A 70-year-old business like Englund Marine is a boon to a small town such as Astoria. Edward Stratton chronicled Englund’s anniversary celebration in our Tuesday edition.
Relatively few family businesses move past their first generation. Englund Marine is in its third generation of family owners. Over seven decades, the Englunds have been smart, agile managers. As Stratton reported, Englund Marine has moved well beyond Astoria’s boundaries, with locations up and down the Pacific Coast as well as inland. Englund employs 126 companywide.
There is an erroneous image that fishing and fish processing are dying industries. It is true there are fewer processors in Astoria than there were in 1970, for instance. But those that remain are healthy. And these survivors are, by definition, quite intelligent in how they operate.
Englund Marine’s health is directly related to the health of the coastwide fishing industry. When Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber stupidly and unilaterally curtailed gillnet fishing on the lower Columbia, Englund felt the pain of its longtime customers who ceased to invest in their boats. Kitzhaber’s ignorance reflects the myopic urban perspective on the natural resources economy.
Englund and other successful businesses here realize that economic diversity is essential. We all appreciate the sports fishermen who spend money here and bring enthusiasm to local streets and waters. But the Englunds have a front-row seat from which to observe how commercial fishing dollars also circulate through the community, making house payments and paying grocery bills for families that may never have the luxury of casting a fly line or trolling from the deck of a charter boat.
The virtue of local business ownership is the contribution it makes to community causes. The Englunds typify that. Jon Englund did a good job on the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission before Kitzhaber apparently decided our area doesn’t deserve a voice in resource management, leaving our seat unfilled since 2012.
Seventy years is a great achievement. Attaining another 70 will require not only smart and rugged entrepreneurial skills, but also attitudes in Salem and Washington, D.C., that support small businesses and responsible use of natural resources.