Commentary – French Prairie’s Opportunity For Economic Growth

As the Outlook reported earlier this week, St. Paul was chosen by a film crew as a set location for a historical drama. The crew will back in the area and elsewhere in French Prairie in about two to three weeks. Although brief, the visit has boosted the town’s local economy. Crew members visited local businesses for food and supplies, and the non-profit St. Paul Rodeo Association was able to lease its ground and facilities. Perhaps best of all, St. Paul and French Prairie’s rural beauty were showcased as a possible future location for Portland’s burgeoning independent film industry.  This is just one small example of the exciting opportunities coming to French Prairie communities.

French Prairie stands to benefit handsomely from its location in the Willamette Valley with easy access to highways, high quality agricultural products, and a small but vibrant industrial base. In Donald, Blue Diamond Growers just completed its new filbert plant (“hazelnuts” to you outsiders), and nearby GK Machine has positioned itself well for some serious expansion. And from its small beginning in St. Paul, Ernst Irrigation now serves the needs of farmers and growers all over the western United States.

Our agricultural heritage continues to be at the forefront of the area’s economy. Wineries, and craft breweries are sprouting up, and our local hops are sought by brewers all over the world. Local produce is second to none, and agri-tourism is a budding industry.

An important element of French Prairie’s success and economic growth is the Branding Initiative sponsored by Friends of French Prairie. The initiative provides a recognizable brand identity that can be used by retailers, producers to promote French Prairie products and services to consumers, who will come to know that French Prairie products are of high quality, locally produced, and the purchase proceeds will help to support local farming in the heartland of the Willamette Valley.

The Outlook urges French Prairie residents, businesses, and communities to consider becoming a part of the Branding Initiative and help our area thrive. For more information about the initiative, visit the website.