Make plans for Economic Summit

February 27, 2013 08:42 am

The City of La Grande and Union County would like to invite the public to attend an Economic Summit at the Blue Mountain Conference Center on April 2. 

The summit will focus on economic development activities throughout Union County. The event will run from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., with select organizations that have an active role in economic development in Union County providing brief overviews of their recent economic development efforts. 

Following the presentations, the audience will be asked to provide their views on economic development by participating in small groups discussions. The feedback generated will be used to help the local economic development professionals shape their efforts going forward. 

This summit was first discussed in January 2012, when La Grande Mayor Daniel Pokorney asked the City Council to consider sponsoring an Economic Summit to discuss challenges and opportunities. With the support of the City Council, an invitation was sent out and a steering committee was formed to explore the idea. The consensus of the steering committee was to wait until after the Union County Economic Development Corp. had concluded their current round of business retention and expansion surveys and their 2012 targeted business recruitment efforts.

Those efforts are now concluded and the steering committee once again met to discuss the idea of a summit. As noted above, everyone is invited to attend the Economic Summit. 

Boosting the economy

The summit will be co-hosted by the City of La Grande and Union County. The summit will begin with a brief overview of our local economy and then presentations from selected local economic development professionals who will share the significant activities that have been completed in the past year or so, as well as what is being done now, and what is about to be done to help our economy throughout Union County. 

After the presentations, the audience will break up into small groups to answer some specific questions about economic development. The groups will then report their findings, and there will be an exercise to prioritize the results that all members of the audience will participate in.  

Based on the exercise, the economic development professionals will provide some initial thoughts on opportunities to partner and how the feedback can be incorporated into their efforts. 

The summit will conclude with a discussion of next steps, which will include a separate meeting of the economic development professionals to discuss in greater detail the next steps they will take. The steering committee is refining the agenda and will be contacting organizations to invite them to attend either as presenters or as participants. 

Given the limited amount of time for presentations and the desire to get as much audience involvement as possible, only a few organizations will be able to present. If you think your organization should attend, please contact me so you can be added to the invitation list. If you have questions about the summit, please call or email me at 541-962-1309 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it  

Robert Strope is the La Grande city manager.