Driving economic development in Southern Oregon

More than 30 years ago, Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development Inc. (SOREDI) was founded by community leaders and the boards of commissioners of Jackson and Josephine counties to increase the long-term prosperity of the two-county region.

As the region’s natural gas provider, Avista Utilities has been a legacy partner in SOREDI since 1987.

The award-winning economic development non-profit is the first point of contact for business expansion and relocation assistance in the beautiful Rogue Valley. Steve Vincent, Oregon Regional Business Manager for Avista has been involved in SOREDI as a volunteer, advocate and board member since 1997 just recently finishing a two-year term as President of the Board.

“SOREDI has always been a regional champion driving our economy in southern Oregon,” Steve explained. “Since the pandemic hit, SOREDI has become a go-to agency for businesses seeking COVID relief through grants and other resources. SOREDI’s role has significantly expanded these past ten months as federal, state and local governments, chambers of commerce and other stakeholders have turned to SOREDI for help. I’m just thrilled with where SOREDI is today.”

Executive director Colleen Padilla and her productive staff of five completed the swift and efficient distribution of $4.85 million in federal, state and local COVID related grants to 456 businesses and non-profits across the two counties.

Steve sees a bright future for SOREDI and economic prosperity in southern Oregon as the region recovers from the pandemic and wildfires that struck in 2020. As SOREDI enters 2021, it remains poised to serve with a dedicated staff, board and partners that are actively involved in driving economic vitality in southern Oregon through the One Rogue Valley comprehensive plan. Finalized in late 2019 by over 100 local partners, this five-year comprehensive economic development strategy serves as the region’s implementation plan to achieve economic prosperity.

SOREDI serves the economic development interests of the private sectors as well as the 13 incorporated cities including Ashland, Butte Falls, Cave Junction, Central Point, Eagle Point, Gold Hill, Grants Pass, Jacksonville, Medford, Phoenix, Rogue River, Talent, and Shady Cove. SOREDI is the Economic Development District designated by the U.S. Department of Commerce, manager of the State of Oregon’s Enterprise Zones, and revolving loan fund manager funded by U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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