Leaders advocate regional approachWhat's good for tourism and business in Astoria and Warrenton is good for Seaside and Cannon Beach, and vice versa, representatives from the chambers of commerce told the Clatsop County Economic Development Council Tuesday night.

"The reality is, we are not in competition with each other," said John Compere, associate director of the Astoria-Warrenton Chamber of Commerce. "If somebody comes to visit our area, chances are they'll visit all of us."

Representatives from the Astoria-Warrenton, Seaside, and Cannon Beach chambers have been meeting about once a month for over a year. At these meetings, they discuss how to bring more tourist dollars to the north coast, with the realization that people don't just come to one of these cities, said Roger Rocka, executive director of the Astoria-Warrenton chamber.

He added that while some might say the chamber spends too much time and energy focusing on tourism, the ups and downs of that business affects other business in the region as well.

"Although (tourism) is kind of an ignored industry, it's a huge piece of our economy," said Ken Meiser, executive director of the Seaside Chamber of Commerce. "It should be nurtured and protected."

Speaking to the interests of the council, Rocka said that economic development "is one of the toughest, thorniest things that we work with. In Astoria-Warrenton, our chances for success are much greater at helping existing businesses get better."

He said that one idea the chambers were discussing was the need for someone to work in a countywide economic development position, improving existing businesses and attracting new ones.

As part of the regular reports of the economic development council, Chairwoman Rosemary Baker-Monaghan announced that all the bids were in for the commercial and industrial land inventory database the council is working on. Members will look at the proposals in the next few weeks.

Tod Jones of the CEDC fisheries project provided an update to the council. People involved with the project have been raising fish in net pens, and just completed a 10-year study funded by the Bonneville Power Administration. The details and results of the study have not been made public yet.

The meeting closed with the election of new officers. Don McDaniel is the new chairman, Don Larson is the new vice chairman, Ken Meiser is secretary-treasurer, and Victor Kee will head the Approved Interests Groups.

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