WealthWorks in Action on Oregon's North Coast

Oregon's North Coast region is highlighted in a WealthWorks economic development success story featuring their efforts to develop the small-scale seafood value chain in Garibaldi and Tillamook County dating back to 2013 when RDI launched a pilot program to encourage rural regions throughout the state to explore the principles of WealthWorks, including building value chains and identifying assets and different forms of wealth.
 
A diverse group of partners serving the area came together to drive this initiative and explore the possibilities for the North Coast. In addition to RDI, these included the Columbia-Pacific Economic Development District (Col-Pac); the Port of Garibaldi; the Economic Development Council of Tillamook County; Visit Tillamook Coast; and the Tillamook Bay Community College Small Business Development Center. The strength of this coalition is its breadth of expertise and the mix of resources each organization brings to the initiative.
 
In January 2017, with funding from the Ford Family Foundation, Col-Pac contracted with two staff members from Ecotrust (with over 20 years’ experience serving fishing communities) to serve as value chain coordinator. “Fishing communities across the country are grappling with the interrelated challenges of maintaining or reviving their economic, social, cultural, and ecological wellbeing in the face of change,” says Kelly Harrell, one of the value chain coordinators with Ecotrust. “WealthWorks offers a different, more enlightened model of economic and community development that addresses root causes that are at the core of thriving fishing communities. For example, the WealthWorks focus on local ownership gets at the heart of the struggle to empower fishermen and reverse consolidation within the industry.”
 
With the value chain coordinator in place, the partners took a deep dive into analyzing and understanding the intricacies of the local seafood industry. This included conducting research, organizing partner meetings, carrying out interviews and surveys with fishermen and regional partners, participating in local events, and mapping out the value chain. Through this effort, key priorities emerged for growing the value chain: improving seafood industry infrastructure; monitoring and enhancing local fisheries access and ownership; and supporting fishermen and seafood businesses in business development and connections to markets. Click here to read the story in its entirety.
 
WealthWorks is a 21st-century approach to local and regional economic development that belongs in every community and economic development toolkit. WealthWorks brings together and connects a community’s assets to meet market demand in ways that build livelihoods that last. WealthWorks aims to advance a region’s overall prosperity and self-reliance, strengthen existing and emerging sectors, and increase jobs and incomes for lower-income residents and firms — all at the same time. It can work for people, firms and places of all sizes, shapes and success levels. Learn More >>