The annual CEDR awards, conferred last week at the Seaside Civic and Convention Center, are a consistently inspirational glimpse into the lives and businesses of people doing innovative things here in the Columbia-Pacific region.
CEDR — Clatsop Economic Development Resources — thanks to Executive Director Kevin Leahy and an active board, is a particularly effective example of a local business-support organization. Too often, economic development can seem like an exercise in going through the motions without much genuine prospect for making a difference. But CEDR and Clatsop Community College’s Small Business Development Center — Leahy leads both — have been exceptionally active in terms of providing local entrepreneurs with the skill sets they need to have a legitimate shot at success in today’s complicated competitive environment.
SBDC was recently singled out as the best such entity among 19 in the state by the federal Small Business Association. This model of getting business education out of the classroom and putting it at the fingertips of people making real-world decisions is one that deserves widespread attention. Far too often, good business ideas and aspirations aren’t paired with the pragmatic skills needed to succeed over the long haul. SBDC effectively fills this gap.
Another notable award went to the parties that managed to cut through vast spools of red tape and give the Astoria community a big multipart victory. The Community Partnership Award went to Columbia Memorial Hospital, Astoria School District, the city of Astoria and Recology Western Oregon. The results are the tremendous new Astoria Sports Complex, essential future expansion space for CMH, long-term stability for an old landfill, and utilities for Recology.
Ultimately, this will mean even better health care services for people throughout the lower Columbia region, in addition to obvious immediate gains for local student athletes and spectators.
In a way resembling the modern medical strategy of arranging multiperson organ transplants in which everyone gives something and comes out with what they need, this multiparty community negotiation could be applied to countless other situations around the country. Effective, good-faith bargaining ended up with everyone coming away a winner. What an award-worthy outcome that is.
All the private-sector CEDR award winners are great examples of tenacity, good thinking and brave investment. As outlined in our story last Thursday, Warrenton Fiber-Nygaard Logging, Astoria Brewing Co., Buoy Beer Co., Englund Marine & Industrial Supply, Vintage Hardware, Main Street Market, and Fairweather House and Garden all deserve applause for making Clatsop County a place where people can make a living in one of the country’s most beautiful settings.
Businesses must never be taken for granted. The U.S. and the world are littered with enterprises that failed to prosper and have faded away. The CEDR Awards are an annual reminder that many of our neighbors work hard and are rewarded for their efforts. This is a big deal. Please join with us in congratulating them.