The Oregon Tourism Commission got a glimpse of Northeast Oregon last week when it convened in La Grande for its quarterly meeting.
Travel Oregon Travelers: Oregon Tourism Commission members Chris Erickson (right) and Patrick Nofield, sided by Chairwoman Kari Westlund, listen to testimony during the commission’s quarterly meeting in La Grande. - The Observer/BILL RAUTENSTRAUCH
The commission is the governing body of Travel Oregon, the state’s program to support and stimulate tourism. It has held meeting at various locations in the region but this was the first time one was held in La Grande.
The visits are part of an effort the commission makes to get acquainted with partners at the local level, said Chief Executive Officer Todd Davidson.
“The commission likes to gets around the state,” he said. “It’s important for us to hear from our partners.”
Thursday, following a Tourism 101 class at the Cook Library, commission members attended a reception in their honor at the Eastern Oregon Fire Museum and Learning Center. They also took part in the Third Thursday Art Walk in La Grande.
Commission Chairwoman Kari Westlund said the activities gave her a chance to become better acquainted with the area.
She said conversations she had with locals took in a range of topics, including the proposed Mount Emily acquisition and the success of the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway.
She also said she heard some encouraging news about the number of people visiting the region from countries far away.
“Janet (Dodson, of Union County Tourism) said many international visitors have been here. She said she appreciates our marketing in that regard,” she said.
On Friday, the commission held its formal meeting at the library.
The meeting featured presentations on the Oregon Heritage Tree Program and the Oregon 150/Travel 150 Program, various reviews and updates, approval of matching grants and more.