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Ashland Chamber of Commerce Economic Diversification Strategy
The Ashland Chamber is now in the implementation phase of the Ashland Economic Diversification Strategy. In 2021, a grant from SOREDI was awarded to the Ashland Chamber of Commerce for the development of an Economic Diversification Strategy. This is the most extensive research of the Ashland economy conducted in many decades. The Ashland Chamber believes that the success of the local economy has a direct impact on every member of our community. Our economy must be resilient and sustainable for the long term and our economy needs to work for everyone.
The goal of the study was to evaluate the current state of the economy in order to develop economic development strategies with actionable steps to diversify our local economy.
The project was undertaken in early 2022 and completed after six months of diligent work by ECONorthwest (the firm selected to do the study) and Ashland Chamber teams. We deeply appreciate the hundreds of businesses and community stakeholders who took the time to participate in the survey, an interview or focus group. Their thoughts were invaluable in providing the direction for the work. 
The result of the study identified four key pillars to focus on as we diversify and strengthen our economy and multiple key partners that will be counted on to be part of the process. Through this upcoming process, the Ashland Chamber of Commerce will seek to be a vital convener of subject matter experts, community leaders, community partners and interested citizens in each pillar so that we can provide the most forward-thinking ideas of how to continue to grow and diversify our economy to meet the challenges of the future.
This journey will not be a short one, nor should it be.  The diversification and strengthening of a local economy should always be an ongoing process that continually examines strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for a community.  It is then up to the community to respond with the appropriate actions and pivot when necessary to create a vibrant local economy that stands the test of time.
Colleen Padilla, Executive Director for SOREDI (Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development Inc.) stated; “SOREDI was pleased to pass through Cares Act funding to the Ashland Chamber of Commerce to commission this critical economic diversification study. While focused on Ashland in particular, this study nonetheless has valuable insights that are transferrable to all communities in our region. If there is anything to be learned following the pandemic, it is that we cannot remain status quo. We must be nimble, courageous, and committed to making relevant timely changes for the good of the entire Rogue Valley.”
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