With about a month left before the Rural Design Assistance Team (RDAT) presents its published report to the community, the Economic Action Team (EAT) is abuzz with activity in preparation.
The RDAT team will present its published findings to the community May 24, at the Cloverleaf Community Center in Enterprise. Among the stand-out events will be the unveiling of Wallowa County's own regional brand logo.
As a clue to the degree and level of organization that the RDAT process has grown into, at last Thursday's Economic Action Team board of directors meeting at Toma's Conference Center in Enterprise, there were reports from six different subcommittees on the agenda, each with its own specialized task focused on improvement of Wallowa County's economic situation. And as another sign of how much detailed thinking has gone into the process, a 26-page "Document of Organizational Conduct" was introduced for consideration to the EAT board.
The "Operational Conduct" document detailed the minutia of the roles and expectations of the board of directors, executive committee and subcommittees. Rather than vote on whether to approve the document as a guide for conduct of all EAT participants, the board decided to take the time to read it first and then voice whatever concerns they might have at a meeting next week. The "Operational Conduct" document had sheets in the back for participants to sign.
"It's not just a place to work your private agenda and do what you want," Chairman Skip Novakovich said at EAT meeting last Thursday.
The reason, in part, that the matter was deemed more urgent was to prevent members of the EAT team from sending out portions of the unpublished draft copy of the RDAT report to promote private agendas, Novakovich said.
The board voted unanimously that members should refrain from quoting from the draft of the RDAT report at least until the Operational Conduct document is approved.
The branding subcommittee unveiled its version of the Wallowa County brand logo, as drawn up by Joan Madsen under the guidance of subcommittee members Wendy McCullough and Harold Black.
The county intends to copyright the brand for use on products made in Wallowa County. The subcommittee is finalizing the rules for exactly how the brand is to be used by county businesses and products.
A subcommittee has been working to establish a Business Value Added Center, which - like the Wallowa County branding concept - was one of the recommendations of the RDAT team of visitors who analyzed the county's economic status and potential. No members from the subcommittee were at Thursday's meeting to report, however.
Board member Mike Hayward suggested that a subcommittee be established to work on the problem of affordable housing. The consensus with the board was that it was a good idea.
Walter Smith, of the education subcommittee, said that the county should be surveyed to discover whether there are any resident retired teachers who would be willing to teach classes at Blue Mountain Community College.
Board member Nils Christoffersen reported that the Hands on Lands project was progressing slowly and that it may be difficult to get full funding for the project in the first year. Therefore, during the first year, they may just fund a team of three people as a pilot project to demonstrate what they can do. The Hands on Lands project was designed to provide forest jobs for county residents.
On the Mount Howard Fuels Reduction Project, Christoffersen said that the Oregon Department of Forestry may focus on thinning 220 acres of private land at the base of the mountain this summer.