in retaining and creating living wage jobs in all the communities
of Walla Walla County can’t be realized without careful
That’s why the Port of Walla
Walla’s economic development efforts are guided by a
carefully designed, comprehensive plan. Economic Development
Director Paul Gerola said the six-part plan features specific
elements of work and includes benchmarks to be used in measuring
the success of development activities.
While not in any order of importance,
Gerola lists the elements of the plan as follows:
The lead for small business development
is taken by the Walla Walla Area Small Business Center. The
Center provides one-on-one business counseling and training
to business owners, operators and entrepreneurs. The Small
Business Center is a partnership between the Port, Walla Walla
Community College, The Small Business Administration, Washington
Manufacturing Services and Washington State University’s
Partnership for Rural Development. The Center is located in
the Port’s administration office building at 310 A Street,
Walla Walla Regional Airport.
BUSINESS RETENTION AND EXPANSION...
element is designed to provide assistance to businesses in
Walla Walla County. Activities include annual “status”
meetings with the county’s largest employers, supporting
expansions that provide family wage jobs and encouraging “buy
local” initiatives. Benchmarks include tracking the
number of businesses visited and the number of local businesses
expanding their operations.
RECRUITMENT MARKETING AND ADVERTISING...
work element encompasses marketing private and Port-owned
properties, recruiting new businesses, attending development
related trade shows, maintaining the Port’s Web pages,
conducting targeted marketing campaigns and developing promotional
brochures. Benchmarks include the number of qualified business
leads generated, new businesses locating in Walla Walla county
and the number and quality of jobs created.
AND INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT...
Activities in this element are designed
to identify and secure suitable sites for industrial and business
development. This may include obtaining proper zoning, and
extending roads, water, sewer and other utilities at the site.
Benchmarks are to complete at least two infrastructure projects
This initiative includes collecting,
analyzing and publishing economic and demographic profiles
of the Walla Walla Valley. The Port publishes a largest employer
list, labor market conditions and tourism economic indicators.
Benchmarks include utilization of the data by community policy
makers, existing businesses and prospective new businesses.
This part of the plan involves work
aimed at maintaining a positive climate for economic development
in Walla Walla County. Activities include encouraging city,
county, state and federal government agencies to maintain
a “friendly attitude” toward business in areas
relating to regulation, permitting and taxation. Benchmarks
include the presence of favorable policies affecting economic
growth and public understanding and support for local development
participation in the Port of Walla Walla’s
Economic Advisory Committee meetings is welcomed
and encouraged. Bi-monthly meetings start at Noon
in the Airport Terminal Building community meeting
you’d like to attend this regular review
of the implementation of the Economic Development
Plan and discuss current development issues call
509-525-3100 to be added to the Port’s committee