Curry County Economic Development


             
 
Julie Schmelzer
Director of Administration
& Economic Development
94235 Moore Street, Suite 122
Gold Beach, OR 97444

Bang For Your Buck!

Unenthused or rude employees turning away customers?  Travel Oregon offers a FREE online program you could require all employees to take.  The program teaches them the value of good customer service in the tourism industry and how it affects the local economy.  Ever go somewhere and ask the hotel clerk, or gas station attendant, what there is to do in the area, and they respond ‘nothing’?  Mistakes like that can have a big negative impact on our economy.  For more information please visit: Oregon Service Training 

Need help finding the right employee?  Do your current employees need ‘polishing’?  Hire people that have proven they have the skills for your business. Look for employees which possess a National Work Readiness Certificate.  Some of our high school students are obtaining their certificate to get this leading advantage.  For more information about this FREE program visit:  http://www.oregonworkready.com/

Business Spotlight





Curry County welcomes Agates Food & Bar
to our community. Formerly Port and Starboard, Agates Food & Bar boasts great service and excellent food, made to order. With recent renovations and a fresh makeover, customers are impressed with the variety of dishes offered and repeatedly claim the food comes out sizzling hot and quick!  Agates Food & Bar is located at the north end of Port Orford. Be sure to stop in and treat yourself to some locally sourced goodness!

News and Updates

Ready, Set, Start Your Business!
 
 
Learn about the critical first steps” that everyone faces when considering starting a new business. This 2-hour workshop costs a mere $20 and includes information about:

                           *Licensing 
                           *Personal readiness checklist 
                           *Business structure
                           *Financing a business 
                           *Business planning
                           *Next steps 
                           *Business resources

The class is being offered several times and will be held at:
 
The Business Center
2455 Maple Leaf

North Bend, OR 97459

Call (541) 756-6866 for additional information


Register online at http://www.bizcenter.org/

 Oregon’s Unemployment Drops to Lowest in 6 Years
 
 

Oregon’s unemployment rate peaked in May, 2009 at 11.9 percent.  In January, 2015, the rate was almost half—unemployment was at 6.3 percent.   January employment was 3.3 percent higher than the previous January.  For the fourth time in five months more than 6,000 jobs were added.  In addition to the state’s continued growth in employment, the mild winter weather allowed outdoor jobs to flourish, whereas normally outdoor related workers would be off the job during the winter months.

 

Why Bring Your Business to Curry County?
 
 
 
Words can’t express why… 
 
 
to discover why you need to ‘Hurry to Curry’.

Not Rain, Nor Sleet, Nor Snow or Gloom
 

  
 
 On November 24, 1894, the federal government granted a post office to the Township of Harbor. Within the last few weeks, Harbor residents have walked into their post office only to discover, without warning, and a few years shy of a century of family service, that the Harbor Post Office is scheduled to close its doors forever.
 
Harbor Post Office houses century old postal boxes and other relics of the past. It also serves a significant elderly population, as well as a high poverty clientele, making the scheduled closure a significant hardship to a vulnerable population, which will not always have ready access to the Brookings Post Office.
 
Residents lack transportation, rely heavily on mail order prescriptions, and have found the Brookings’ Post Office is already strained to handle its existing clientele. One local resident has obtained over 500 signatures urging leaders to keep the facility open.  Closure of the Harbor Post Office will also have a negative impact on the Harbor economy, and will create another vacancy in the mall that already has a vacancy rate of greater than 50 percent.
 

The Curry County Commissioners and the Director of Administration have resolved to urge the U.S. Postal Service to keep the Harbor Post Office open.

   

 

American Dream Highway


 
The Director of Administration believes a highway connection to I-5 would 'open the county up' for more economic development possibilities. What do you think? Read her letter and let Governor Kitzhaber know your thoughts. Please copy the Director on any correspondence, either pro or con.     
 

American Dream Highway Letter

Fiber Optic Loop
 
 

The fiber optic network has been completed, making an 87-mile route from Grants Pass, Oregon to Crescent City, California. It consists of a 720GB circuit with capacity to service thousands of people across multiple cities. It brings high-speed Internet, phone and high definition (HD) television service to numerous households and businesses, making advanced telemedicine possible, and creates opportunities for businesses such as call centers with heavy data applications. It completes a redundant, fiber optic loop connecting southern Oregon and northern California, establishing a more reliable connection.

 Roll Out The 'Welcome Mat'
Tourism Spending Is Up
 
 

According to the Oregon Department of Tourism, Travel Oregon, the county saw an increase in visitor spending of 4.6% from year 2012 to 2013.  Overall, visitors spent $117 million last year in Curry County.

Spending resulted in one half million dollars in local taxes, $3.3 million in state taxes.  The majority of the spending was on accommodations and food—lodging brought in slightly over $23 million; food service over $32 million.  According to the firm that analyzes the data, if each resident household encouraged one additional overnight visitor, we would see an increase of $1,401,000 in spending that would support 21 additional jobs.  Day visitors also play a considerable role in the economy as well with day travel bringing in $34 million.

Most of Oregon’s visitors come between July and September, but more visit the coastal area during that time period than the remainder of the state; likewise for the period between January through March.  The average stay in the coastal area is 3.4 nights.

 

 Music Festival to Draw Almost 20,000 
 
 

The Cape Blanco Country Music Festival in Sixes this past August drew about 15,000 visitors boosting the area economy.  The Festival is an excellent opportunity for communities to create additional events, or businesses offering special promotions, to get visitors to stay a while longer in Curry County, thereby increasing tourism dollars and jobs.  The 2015 festival will run July 31-August 2.  More information is available at: www.capeblancofestival.com.

 

Green Business of the Year:  Buy Local, Buy Sustainable
 
 
 
We welcome the Port Orford Sustainable Seafood Company.  The company delivers fresh Pacific Halibut, Chinook Salmon, Dungeness Crab, Rockfish, Sablefish, and Albacore Tuna—all caught locally and delivered to drop sites in your neighborhood.  They also sell to local and regional restaurants, farmer’s markets and retail stores.  The company’s goals are to increase the viability of the traditional coastal communities and create economic opportunities; ensure communities have access to fishery resources; and to encourage an ethical approach to conservation. Visit their website at: http://posustainableseafood.com/

Oregon Farmers Can Now Export to China
 
                                       
 

Oregon as a whole ranks eighth in the universe for cranberry production, with Curry County ranking second in Oregon.  Farmers in the small coastal county account for almost half (40%) of all cranberries produced in the state.   Although the farmers, along with other fruit growers, can export their fresh product to countries like China, they were prohibited from exporting the product in frozen form.

That is, prohibited until cranberry grower Robert McKenzie decided to make a difference.  McKenzie approached the Curry County Commissioners’ Office about his dilemma.  The Commissioners Office worked closely with the Oregon Department of Agriculture to help their valued farmers export frozen fruits to China—the large market McKenzie couldn’t export to due to federal policy. 

The battle embroiled the states of Washington and Idaho too that wrote the United States Department of Agriculture requesting change to allow frozen fruits, if eligible, to receive certification their product was disease and insect free.

The work paid off.  In October McKenzie received the good news—frozen cranberries, along with blueberries, cherries and strawberries could now be shipped to China.  Permitting the export means cranberry farmers can obtain a higher price for the product, and drive more interest in producing the anti-oxidant rich crop. With Oregon ranking second in blueberry production, this policy change can be a major influence on growing Oregon’s exports.

Look What's Rollin' Into Town
 
 
Curry County saw its first new manufactured home roll into town as a result of the ReHome Oregon manufactured home replacement program.  The project, an Oregon Solutions program, is now being considered as a model for statewide expansion.

 

One third of all households in Curry County live in manufactured housing, and half of those homes were built before 1980. Significant numbers of these homes pose grave risks to health and safety, including mold and mildew (that cause respiratory problems), tripping hazards (such as holes in the floor), accessibility problems for the disabled, and substandard insulation resulting in expensive heating bills.

 

In response to this challenge, Curry County has teamed up with NeighborWorks Umpqua and other partners to offer eligible participants affordable mortgages and down payment assistance when they choose to replace their dilapidated mobile home with a new, durable, energy-efficient model. Three replacement projects are currently in progress, and another three are in the pre-qualification stage.  ReHome Oregon aims to replace a total of 25 homes in Curry County, and more program slots are available; interested parties should contact NeighborWorks Umpqua at 541-247-9638 or visit the program website at www.rehomeoregon.org.

Business Retention
 
   
 
In an effort to help existing businesses succeed, a business retention and expansion (BRE) survey is being offered by the South Coast Development Council, Inc. (SCDC).  The purpose of the survey is to discover and hopefully remove hindrances for business and aid in their growth.  To take an online survey visit www.scdcinc.org/doing-business/ and click on the survey at the bottom of the page.  If preferred, staff from SCDC or the Curry County Director of Administration are available to meet in person and conduct the survey.