Clatsop Economic Development Resources was co-founded in 2008 by Skip Hauke and Al Smiles. At the time, Hauke was the executive director of the Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce and Smiles was the executive director of the Seaside Chamber of Commerce. They saw a critical need to pull together the over two dozen groups around Clatsop County focused on economic development in their communities. Most of those groups held informal meetings on an occasional basis, and did not achieve significant results because the groups were splintered and siloed in their efforts.

Hauke and Smiles saw the opportunity to build a unified countywide voice for economic development, and CEDR was created as a 501(c)(6) corporation, with a board of directors from both the public and private sector. Clatsop Community College is the employer of the executive director and team, and has served the college well as the business voice of the college.

Permanent members include Clatsop County, the cities of Astoria, Cannon Beach, Gearhart, Seaside and Warrenton, Clatsop Community College and the Port of Astoria.

On the private sector side, the board has evolved to represent the key sectors in the county’s economy. Private sector members today represent hospitality, craft brewing and restaurants, timber and wood products, banks/financial services, fishing/seafood processing, small business retail, the arts and utilities.

Columbia Memorial Hospital and Providence Seaside Hospital are permanent members, as is the Georgia-Pacific Wauna mill and the Astoria-Warrenton, Cannon Beach and Seaside chambers of commerce. The two hospitals and the three chambers alternate as voting members and advisory (non-voting) on a rotational basis.

CEDR is very unique in the state in its alignment with the Clatsop Community College Small Business Development Center, which has been part of the college since the early 1980s, and the Clatsop WORKS Summer Paid Internship Program, which was founded in 2018.

CEDR focuses on broader economic development issues like housing, child care and workforce development, and has a seat at the table and membership in local and regional organizations, like the Columbia-Pacific Economic Development District, the federally designated geographic area comprised of Clatsop, Columbia, Tillamook and western Washington County, and the NW Oregon Regional Solutions Team through the governor’s office.

CEDR also works very closely with the cities, Clatsop County, our elected officials, including state Sen. Betsy Johnson and Rep. Suzanne Weber, and our federally elected officials and field offices.

CEDR has organized and led the Clatsop Job & Career Fair along with the Oregon Employment Department for the past several years (pre-pandemic) and plans to step up again with the school districts, Clatsop Community College and our area employers.

As executive director of CEDR, I also serve as the enterprise zone manager for Clatsop County.

The Clatsop Community College Small Business Development Center is part of the statewide Oregon Small Business Development Center Network, one of 19 centers in the state. We are also a member of the national organization, America’s SBDC.

The core mission of the SBDC is no cost and confidential one-on-one business advising, training and education resources for new and existing businesses. The Clatsop SBDC has led the state in a number of workshop training events over the past two years, and continues to provide cutting-edge and world class training for our business community.

The Clatsop SBDC continues to prioritize the under-served populations, including women-owned, Latino and other minority owned businesses.

The CEDR Clatsop WORKS Summer Paid Internship Program is entering its fifth year in 2022, and as part of the CEDR organization, provides paid career exploration opportunities through many Clatsop County employers for high school and college students, and has embarked on an expansion of the program for year-round professional development and job exploration opportunities.

On behalf of the CEDR board and organization, I would like to extend our thanks and praise to Hauke, the organization’s co-founder and visionary, who invested hundreds of hours of service to the CEDR board, and as a mentor to me over many, many years.

If not for Hauke, there would not be a CEDR.

Kevin Leahy is the executive director of Clatsop Economic Development Resources and the Clatsop Community College Small Business Development Center. Reach him at kleahy@clatsopcc.edu or call 503-338-2402.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.