The EDCO Annual Luncheon is a mainstay event among the brokers at Compass Commercial. Each year, there is a large group of brokers who attend among other community business leaders, owners and investors to hear from EDCO about the economic status of Central Oregon and where we are going. This year was no exception; we had 10 brokers and two staff members in attendance.
The topic of community capitalism was woven throughout the luncheon in a variety of moments, and was defined as building a strong local economic standing through improvements at the community level. Bend has recently been named at the top of many national lists for best place to live, top boom town, best location to retire, etc. When it comes to maintaining an amazing quality of life in Bend, EDCO works to recruit and retain businesses that will increase the community capitalism.
Overall, the report of the economy in Bend is good. According to the Milken Institute Report, the Bend/Redmond region led the nation in job growth with a 6.6% increase moving up from #8 in 2015 to #1 in 2016. In addition, according to EDCO, 212 companies are currently considering relocation or expansion to Central Oregon which could potentially bring 2,400 new jobs and $2.5 billion in capital investments. The educational system across the spectrum is going well. The addition of OSU-Cascades 4-year campus has allowed Bend to better serve the region.
Keynote speaker, Ron Kitchens spoke with conviction and authority on the topic of the day, sharing the benefits of having a perspective connected to the local community. As part of the keynote address, he highlighted how working to improve a city through local programs is quicker and more effective for the local economy than waiting for a program at the federal level to trickle down.
Ron specifically shared about Kalamazoo, Michigan and what they have done to create a “sticky city.” This can be defined as a metro area with a culture where residents, particularly its young people, are educated and trained with the end goal that they will stay in the city to work in local industries. He shared initiatives the city of Kalamazoo has implemented to build a culture to educate students well within the K-12 school system, and then to keep students on the path to higher education with a 4-year scholarship opportunity called the Kalamazoo Promise. They also work closely to bring in companies with incentives that benefit both parties for the long-term.
The insights shared during the luncheon encouraged business leaders to have confidence in the direction of Central Oregon, but it also helped stir some creativity for the future. Compass Commercial brokers continue to partner with EDCO and bring community capitalism into each commercial real estate transaction throughout Central Oregon as a matter of practice.
Zolo Media covered the event. If you wish to view the story, watch here.