Notes from Colleen’s Desk: SOREDI’s “Wildly Serious About Business Development” Digest

If you remember Reader’s Digest, you might be as old as I am. Though I think I feel about ten years older after a very robust (but rewarding!) month of activity here at SOREDI.

Reader’s Digest made its grand debut with its first issue published one hundred years ago, in February of 1922. For the past century, readers across the country have been digesting short, memorable articles about health, home, humor, holidays and more.

At just a mere 35 year of age, SOREDI hasn’t quite reached one hundred yet, but we have many business tidbits and relevant news for you to digest this month in our own Wildly Serious About Business Development Digest.  We’ll keep it simpler though with just our top ten stories, with links to learn more where appropriate.

  1. SOREDI Wildfire Recovery Fund Grant Portal Opened

The SOREDI Foundation opened its grant portal for businesses impacted by the 2020 Labor Day fires.  The portal, which opened April 5, will remain open until April 19. No doubt, there is lots of need for this recovery funding and we have already received nearly 40 applications. Please share this link with businesses who suffered loss from the wildfires – Grants — SOREDI Foundation. We know we will likely not be able to fund every application with the small amount of funding we currently have available, but we will keep seeking additional funding, such as noted in SOREDI Digest item #2.

  1. Oregon Housing and Community Services Disaster Recovery

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) allocated over $422 million to seven Oregon counties impacted by the Labor Day fires of 2020, primarily for housing. The funds are being administrated through the Oregon Housing and Community Services department (OHCS). However, an eligible use of these funds includes economic revitalization programs, such as loans or grants to small businesses to help revive the local economy. Far be it from SOREDI, who is wildly serious about business development and recovery, to simply wait for any leftovers in funding for the business community.  Businesses are the foundation for economic recovery and SOREDI has proactively submitted a proposal to OHCS for small 5% carve out of the funds made available for Southern Oregon, to be specifically designated for business help.

  1. Moving Forward Through Change Series Filmed

The kickoff to our industry-specific leadership series starts next week! We finished filming a short special on the construction/development/real estate world, and we’re (so) ready to share that on April 21 and April 27. Learn from your peers, enjoy some refreshments, and network. Register here!

  1. Enterprise Zone Management

April 1 marked a rather critical deadline to file annual exemption claims/property schedules for approved business applicants receiving property tax abatement incentives.  As the appointed enterprise zone manager for all 4 zones in our region, SOREDI coordinated those annual filings for 30 open exemption claim applicants within our two county assessor’s offices. Those 30 companies have realized a net gain of 252 new jobs (minimally), in addition to retaining 741 existing jobs, per their original application.  Want to learn more about this incentive for traded sector companies and hotel developments? Go here: Incentives & Financing – SOREDI

  1. Relocation Leads Response

SOREDI continues to respond to relocation leads from a variety of referrals and sources. Project Green has been particularly active in the last several months and we’ve helped facilitate numerous meetings with critical partners like Jackson County, Business Oregon, RHT Energy, Rogue Valley Sewer Service, Avista Natural Gas, Pacific Power, and more.  The company is now in due diligence to purchase property and build a new facility.  They’re expected to break ground in Summer 2022 and be operational by March 2024. A few other strong leads are also in various stages of development within the region.

  1. Giddy Up for our “Round Up on the Rogue “Annual Meeting

Are you a fan of the Hellgate Jetboats in Grants Pass? SOREDI’s 2022 Annual Dinner is set for June 30, with a pre-launch fundraiser-reception for the SOREDI Foundation and fabulous dinner excursion for 168 SOREDI pardners. If you haven’t yet reserved your seats, please register now here!

  1. Engage, Engage, Engage

In keeping with initiatives within our One Rogue Valley Strategy, SOREDI consistently engages with partners throughout our two-county region on a variety of topics. Engagements over the last two months range from wildfire recovery brainstorming discussions with elected officials, to engagement with consultants for the Ashland Business Diversification Study, to dialogue with Illinois Valley Community Development Organizations (IVCDO) to collaborate on their new business grant opportunity, to the Rogue Community College presidential search and budget committee meetings, to the City of Phoenix’s business town hall…and more!

  1. Letters of Support

SOREDI writes support letters for our partners who are seeking to add to the economic vitality of Southern Oregon, particularly when their initiatives align with our One Rogue Valley Strategy. In the current fiscal year, SOREDI has provided eleven support letters, including ones to the City of Medford, Rogue Community College, the Rogue Valley International Medford Airport, Kid Time, New Spirit Village, and the Oregon Mass Timber Coalition.

  1. Southern Oregon Edge

In addition to a periodic blog like this, SOREDI publishes Southern Oregon Business EDGE Profiles, which highlight local business stories along with potential career opportunities for students in the region. The newest of these profiles is Cummins, located in Talent. Read any of SOREDI’s profiles here.

  1. Staff Celebrated

Last but not least, a huge shout out to two stellar staff professionals.  Kim “Ginger Snap” Young, our Loan Analyst and Business Development Manager celebrated a birthday on April 13, and Terrill “Peanut Butter” Roper, our Disaster Recovery and Resiliency Liaison, celebrated one year with SOREDI! That called for a spontaneous staff lunch and some bagels, brownies, and donuts. Sugar may be just one of the secret ingredients to our success!

And lest we leave you without a sweet morsel of new, highly important dessert news, here’s your closing Reader’s Digest moment:

Did you know that German Chocolate Cake is not actually German? It was invented in Texas, and named after Mr. Samuel German, a chocolate bar maker.

Impress your friends with that factoid the next time you whip up a cake or determine that your SOREDI staff may be needing a new batch of sweets to keep our engines humming. (Office hours here: 8 am – 5 pm Monday through Friday – drop by anytime!)


Colleen Padilla, Executive Director

Cookie Name: Snickerdoodle

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