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Agenda Item - 2021-12-21 - Number 4. - Public Comment - Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors 4. LAKE WE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE December 17, 2021 TO: Lake Oswego City Council FROM: Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors The following is written testimony for the December 21, 2021 session of the Lake Oswego City Council: Economic development is part of community development. It is rare that a vibrant community,with all the attributes we would like to see in our hometown Lake Oswego, can be built without an equally vibrant business community. And just like many elements of community development, economic development is a long-term endeavor but one with important positive impacts on the community, Lake Oswego has had a 'start-stop' history of economic development. While many good things have been accomplished over the past 10-12 years, some important aspects of the City's growth can be attributed to luck rather than a strong and consistent economic development program. As we discussed in our recent joint work session the post pandemic period is an important time to develop and strengthen ties between the community, our local businesses,their owners and the City. We also realize that the City, and the City Council in particular, has to deal with many near-term issues that can lower the importance and urgency of economic development. Adding to the staffing of the City may not appear justified in the near term to further important economic development tasks. Given the above,the Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce believes it is both important and urgent for economic development to be part of a strong foundation for the continued community development of Lake Oswego. The Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce,through its existing programs, is fulfilling some of these tasks. With some increased funding and program scope, the Chamber could play an even more important role in economic development efforts in Lake Oswego. We believe that over the short and medium term, the City of Lake Oswego should look to partner with the Chamber in some of its economic development tasks that need to be undertaken post pandemic. This can be done through mutually agreed to programs and associated renumeration to the Chamber for these Chamber efforts. Many neighboring communities are increasing their economic development profiles and Lake Oswego will find itself falling behind in developing strong ties with its business community if it doesn't look to the future differently than it has in the past. This topic has been discussed between Scot Siegel,the City's chief development and planning officer, and Jay Haladay,Vice President for Strategic Planning at the Chamber over the course of the past 525 Third Street, Suite 233 P.O. Box 368 www.lake-oswego.com Lake Oswego, OR 97034 503-636-3634 LAKE WE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE several months. Some comparisons and contrasts were drawn between the 2010 Chamber/City joint strategic plan and the more recent Chamber planning documents developed in 2021 both for their internal use and for use by a broader community audience. We believe there is a basis for a strong and consistent economic development plan in taking this work forward, starting sooner not later. Important to any economic/community development process is good data about the views and aspirations of community members. While we appreciate that the City just sent a 'survey' of a number of topics to residents and businesses,these appeared to be for near term direction rather than long term strategic planning and economic development purposes. To fill this need for data in a longer term context,the Chamber has authorized and will fund a market research program. This project will be undertaken by a marketing professional whose work is well known to City Council member Aaron Rapf. This research project will reach out to a wide range of voices within the Lake Oswego community. It will help us craft a strategic economic development plan that incorporates the values and strengths of our community. It will also help us move toward a community that truly meets the needs and aspirations of its residents and businesses. This effort on the Chamber's part should be viewed as the Chamber seeking to uphold its share of the economic development partnership described above. We trust that the City will uphold its share of this partnership by agreeing to fund economic development activities early in 2022. Debra Siegel, President, and Liz Hartman, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce will both attend the December 21st session should you have any questions or seek clarification. Additionally, other members of the Chamber Board of Directors will be attending remotely through the City's streaming services. Thank you and we look forward to working with the City of Lake Oswego in 2022. Sincerely, Board of Directors Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce Debbie Siegel, President Liz Hartman, Executive Director 525 Third Street, Suite 233 P.O. Box 368 www.lake-oswego.com Lake Oswego, OR 97034 503-636-3634