinx and Native American communities. Throughout the process, conversations explored the themes of resilience and equitable outcomes. The following sections form the foundation of the strategy:
- Summary of regional economic conditions
- Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats analysis
- Action plan
- Evaluation framework
The final strategy will be adopted by the MCEDD Board of Directors and submitted to the US Economic Development Administration. MCEDD coordinates implementation of the regional strategy in partnership with local stakeholders.
Public Session Details
- March 31, 2021: Economic Impacts of COVID-19, Resiliency: Presented an assessment of economic impacts of COVID-19 and set the resiliency tone. Meeting details here.
- April 28, 2021: Demographics and Data: Shared more overarching economic data looking at longer-term trends. Meeting details here.
- May 26, 2021: Sector Focus Areas, including a more in-depth industry cluster analysis and discussion of sector resilience. Meeting details here.
- June 30, 2021: Analysis of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Meeting details here.
- July 28, 2021: Vision and Goals Development. Meeting details here.
- September 1, 2021: Strategies Development. Meeting details here.
- October 7, 2021: Measuring Success, and Implementation Plan. Meeting details here.
- November 5, 2021: Draft presented at the Annual Gorge Economic Symposium.
A bi-state Mid-Columbia region with a resilient, thriving, sustainable, rural economy that supports equitable access to diverse business opportunities that act in harmony with the area’s unique qualities, values, cultural and natural resources.
- Strong Businesses: Enhance business innovation, retention and expansion, and entrepreneurship through more accessible support services and capital, diversifying our industry mix, and enhanced coordination to address barriers to growth and sustainability.
- Robust Workforce: Cultivate a talented, multicultural workforce through diverse, family-wage career training aligned with industry needs while providing essential infrastructure supports for workforce participation in each community.
- Resilient Infrastructure: Ensure communities and businesses of the Gorge have reliable, resilient access to infrastructure, including attainable housing, high-capacity broadband, sustainable sources of energy, and emergency services, among others, to support future population demands and economic opportunities.
- Powerful Regional Collaboration: Increase collaboration and advocacy as a bi-state region to meet the economic needs of our communities.