Standing Up to Unfavorable Economic Factors With Sound Strategies
The Deschutes Economic Alliance (DEA) was created in early 2010 to counteract economic decline in Deschutes County. The area's economic fortunes began to lose ground along with the national economy in 2008. Despite the loss of thousands of jobs, the total population and working age population were growing. As a result, unemployment persisted at around 14 to 15 percent of the labor force.
In coordination with Praxis Strategy Group, the DEA was able to identify and catalyze a slate of short, medium and long-term initiatives that would jumpstart the community. This put the steps in place to create dynamic regional growth that would not be subject to the wild economic swings that have characterized the region in the past.
Praxis began working with the alliance to engage residents, businesses and representatives from not-for-profit and public sectors in conversations about the future of the county. The alliance also focused on building the region's leadership network and mobilizing collaborative efforts.
The portfolio of strategies developed for the initiative was based on local capabilities, interests and resources aligned with emerging trends and opportunities. The 1,000-day roadmap was partitioned into three parts:
- 100-day jumpstart recovery period
- 500-day period of strategic repositioning
- 1,000-day horizon to get a solid start on transforming the county
The Deschutes Economic Alliance: 1,000-Day Roadmap to Regional Transformation and Economic Vitality in Central Oregon is an example that similar communities can use to bolster their economic progress. Delore Zimmerman presented the new roadmap at an event in Bend before hundreds of attendees. Citizens signed up on the spot to participate in new initiatives to move their community forward.