Just last week, the Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce held its 65th annual awards dinner. While the chamber celebrates Douglas County businesses every day, this annual event gives us the opportunity to bring our members together for a night of celebration of those local businesses. The evening’s theme was, “Your Business . . . Our Priority.” Truly a Roseburg Chamber mantra and a reminder to our members and the community what the chamber is all about.

Everything the Roseburg Area Chamber does…every position it takes, every legislative bill it opposes or supports, every candidate it endorses, every referral given or relocation request responded to, is about serving our member businesses. Although both professional staff and committee and board volunteers take their responsibility to business very personally, the issues the chamber weighs in on are not founded in personal beliefs or opinions. The determining factor is always about what is in the best interest of the overall business community.

The chamber was honored to share with its membership during the evening festivities, the list of these activities and chamber’s accomplishments for the past year. At the top of the list was that each candidate the chamber endorsed in 2018 was elected or re-elected to local or state office. Chamber leadership informed the membership of the many activities the chamber undertook last year to further promote and protect local business, through its member programs, professional networking events, political advocacy, support of major economic development endeavors and visitor destination marketing success.

Of course, as the ceremonial gavel is handed from one board chair to the next, it is also an evening to talk about the chamber’s priorities for 2019. Under the implementation of it 2019-2020 Public Affairs and Legislative Agenda, the chamber will continue its core role advocating on issues on behalf of Douglas County businesses. The chamber participates with local, regional and statewide coalitions to oppose anti-business and support pro-business initiatives, specifically during the 2019 Oregon legislative session. Specific opposition will include: cap and trade, protected employee status additions, elimination of small business tax cuts, proposed corporate tax on gross sales and paid family leave proposals, to name a few.

We will continue to hold regular meetings with elected officials to ensure the voice of business is heard.

Other priorities for 2019 include looking at areas where we can offer support for proposals and issues that can grow our local economy. This includes advocating for effective forest management on public lands to include increased harvest and reforestation which is imperative to economic growth and long-term sustainability; proper management after a fire/catastrophic event. It also includes supporting the Jordan Cove LNG & Pacific Connector pipeline project, as well as the medical training/education campus and other significant economic proposals.

To be a better resource for our members, the chamber is launching a new chamber website later this month with social media platforms in place this summer. The chamber will continue and improve things we’ve always done such as promoting and referring member businesses and providing opportunities for self-promotion of our businesses, their products and services. We will continue to deliver high-caliber programs, activities and opportunities dedicated to the benefit and support of the Douglas County business community.

The chamber will continue to grow Roseburg and the Land of Umpqua as a visitor destination, advancing our highly successful, fully-integrated visitor destination marketing, advertising and branding campaign in large markets with year-round promotion.

It’s going to be a busy year, again, at the Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce. For details about the chamber’s 2018 activities, 2019 priorities and a recap of the annual awards dinner honors and honorees, please check out the chamber’s website at roseburgareachamber.org or call us at the chamber.

Debbie Fromdahl is the president and CEO of the Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce.

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When is this Chamber of Commerce going to actually represent its members instead of its itty bitty little special interest cliques headed up by its stale and noncreative ED? And what is with supporting Jordan Cove and the Pacific Connector project? It isn't even within their service area. The Roseburg City Council needs to take a very long, hard look at the amount of money it gives this very moribund organization.

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