Revitalized Vale chamber ready to roll

Business owner Kate Humphrey of Vale is working to bring the Vale Chamber of Commerce back together after a seven-month break. (The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell)

VALE – The Vale Chamber of Commerce is back.

More than seven months after the community organization evaporated because of the Covid epidemic, two local individuals are spearheading its return in an abbreviated form.

“We do not have specified board members, nobody designated as a board member as of yet,” said Kate Humphrey, owner of Vale Bookkeeping Services.

Humphrey said Kim Speelman – who works for Field-Waldo Insurance Agencies Inc. in Ontario – is helping coordinate a new chamber organization.

“We are just taking everything that was dropped and picking it up and putting it back together so we can go on ahead. It is not going to be spectacular. It will be plain and simple,” said Humphrey.

The chamber switched direction more than a year ago when Vale resident Jessica Kulm stepped into the organization’s director slot in February 2019.

The organization dropped its monthly luncheon, crafted a new business initiative, revamped its website and created a new logo.

When the pandemic hit, the chamber curtailed plans for the future as board members dropped out. The only board member still officially part of the chamber is Malinda Castleberry, owner of Mal’s Diner in Vale. Castleberry, though, said she will step down soon because she must devote more time to her business as the Covid pandemic persists.

Humphrey said Kulm will help with the organization’s Facebook page but otherwise will not be involved.

Humphrey said the idea to kick start the chamber was the focus of an Oct. 7 meeting that included her, Speelman, Sarah Rodriguez, owner of Luzetta’s Flowers in Vale and Jennifer Tolman, co-owner of Malheur Drug and resident Dwight Keller. Humphrey said Vale mayoral candidate Tom Vialpando was also at the session.

Humphrey said there will be no chamber dues for local businesses for 2021 and the organization will not sponsor any events except for the New Year’s Eve fireworks display.

Humphrey said she decided to help create a new edition of the organization because “every town needs a chamber to help promote business.”

Humphrey said the chamber will likely select new officers in the coming months.

“We are going to have meetings quarterly,” said Humphrey.

For now, because the chamber does not have an official office, all mail to the chamber is delivered at the new Vale City Hall at 150 Longfellow St. N.

Interested individuals can also reach the chamber via email at: [email protected] or on its Facebook page, said Humphrey.

“If a business is having a sale, let us know and we will put it one Facebook,” said Humphrey.

Humphrey said the first meeting of the revitalized chamber will probably be in December but a time and a location for the session has not been set yet.

YOU CAN HELP KEEP LOCAL NEWS FLOWING: Reader support allows the Enterprise to provide in-depth, accurate reporting that otherwise would not get done. Keeping the community well informed is essential. SUBSCRIBE – $5 a month, automatically. DONATE – to provide additional support.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at 541-473-3377 or at [email protected]