UNION COUNTY — The Grande Ronde Enterprise Zone received votes of confidence Monday night, Nov. 9, from the city councils of Island City and Union.

The councils, at separate meetings, passed resolutions calling for the redesignation of the Grande Ronde Enterprise Zone, an area promoting new business development in Union County. The zone is operated jointly with the county and the cities of La Grande, Island City, Elgin, North Powder and Union.

La Grande and Union County earlier passed resolutions calling for the redesignation of the zone. The city councils of Elgin and North Powder are set to vote on redesignation later this year. The zone’s current designation expires Dec. 31.

Island City Mayor Delmer Hanson said he was pleased his council voted in support of the Grande Ronde Enterprise Zone.

“Anytime we can do anything to help industry, we feel it is a move in the right direction,” Hanson said.

The enterprise zne is designed to boost new businesses. Those that qualify under state rules receive breaks on their property taxes, according to Union County administrative officer Shelley Burgess, the zone manager. New businesses that qualify also receive assistance from Business Oregon, the state agency with the task of helping businesses grow and expand.

Union Mayor Leonard Flint also endorsed the zone.

“It creates a level playing field (for cities competing for businesses),” Flint said.

The Grande Ronde Enterprise Zone, which covers a total of 11.9 miles, was founded in 1987 when it had three entities — Union County, La Grande and Island City, and was named the Union County Enterprise Zone. Union joined in 1998, Elgin in 2001 and North Powder came on board in 2009.

General assignment reporter

Beats include the communities of North Powder, Imbler, Island City and Union, education, Union County veterans programs and local history. Dick joined The Observer in 1983, first working as a sports and outdoors reporter.

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