Success in economic development is about forming partnerships to provide the resources employers need. In Malheur County, companies are often surprised to find out about the many resources available. From startups to established companies, your local partners can assist you on multiple fronts to grow, strengthen or expand your business. These resources are no-cost and confidential.

Seeking employees: If you are a business in search of new employees, stop by the local WorkSource Oregon office. Did you know WorkSource Oregon is willing to come to your business to learn firsthand about your company and labor needs? From there, you can give WorkSource Oregon a list of qualities and requirements you need new hires to have. Their talented staff will then list your job offer and provide pre-screening interviews and skill assessment tests. These will make sure that the applications you receive match your requirements, saving you time and resources.

Small business consulting: Are you seeking help writing a business plan or filing your businesses? The local Treasure Valley Community College Small Business Development Center provides one-on-one counseling that will walk you through drafting a business plan or advising you on other basic business needs.

Business incentive programs: Malheur County and the state of Oregon have many business incentive programs that are available to businesses looking to start, grow or relocate in Oregon. Many of the programs are managed locally by the Malheur County Economic Development Office. Others are managed by our local Business Oregon Business Development Office.

Government regulation: The state of Oregon has a team in place consisting of representatives from the five major agencies called regional solutions. Their task is to help projects and businesses navigate through regulations that are holding up the process. They work hand in hand with local economic development partners and employers to find solutions that work for everyone and advocate on behalf of the region.

Oregon also has a small business advocate through the Oregon Secretary of State whose sole purpose is to help employers that have found themselves stuck in a regulation cycle. The advocate then works on your behalf with the agency in question with statutory authority to find where in the process the employer is at with an agency and what the holdup is. The advocate helps find a resolution and then proposes legislation during the next legislative session to make sure similar problems do not occur again.

Marketing: There is no substitute for your best marketing partners in economic development, including the Nyssa, Ontario and Vale chambers of commerce; Snake River Economic Development Alliance; and local media. As a member of a local chamber, you gain advocates and additional marketing avenues. Your local media will partner with you to target market customers and provide you with hard numbers and estimates.

These are just a few of the partners that work together to make sure employers have local resources available to them in whatever stage of business they find themselves. Malheur County Economic Development can serve as your point of contact for any of the above contacts. Contact us today, and we can help navigate you to whoever would be the best fit. The goal of your economic development team is to be there for you when you need assistance.

SALEM, Ore.-The Oregon Legislature, in the short 2016 Session just ended, approved $2 million of funding for the Juntura Cutoff Road Project in Malheur and Harney Counties. The funding will complete the $6.9 million dollar sum needed for the project which will reconstruct the failing road, providing essential support for local industry, ranching access, and recreational opportunities.

The Juntura Cutoff Road is of high importance for local economic development partners. The extraordinarily poor condition of the 7-mile long road has dramatically increased the cost of the mining operations conducted by EP Minerals, one of Malheur County's largest employers. Currently, the road serves as the main access point to the mine and a transportation route from the mine to EP Mineral's production facility in Vale. E. P. Minerals, Malheur County Economic Development, Business Oregon, ODOT, and Regional Solutions have coordinated to construct a financial package to fund the estimated $6.9 million project. To date, they had secured approximately $5.4 million. The $2 million allocation from the Legislature will complete the funding for the project.

"E.P. Minerals, Malheur County Economic Development, Business Oregon, ODOT, Regional Solutions and both Malheur and Harney Counties have done great work in finding available funds to fix this critical access road," said Representative Cliff Bentz (R-Ontario). "The fact that a substantial portion of the mine is located on a State of Oregon School section of land, generating some 500,000.00 per year in mineral royalties to the state, certainly helped in making the argument that the state should contribute to the project. I am pleased the Legislature has recognized the importance of this project and has allocated $2 million to finish the funding package. This has truly been a team effort."

In addition to supporting local business and industry, the Juntura Cutoff Road serves as a point of entry to both state and federal lands for recreational opportunities. During fire season, the road also serves as one of the few access points for firefighters to protect a significant amount of BLM rangeland.

In 2015, Rep. Bentz presented the Juntura Cutoff Road, and the mine that it serves, as an economic development opportunity at the Oregon Business Summit, and later to several legislative committees. Rep. Bentz thanks Senator Betsy Johnson, who, volunteering the use of her private airplane, flew a number of legislators to Ontario a year or so ago for the express purpose of touring the road and the mine. He also thanks Rep. Greg Smith for his work. Their efforts played a significant role in the positive outcome of this funding effort.


Representative Cliff Bentz


The Coronal Group (formally known as Helio Sage) is scheduled to begin construction on their Malheur County project at the end of the month and expects to be operational at the beginning of 2017. The project consists of six solar farms (one near Ontario, three near Nyssa, two near Vale). The company will be coordinating with Malheur County Economic Development and local job training providers to promote job openings in both the construction and post-construction phases. During the lifespan of the project, significant property tax revenue will also be generated for local communities, schools, and services.