The Deschutes Economic Alliance is a diverse group of local, private-sector business and community leaders who seek an objective, coherent vision for the economic future of Central Oregon—a vision which builds on our regional strengths, but provides greater economic stability for sustainable growth.

The Alliance recognizes the extraordinary efforts of existing public/private organizations dedicated to diversifying our local economy through recruitment and expansion, supporting existing businesses through training and educational opportunities, and otherwise enhancing the economic vitality of our community. The Alliance will collaborate with those existing organizations to create and implement a thoughtful strategy for our economic future with the independent guidance of internationally renowned economic development experts—a strategy driven by empirical data, with discrete actions for implementation and objective measures of success.

Specifically, the Alliance intends to collaborate throughout the Deschutes community to meet the following overarching goals:

  • To provide a common vision and collaborative framework for the economic future of Deschutes County;
  • To aid in the diversification of the local economy;
  • To attract and develop environmentally and economically sustainable jobs;
  • To encourage innovation and entrepreneurship;
  • To improve the stability and quality of life for our community members through the availability of attractive, well-paying jobs; and
  • To promote and improve the image and visibility of Deschutes County as a business and family-friendly region.

Note: These goals will be revised and refined, to add specificity and accountability, throughout the process of creating a new vision for the economic future of our community.

Near Term Goals

Despite the significant planning and best efforts of our local government agencies and business leaders, our community is in the midst of an economic crisis with record-level unemployment and property foreclosures. While no one can be blamed for the current situation, each of us is responsible to take action now to help alleviate the joblessness and personal losses that are tearing apart the fabric of our community.

With our local economy in turmoil and regions across the country competing for new job creation, the challenge ahead is daunting. Therefore, it is critical that we reach out beyond our community and governmental agencies to find seasoned economic development expertise. To that end, the Alliance board members have identified and engaged in discussions with Praxis Strategy Group, a world-class consulting group that is renowned for its achievements in regional economic development (to learn more about the consulting group see “Consultants” below).

Praxis’s (www.PraxisSG.com) experience is grounded in more than 20 years of research, policy and practice in small to medium-sized metropolitan and urbanized rural areas. Working with communities and regions throughout the United States, Praxis has been at the forefront in creating innovative processes that move citizens to community oriented action. You can learn more about Praxis’s work be reviewing Case Studies (praxissg.com/casestudies.php).

The Alliances primary near term goal is to engage Praxis in a regional economic development plan (the “Plan”) to help diversify and grow a strong, sustainable economy.  Engaging Praxis to complete the Plan will require a financial commitment from local businesses, government agencies and individuals. To learn more about how you can help, see “Get Involved” below.

Praxis’s process for developing the plan will be to visit our community several times, to meet with community members and assess our region’s economic strengths. This hands-on market research will be coupled with available regional economic data to develop a clear, actionable plan.

Assuming that the requisite funding is secured in a timely manner, the Alliance will engage Praxis immediately and we estimate that a final plan will be available from Praxis by the fall of 2010.

Long Term Goals

Developing a strong and well-tailored development plan is a critical start on our road to recovery. However, it is clear that a plan alone will do little to improve the well-being of our community. We must, therefore, be committed to a strong follow-through for the long term.

Although this document is not intended to offer a comprehensive long-term strategy, we should note that the intent of the Alliance is to maintain an ongoing advisory board to implement and measure the success of our plans.  Additionally, we intend to collaborate with local agencies, such as EDCO and other County and City agencies to implement the plan.

Finally, it is worth noting that the Alliance has formed a permanent, non-profit organization, whose purpose would be to execute on critical components and secure additional funding for the region from state and federal governmental sources, as well as charitable foundation.