By Justin Aufdermauer
It’s fair week! I know that means I will be seeing a lot of you over the next few days as we all indulge in a little too much ice cream and carnival food, and marvel over the wonderful work our 4H community has been up to this year, and enjoy some exhilarating horse racing and fun concerts.
The fair is a Tillamook tradition, and one we all look forward to each year. When you’re a kid, the fair marks the last summer hoorah before it’s time to go back to school. It’s one of the last weeks you get to stay out late with your friends and not have to worry about what the morning brings.
We’ve been having a great summer at the Chamber. We’ve seen a massive amount of progress on the highway project, and got to experience along with the rest of you what it’s like to lose your sidewalks and then get brand new ones. We played host to some of our favorite summertime events this year, including the June Dairy Parade and the Cork & Brew Tour, and watched as downtown partnerships formed to create other monthly events that have kept the foot traffic flowing through the construction. We also took over the management of the Tillamook Farmers Market and have worked hard to grow that weekly event with new vendors, lively music and fun activities for the kids. To say we’ve been busy this summer would be an understatement.
And yet amongst all the summer fun, we’ve still been attending to “business as usual” and as fall approaches we are excited to settle in and get back to work with everyone else. At the beginning of each year our Board and Staff meet for a planning retreat that outlines what the Chamber will focus on the following year. However this year was different; we’ve grown and created so many new partnerships over the past couple years that it was time to hit the reset button on how the Chamber is organized and functions as a group. Why does this matter to the businesses and the community? Because, being more efficient with our time, talents and resources will have a much greater ability to build a strong community where businesses can thrive (that’s our mission.)
Our new structure went into effect at the beginning of July and lends itself to five teams: Leadership, Connections, Growth, Community Engagement, and Advocacy. Each team addresses a different aspect of work that the Chamber does – from growing our membership base to advocating for a healthy economy though aligning local business and government.
As these teams start ramping up their project lists, we will be sharing their progress and the new, exciting things coming out of the Chamber. Things like workforce housing initiatives, public policy development, website redesigns, a new focus on directing tourists through Tillamook, grant assistance, educational materials for business owners, retail-focused workshops and in some cases simply recognizing individuals and businesses who make our area a better place to live, work, and play.
Stay tuned because just because summer is drawing to a close doesn’t mean we will be sitting on our laurels and hibernating for the winter. There is a lot to do and we are excited to get started!