PARTNERSHIP GOOD FOR WALLOWA COUNTY

March 19, 2001 12:00 am

For the past several months the news about the economy has been negative. Locally, we have seen mills shut down in Wallowa, North Powder and Joseph. Weve seen natural gas and electric rates soar. Nationally, weve seen companies announce thousands of worker layoffs when profit margins didnt reach expectations. But amidst the negative news there is some glimmer of hope.

Thursday we learned that Joseph Timber Co., infused by a new partnership with Wallowa Resources, will restart one shift April 20. The move will put 40 people back to work.

The folks at Joseph Timber and Wallowa Resources are to be commended for not giving up on the lumber market, federal timber policy and the community. Theyve forged a partnership that should prove to be beneficial to all concerned. Wallowa County, with the highest unemployment rate in the state, needs the jobs.

The partnership reflects the kind of collaborative effort that is needed in areas that are struggling to boost their economy. Wallowa Resources is a private non-profit organization that has a track record for doing some innovative work with government entities and private foundations. Diane Snyder and Nils Christoffersen of Wallowa Resources will join Joseph Timber shareholders Steve and Paula Krieger and Dave Shriner on a new policy board. Jim Quinn, recently retired CEO of Collins Pine, will serve as a consultant to the group.

The partnership is intended to work for the sake of the community and Joseph Timber. Wallowa County needs jobs and Joseph Timber needs the support of its community.

A BOOST FOR KIDS

La Grande High School last week gave about 2,000 students from Northeast Oregon high schools and middle schools an opportunity to expand their view on potential careers. The biennial Career Day appeared to be a huge success and students came away excited about what they saw. And what they saw ranged from hair-styling and massage to acting, photography and veterinary medicine.

Students learned about the education they would need for specific fields. They learned what hours they would have to work. And they found out what kind of income potential various careers offer.

The students who attended and the

La Grande School District owe a debt of gratitude to Pam Dodds, director of the LHS Career Center. She and a group of students coordinated the enormous event that involved 2,000 young people and 300 presenters. What a feat!

Students need to know what careers are out there for them, even if they get only a 30-minute taste of each one. Dodds made sure they got that opportunity.