A sustainable, strong local economy is the backbone of healthy communities. Tillamook County is home to hundreds of hard-working, dedicated small businesses, each of which is striving to build a respectable business enterprise.
One of the things I like most about Tillamook County is that the local economy does not rely on one industry, but stands on several legs. Farming put the county on the map, and remains a vital driver in the local economy, but also important are the traditional pillars of timber and fishing. In recent years tourism and the service industry have grown to represent a fourth pillar in the local economy.
We need to work hard, both behind the scenes and publicly, to ensure that each of these four pillars of the economy can function not only in harmony with each other, but also in harmony with themselves, in a sustainable fashion. We have to admit that we will never return to the days when thousands of loggers camped in what is now the Tillamook Forest, and sent logs down by rail to a host of sawmills lined up along Hoquarton Slough – but that doesn’t mean we have to turn our back on this industry! A sustainable timber industry translates into long-term jobs, which support future generations, just as sustainable agricultural practices translate into higher yields and better jobs for the next generation of family farmers.
Tourism has and will continue to grow, so we need to make sure we are prepared for it and growing with it. We need housing and restaurants not only for visiting tourists, but for local families as well – and local residents enjoy paddling on a kayak to explore Botts Marsh or Netarts Bay just like visitors from out-of-state.
Additionally, we need to recognize that unions have a valuable role to play in our society, and are responsible for many of the advances in workplace safety that we take for granted today. Employees should not be denied the right to organize. Moreover, it is our job, as leaders, to work together with unions, and create a better working environment for our employees and our community. The union should be an ally, not an opponent.