SEDC outlines goals for supervisors

Danielle Jester

The Siskiyou Economic Development Council presented an update on its projects and activities to the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, and successfully renewed its memorandum of understanding with the county for providing economic development services. The new MOU contract term will run from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2024.

Along with the county, nine local cities are also part of the MOU with the Siskiyou EDC: Dorris, Dunsmuir, Etna, Fort Jones, Montague, Mount Shasta, Tulelake, Weed, and Yreka. The board unanimously approved funding of $130,000 a year to the SEDC for the upcoming contract period – a total of $650,000 over the course of the five year contract.

The SEDC has a number of projects it’s been working on, including brownfields cleanup and the pursuit of a workforce development grant. As always, the council is working to increase awareness of Siskiyou County as a travel destination and has helped the area be featured in 22 separate publications in the current fiscal year.

SEDC staff were excited to announce on Tuesday that Siskiyou County will be hosting the upcoming spring conference of the Outdoor Writers Association of California. The event will bring a large group of travel writers to the area, contributing to the local economy and outside awareness of Siskiyou County.

Tonya Dowse, SEDC Executive Director, noted that the SEDC is the point of contact for the California Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development, which often helps drive economic growth locally.

There are currently five different prospective companies looking at sites in Siskiyou County to locate their business, Dowse said. Three of those businesses were referred through the Governor’s Office.

While the board of supervisors did unanimously approve funding for the SEDC, District 2 Supervisor Ed Valenzuela had some sobering comments for the council. He detailed, “I’m looking out two to five years. [The County’s] budget isn’t going up, it’s going down.” Valenzuela said that he has not yet seen the county “move forward” economically based on the SEDC’s activities. “You’re going to have to really quantify it – what we’re getting back out of this,” he told council staff.

For the most part though, the board praised the SEDC’s efforts. Referring to funding the council’s work, District 4 Supervisor Lisa Nixon asserted, “I think this is the best place to spend our money.” District 3 Supervisor Michael Kobseff told the staff, “I don’t think anybody else could’ve brought Discover Siskiyou together but your organization.”

District 5 Supervisor Ray Haupt brought the council’s attention to some places with commercial development potential. He said that there is a probable upcoming closure of the Happy Camp Airport. With some work, Haupt said, the airpost site could be turned into a “prime commercial property.” He also mentioned the site of the old high school in Fort Jones and suggested looking for a grant to clean up the property and “have another commercial site freed up.”

The SEDC will be releasing its annual report within the coming weeks. To learn more about the SEDC, visit Discover Siskiyou’s site can be seen by visiting