On my daily commute, I happen down a mature country road which has some construction in process. More specifically there is what appears to be a new subdivision in the works. Given SOREDI is immersed in numerous ongoing conversations about our lack of housing – at all levels, and facilitating meetings with various developers, I say yeah!
Less exciting is the torn-up street, steel plates in the asphalt, and bumps. And sometimes limited travel to one lane. Disrupting.
Should I choose the most next most likely route to or from work, it’s the same story – another housing development and the corresponding bumps in the road. Development seems to go hand in hand with a bit of upheaval at times, both personally and professionally.
The bumps in our economic development road over the last two years, were already on my mind for this writing, particularly as we prepare to present at the Medford Chamber Forum next Monday at the Rogue Valley Country Club. Our presentation title: Moving Forward through Change. Many thanks to the Medford Chamber and forum sponsor U.S. Bank for this opportunity to share our region's remarkable journey of bumps, bruises, detours and most importantly, measurable impact and success in the business community during this time.
Regrettably, our long-standing Southern Oregon Business Conference, which is typically held the last Thursday of January, will take another year off. Some bumps in the road cause abrupt change and allow a new course to be established. Yet, we are intent on creating meaningful and relevant content in this post/present pandemic. More details about this prospective change up soon.
I couldn’t help myself but stop this past weekend and take a picture of one particular bump sign (pictured), which is tilted on its side along one my routes. If you happen to have followed some of previous writings, you will know that about a year ago I inadvertently proceeded on a red light, and as a result my vehicle was totaled. Disruption.
A few weeks later I was rather giddy as I ordered my 2021 Bronco Sport, affectionately named Belle. While Belle was due to arrive in just 8 weeks, it ended up being 7 months! Disruption.
My bump-in-the-road automobile woes felt a bit tilted, like that road sign, as I commuted instead in my 1978 F150. It was a long arduous waiting game.
This arduous wait and see is not unlike what we are all feeling as this pandemic holds on and continues to disrupt our economy. And like those incoming housing developments in progress along my route, with torn-up roads, businesses are beat up awaiting an end to the current economic disruption.
You may be thinking now that all is well for me personally since Belle has arrived and I’m commuting with all the luxuries of built-in technology to grace my daily ride. But this journey, is yet fraught with disruption.
Unfortunately, my Thanksgiving holiday met with still another literal bump in the road when after only two months of getting to know my Belle, she was rear ended in perhaps 10 mph start-and -stop traffic on the freeway. Truth be told, I did jump out of the car and yell “are you kidding me”, then immediately begged forgiveness of the apologetic driver who hit Belle.
After all the necessary exchange of insurance information, I was able to drive on – in utter dismay – with a sagging bumper, dented liftgate, buckled quarter panel and twisted tow package. I was already scheduling an appointment with the collision center since I’d be at the dealer in just a few days for Belle’s first oil change.
Finally on New Year’s Eve, after a week of diagnostic and structural evaluation in the body shop, I received news of yet another bump in the road. This time however, it felt more like a ditch. Actually, it felt more like Belle just drove off the cliff into the Grand Canyon. Belle was deemed totaled, due to hidden frame damage. Two months old, 4,000 miles. Tilt!
I may be personally recovering for a while… maybe even several months as I order and await a replacement for Belle. Yet, your SOREDI team is still on point to provide dynamic, relevant services through every season whether bumpy or prosperous.
2022 marks our 35th year of serving as the region’s economic development agency. But rather than leave on my sad, sad Belle story, let me give you just one snapshot of the progress this agency has been privileged to make over many bumps in the road, in start-and-stop economic development traffic, since March 2020:
$7,035,802 in grant funds distributed to 516 businesses.
Here’s to smoother roads all around in 2022. Happy New Year and many blessings!
Colleen Padilla, Executive Director