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City Council discusses UO partnership, entrepreneurship and nonprofit aid during Mar 7 council meeting

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Oakridge City Hall

By ANDREW GRIFFIN/for The Herald  —  On March 7, the Oakridge city council held an information dense meeting in which they discussed the appointments, approved funding for a partnership with the U of O and renewed a contract for entrepreneur support services.

 

One key point of discussion was the approval of funding for the University of Oregon’s Sustainable City Year Program (SCYP) for Oakridge, which would allow U of O students to work with the city on the completion of specified projects.  According to a presentation at the meeting from the program’s director, Megan Banks, just one year of work through the program can potentially bring in hundreds of students from dozens of courses and disciplines to help accomplish city goals. 

A win-win for Oakridge and the university?

The program could also potentially bring in other universities to assist. Other universities that have worked through the program include Oregon State University, Portland State University and Eastern Oregon University. “For us, SCYP is providing a mechanism to get this knowledge into practice and help universities improve the quality of life for all Oregonians,” said Banks.

 

Oakridge is being offered a deal for the program, with it costing $50,000 as opposed to the normal $100,000 fee required. Additionally, the program would run for two years as opposed to the typical one year the program would normally run for, meaning that the cost could be split to only $25,000 a year. Within this period, Oakridge would be allowed to do up to 15 projects, with 8 currently being identified by the city.

According to the Council’s agenda bill for the program, these include developing the Oakridge Industrial Park, researching urban renewal practices and planning infrastructure improvements such as water and sewer system improvements.

It continues to RAIN in Oakridge

Another key item on the agenda was the renewal of the contract for RAIN Catalysts, a non-profit organization that assists entrepreneurs. According to their presentation at the meeting, RAIN does this in several ways, such as offering free mentoring and educational workshops, providing grants to help fund entrepreneurial pursuits and writing letters of support for entrepreneurs. 

For their services, RAIN now charges the city $10,000 a year for Oakridge to participate, up from $7,500. “It’s just really great, for all the wealth of knowledge that they bring to our citizens that are trying to make that step into creating their own business but have some apprehensions and need the know-how,” said Councilor Christina Hollett. “I cannot say enough wonderful things about RAIN and their group and the things that they have done for businesses that I’ve seen personally firsthand, so I’m excited to keep them on board.”

Committee appointments

Early in the meeting, Jude Anderson was approved for three different seats within Oakridge committees and commissions: He was approved for seat one on the Planning Commission, seat six on the Oakridge Economic Development Advisory Committee and seat three on the Admin Committee. Though Anderson has been appointed, he still cannot vote in the Admin Committee until the City Council approves new committee resolutions.

Andrew Griffin is a fourth-year student at the U of O School of Journalism and Communications. Andrew has experience as a freelance writer, having published work for the Clackamas Print, Daily Emerald, and Pamplin Media. Andrew also has experience in graphic design/web design.

 

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