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Agendas and Minutes

Economic Development Ad-Hoc Committees (View All)

Technical Advisory Committee

Wednesday, December 09, 2009




December 9, 2009

51 Winburn Wy



Staff member Adam Hanks called the meeting to order at 3:02 p.m.



Committee members present: Bill Molnar, Sandra Slattery, Ron Fox, John Rinaldi, Jeff Griffen, Mallory Pierce, Larry Holzgang

Staff members present: Adam Hanks, Martha Bennett, Diana Shiplet



Hanks reviewed all the background documents he e-mailed the committee.  Committee members gave suggestions as to additional documents they would like, Hanks agreed to have those e-mailed prior to the next meeting.


Bennett gave a review of the overall process and how the two groups are connected as well as how each will work separately.  She reminded the committee that they are tasked with laying out the facts, data, and realities - even if that is difficult or unpleasant.


Bennett gave an overview of how she sees the process working and the rough timeline for each section of the process.  Roughly speaking, the S.W.A.T, and visioning and beginning of coming up with actions should take from now until April or May.  In April or May we will begin a process of outreach to both the community at large and to those with specialized knowledge about specific economic sectors.  After the outreach (60 days, roughly) we will move into the implementation phase where the Council adopts actions they can/should handle and they reach out to those in the community who should start working on pieces City of Ashland should not handle.  The implementation should take about 6 - 8 months.


The committee discussed the timeline, as well as how it fits in with the current EOA adoption timeline.



The Committee began outlining some of the trends they are seeing on the national, regional, and local levels.  Please see SWOT analysis below for more details.  Committee discussed how to deal with current data, which may not be accurate due to issues like:

    inclusion of college students (their age and income can skew data)

    missing home-based employment information (those who don't have a business license)

    those who work here but live elsewhere

    what is the maximum size for most businesses to effectively work in Ashland (i.e. how much can they grow?)


Committee also discussed some of the shifts in the overall economy with internet usage and the current national economy.


Committee member, Jim Fong arrived at 4:10 p.m.



Committee discussed Ashland strengths as a community and an economy.  Please see S.W.O.T. Analysis, Part 1, below.


Committee began discussing Ashland's weaknesses as a community and economy.  Please see S.W.O.T. Analysis, Part 1, below.



Meeting adjourned at 5:00 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,

Diana Shiplet, Executive Secretary       



S.W.O.T. Analysis, Part 1


Trends affecting Ashland


    Lack of capital at national level limits business relocating or growing here

    Inability to sell residential real estate elsewhere limits in-migration including entrepreneurs who often use house sale equity as start-up business capital.

    Drop in housing prices has allowed some folks to buy who previously couldn't.  Real estate at high end of market is stagnant, no capital moving

    How many businesses who will grow can grow in Ashland

    Population data may no accurately capture Ashland's entrepreneurs.  Entrepreneurs are attracted by uniqueness/creativity of Ashland

    15% of Ashland's employment is small self-employment.  Is there a way to measure these "hidden" businesses?

    Ashland's population is better educated than the average Oregon City (per capita?)

    Are we losing our recently educated citizens?  Don't know data on how many SOU grads stay in Ashland or the region

    Different demographic of people who are moving to Ashland, most are active, 2nd career folks

    OSF attendees are an increasingly aging demographic faster than regional and state average aging

    High percentage of Jefferson Grapevine applicants (venture/angel funding) are from Ashland



SWOT Draft Outline



    People can live anywhere... and Ashland has leveraged tourism to be known as a "top" place to live (using resources like Outside Magazine, National Geographic, Google lists, etc.)

    Close to airport with growing connections

    Recreational and cultural opportunities within minutes/miles

    Visitor experience is so excellent, people want to be here permanently

    OSF has a loyal customer base and a growing local customer base

    Ashland is a safe place.  There is a sense of safety and that Ashland is a restorative place to be.

    Entrepreneurial mindset and often not first timers in starting businesses

    Community supports creativity beyond OSF; retail, restaurants, visual arts, entrepreneurs.  They support nimble thinking businesses not "corporate" thinking.

    Appreciation for buying local (without sacrificing quality)

    Quality local retail sector without homogenization

    Specialty manufacturing, not corporate, tends to be creative

    Strong sense of preservation of the things Ashlanders love

    High quality public schools




    Displacement - locals displaced by immigrants

    Seasonality of tourism leaves retail sector vulnerable

    Cost and lack of variety of housing

    Constrained land supply and land available is expensive for growing companies.  Land that is available is likely to be expensive to develop.

    Expensive to develop

    Takes a long time to go through development process and outcome is uncertain

    Non-retail sector operates almost invisibly and citizens aren't conscious of their importance. 

    Non-retail sector is not valued or appreciated in community culture.

    No good metrics for relationship between local economy and community health

    Disconnect/ lack of awareness of business reality/economic realities (bigger than just Ashland)

    Lack of state support for higher education ($)

    Airport travel connections not good enough for most businesses (particularly international travel)

    Distance to market



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