Community Council looks at regional economy

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A local study group is turning its attention to studying how the regional economy could benefit from the creation of businesses that add value to agricultural and forestry resources.

The Community Council, which previously studied how to enhance education for area children, is carrying out the new study.

What exactly constitutes a business that adds value to a commodity?

One example of this kind of business is wine, said Rory McLellan, a council program committee chairman, in a news release.

"It not only turns the locally grown grape into wine, but there are opportunities for related businesses, such as those supporting ecotourism," he said.

You could say the same thing for vodka, and swap wheat for grapes, of course, or a number of other products.

McLellan said factors involved in narrowing the study options include that the region is rich in natural resources, has infrastructure in place, access to shipping, and proactive Ports and strong community spirit.

In addition, there are plentiful potential employees and the Northwest enjoys expertise in developing these kinds of industries.

"This topic intrigued the selection committee because of its potential to create jobs, as well as to utilize resources that are going to waste. In some cases there is a cost to not using those by-products, so there could be multiple benefits," McClellan said.

When the study group meets this fall, residents are urged to join in. According to the release, what you would be signing up for includes:

A review of value-adding efforts under way in the region.

Identification of underused regional resources.

Assessment of work force capabilities and regulatory and infrastructure capacities.

Exploration of practices elsewhere.

And of course, recommendations for action.

To serve on the group or submit ideas for future topics, contact Julie Reese, Community Council executive director, at 540-6720 or julie@wallawallavitalsigns.org or mail contact information to Community Council, P.O. Box 2936, Walla Walla, WA 99362.

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A College Place couple's home soon will be the beneficiary of a bank's beautification efforts.

Banner Bank employees will volunteer to paint the fence, sheds and exterior of a Southwest First Street home on Sept. 12 and 13, said a news release.

The College Place project will be the fifth of the year in the bank's Paint the Town program, which gives a helping hand to seniors and people with disabilities.

Sherwin-Williams will provide discounted paint and supplies and the use of a power washer for the project.

Strictly Business is a local business column. Alasdair Stewart can be reached at alasdairstewart@wwub.com or 526-8311.

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