Of the Keizertimes

Would Keizer be willing to take steps to find out what attracts businesses to town?

In essence, that was the question posed during a recent Economic Development and Government Affairs (EDGA) meeting held at Keizer Civic Center.

Nick Harville, Business Retention and Expansion Manager at Strategic Economic Development Corporation (SEDCOR) gave an explanation of his program. He also showed a video from the University of Minnesota, which has the top Business Retention and Expansion (BR&E) program in the country.

“So far 18 communities in Polk and Marion Counties have been willing to take this on,” Harville said. “Communities have to take ownership. This is business people talking to business people, finding what the issues are in the community.”

After showing the video, Harville noted the University of Minnesota has configured surveys for a variety of types of businesses and needs since the early 1980s.

“They have them worked out, so each community picks out what to be surveyed about,” he said.

Christine Dieker, executive director of the Keizer Chamber of Commerce, referenced the growth in the Keizer medical community.

“So if we want to have a focus on medical, we can ask them the questions,” Dieker said.

Harville recommended a “diverse group” do the surveys.

“I like this so far,” mayor Lore Christopher said.

Harville said nearby cities such as Salem, Silverton and Donald are wanting to come on board.

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