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Tribes Hosting Second SiteLink Forum

April 2015, CUJ
More global site selectors taking in rural America at Wildhorse conference.
MISSION – A second conference here in early May could draw business and economic development to the Umatilla Indian Reservation, according to Bill Tovey, Director of Economic and Community Development.

The Confederated Tribes’ Coyote Business Park will collaborate again May 6-8 with Webster Global Site Selectors in hosting a Site Link Forum where seven site selectors from different firms will meet with economic developers to familiarize themselves with new sites, potentially for their clients. Site selectors are specialists hired to identify the best places for corporations to plan their next facility.

Paige Webster, President of Webster Global Site Selectors in Phoenix, the organizer and one of the site selectors who will be at the conference at Wildhorse next month is excited about the event.

“We have many clients looking to expand their businesses and this showcases not only the Umatilla tribe and the region, but all of the Northwest,” he said.

In addition to the site selectors, up to 75 different economic developers representing communities from around the country will attend the event to have the chance to pitch their communities to the site selectors to get on their radar screens.

“Here’s the thing,” said Webster, “we have people from other areas of the country flying to Pendleton to have access to seven national site selectors. Anytime you have an event like this people are interested in talking to consultants.”

The Tribes are interested in continued development of Coyote Business Park, in addition to Wanapa Industrial Site, which is currently in development through a grant from the State of Oregon. The Wanapa site is 195 acres of industrial property located on the Columbia River near the Port of Umatilla. The goal is to provide locations for activities such as manufacturing and warehousing to develop more economic diversity.

“We hope over time awareness of our sites will continue to grow and stay in the minds of decision makers,” Stephanie Seamans, DECD Business Development Manager, said.

“In the business location industry a large number of projects are handled by site selectors, and if you’re not on their radar screen, you may not even know a company was considering your area. Especially in rural areas, it is difficult to make these connections and get the consultants to your site to kick the dirt and see what a place has to offer,” Seamans said.

This conference has also brought together the region and its other economic development engines. Coyote Business Park, Pacific Power, the State of Oregon, Umatilla County, and Northwest Farm Credit Services are all helping to support the event, along with the City of Pendleton and the Round-Up Community Development Corporation.

Webster met the DECD team at a similar conference in Salt Lake City two years ago and has liked what he’s seen so much that, after a visit in September of 2013, he chose Wildhorse Resort & Casino as a venue for the first in a series of forums because he hopes to focus on rural development in America.

For more information, visit sitelinkforum. com, the official website for the
event.

This story originally appeared in the CUJ. The Confederated Umatilla Journal is the monthly newspaper of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Pendleton, Oregon.