HIGH GAS PRICES
The price of gasoline hasn't exceeded what the market will bear at least as far as Oregon vacationers are concerned.
And that's news that bodes well for the local economy.
Projections say that northeast Oregon businesses relying on summer tourist traffic won't be significantly impacted by gas prices, which have surpassed two dollars a gallon and will climb even higher before the end of the season.
Vicki Rosgen of the Wallowa County Chamber of Commerce said gas prices likely won't hurt local tourist-dependent businesses simply because most people vacationing in the county come from within a 300-mile radius.
In other words, northeast Oregon is a convenient and affordable vacation alternative for people in nearby big cities.
"We target a market that's in a 300 mile radius, and we consider Portland, the Willamette Valley and Spokane to fall within that radius. People from those areas are our main hit," Rosgen said. For that reason, Rosgen doesn't expect Wallowa County's visitor count to drop significantly.
Janet Dodson of Union County Tourism said the outlook for Union County is similar to the one in Wallowa County.
"At the state level, people are sticking closer to home, and that's good for us. It means that instead of driving down to Southern California, people in Oregon are looking at places like Union County for their vacations."
Dodson said she thinks people may cut back on other expenditures in order to afford gas for their vacations.
On the other hand, they're not likely to cancel travel plans because of the cost of gas.
"It is high, but not high enough to make them quit driving," she said. "I think they'll cut back in other areas before they do that."