The Northeast Oregon Economic Development District (NEOEDD) will be heading up a local market research project targeting "Lone Eagles." Lone Eagles are workers or business owners with a main source of income derived from non-local sources. Often Lone Eagles rely heavily on information technologies to sell products or services in non-local markets.

NEOEDD has received a $20,000 USDA Forest Service grant from Rural Community Assistance and $2,500 from the Northeast Oregon Alliance to complete the research.

The project started with the 2001 Wallowa County Future Search community planning event. Future Search spun off a local committee interested in marketing Wallowa County to businesses, families and individuals. The Future Search Marketing Committee identified recruitment of Lone Eagles as a priority in diversifying and improving economic and social conditions.

The committee found that recent newcomers include telecommuters or those with Internet-based businesses (often professional services). The county's quality of life provides the potential to continue to attract these types of workers and businesses.

The market research project will interview Lone Eagles currently residing in Wallowa County. Interview questions seek to reveal how Lone Eagles discovered the county, what type of industry or business they are involved in, how they network with colleagues in their field and other pertinent information. The research results will be used by the committee as they consider developing a marketing plan and marketing materials to recruit Lone Eagles. Additionally, the research will identify resources and services necessary to retain current Lone Eagles and their families residing in the county.

NEOEDD is currently seeking additional committee members to contribute to this unique market research activity which will be completed over the next six months. If interested, please contact NEOEDD at 426-3598.

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