County seeks input from cities on economic picks

By Pat Caldwell
The Enterprise
VALE – The Malheur County Court is seeking input from local cities about who should be named to a new state board that will consider economic development obstacles in Malheur County.
The court on Aug. 30 wrote to Adrian, Nyssa, Ontario and Vale city leaders requesting names of individuals to be considered for the Eastern Oregon Border Development Board.
The court asked city leaders to deliver a list of names by this Tuesday.
The court will consider the recommendations before nominating seven people to Gov. Kate Brown. She will make the appointments.
The board is separate from one established by the county court to oversee the new rail shipping facility.
The board will oversee the new Eastern Oregon Economic Development Region.
The Legislature created the board and provided $5 million of general fund dollars that the board can use for grants and loans on economic and workforce projects in the area.
The board also can seek waivers or exemptions from state laws and regulations it judges are impeding economic development or put a portion of Malheur County at a disadvantage to Idaho entities.
The legislation is the result of the teamwork of state Rep. Tina Kotek, D-Portland, the House speaker, and state Rep. Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario.
Many see the legislation as a way to level the economic playing field between Idaho and Oregon, create jobs and enhance the local economy.

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Have a news tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected] or 541-473-3377.