Strategic Doing in Yamhill County

December, 2016
The Yamhill County Economic Vitality Summit, Strategic Doing in Yamhill County, was held November 14 at the Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg. This one-day interactive summit brought together community members, stakeholders, and leaders who care about Yamhill County to identify priorities for action between now and 2020.
The summit was organized by RDI in support of Yamhill County and a diverse group of stakeholders committed to having people, businesses, and agencies work together to create community and economic opportunities. 
Prior to the event, folks in the county were surveyed to ask about key areas of concern, which shaped the following breakout topics:
  • Transportation: Transportation can be a barrier to economic vitality impacting workers and employers who need to connect with jobs, customers and basic services. 
  • Housing: There is a significant shortage of available housing in the county. This impacts employers, workers, universities, and others who want to work and live in Yamhill County.
  • Infrastructure: Infrastructure limitations impact growth opportunities, both for housing and businesses. Areas of challenge include: water, sewer, storm drains and broadband. 
  • Land: The availability of land for housing and employment growth impacts opportunities. 
  • Workforce and Talent Development: How can we leverage existing efforts to attract, train and retain workers? How do we grow and support our own?
The summit provided an opportunity to explore the breakout topics, set priorities to start working on, and begin a Strategic Doing™ process to move these priorities from ideas to actions, an effort which the University of Oregon Community Service Center is guiding over the next several months. Priorities emerged from a “Keep-Start-Stop” activity where the 93 participants reviewed each of the topic areas. A key for future efforts is the priorities that emerged on the “Start” lists. 
The top priorities identified by the summit participants in each area included:
  • Transportation: Develop a countywide structure to identify, prioritize, advocate, fund, and build projects and programs through broad collaborations
  • Housing: Build more mixed use housing and commercial buildings
  • Infrastructure: Enhance water availability through conservation, reuse, and technology
  • Land Availability: Link land uses, e.g. jobs and affordable housing, and incentivize high density family wage jobs through land use
  • Workforce and Talent Development: Enhance Career Technical Education to better align with college & workforce needs
Through future gatherings, priorities will be more clearly defined with specific initiatives designed and carried out through the Strategic Doing process over the next several months. In addition to summit participants, the net will be widely cast to identify and invite additional stakeholders to join the process and convert the priorities to actions. 
RDI’s Economic Vitality Summits focus on empowering rural economies and investing locally in the future of our communities, and include exciting strategies designed to inform what is happening locally and provide methods for boosting regional economic vitality. The goal is to increase economic vitality by sharing resources and generating new ideas to invigorate rural communities. For more information about the Yamhill County Economic Vitality Summit, contact Gary Stewart, email:, or phone: 503.537.6904.