Lisa Dawson

My Voice

About the author

Lisa Dawson, is the executive director of NE Oregon Economic Development

My Voice columns reflect the views of the author only. ;Columns should be 500-700 words.

The most powerful and successful communities are those whose citizens are engaged in what’s going on around them. Let’s keep building Northeast Oregon’s strength by getting involved in regional economic planning.

Northeast Oregon Economic Development District (NEOEDD) compiles a new Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy — affectionately known as the “CEDS” — every five years (with annual updates). This is a CEDS revision year, so NEOEDD has been working hard to engage civic leaders in visioning exercises.

Led by NEOEDD, local leaders in business, health care, education, natural resources and government have explored their hopes for and concerns about Northeast Oregon’s economy. A key finding discovered at a discussion in late January was the need for more collaboration across county lines in order to diversify the region’s economy and provide better paying jobs for the region.

To gather more perspectives on how best to improve quality of life in Northeast Oregon, NEOEDD is hosting a public forum in Union County and an anonymous online survey. People who enjoy gathering to share food and ideas are invited to attend the forum scheduled for 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. March 14 at Blue Mountain Conference Center.

Fun and facilitated activities will inform participants about the region’s current economy and gather input on strategies to provide for jobs, education, housing, and other essentials needed to support a healthy economy. RSVPs are not required but are appreciated (call 541-426-3598), so we don’t run out of food.

People are also invited to complete the anonymous Northeast Oregon Strategy Survey at Please respond by March 30.

Those of us in government and economic development do not — and don’t want to — work in a vacuum. We need your input! We look forward to hearing from you.