Economic Devolopment Advisory Committee
If you’re interested
in learning more about the Port’s economic development
strategies and the latest economic trends in the greater
Walla Walla Valley, then attending an EDC meeting is
These informative public sessions are
held six times a year in the Walla Walla Regional Airport
Community Conference Room starting 11:45 a.m. and conclude
at 1:30 p.m.
A typical meeting includes a briefing
on the current economic conditions in the Walla Walla
Valley by Port Staff, a regional labor economist perspective
on the economy, a guest speaker - usually a local business
person speaking about their operations - and a review
of the Port’s business retention and recruitment
To become involved all you need do is
call the Port at 509-525-3100 and ask to be put on the
EDC mailing list. Every other month you will receive
a meeting notice in the mail.
It’s that easy to become involved.
Looking for the largest taxpayers in Walla
Walla County? Want to know whether more people have
jobs in the private or public sectors of the valley?
Is tourism spending really increasing and by how much?
Does Walla Walla County spend more, or less per student
on public education than elsewhere?
Answers to these questions and a host of others are
easily accessible at www.wallawallatrends.com.
The one-stop-shop for current, reliable, and meaningful
data covering a broad range of subject matter was developed
by the Port of Walla Walla in 2008. It is available
free of charge to anyone at any time with no passwords
or login information required.
Eastern Washington University, under an $18,000 annual
contract with the Port, regularly updates the site and
produces a quarterly e-mail newsletter summarizing the
most recent trends. The electronic publication is available
by calling the Port at 509-525-3100.
Keister likens what’s happening at the old Walla
Walla Cannery site to the wine incubator buildings at
the Walla Walla
Keister, owner of
a downtown Walla Walla antique store and a builder of
custom-made furniture, envisioned the creation of an “art
colony” with affordable space for artists and artisans
who’ve outgrown their kitchen and garage shops.
He shared his enthusiasm for the concept with Port of
Walla Walla commissioners and they turned him loose.
After major cleanup that included updated
electrical service and new windows that welcomed natural
light...the original six 1,000 square foot buildings were
And practically before the
paint dried, tenants were ready to move in. Occupants
include a metal artisan, a maker of fishing lures, a woodworker...and
before long, Keister predicts there will be a waiting
list. In fact, he’s already studying plans for the
construction of six additional look-alike buildings on
the spacious site. And he’s talking to wine and
music enthusiasts about staging joint events that will
bring the public to a landscaped community of creativity.
“We’ve wanted to develop affordable
production and studio space for our art community,”
said Port Commissioner Ron Dunning. “We’re
pleased with the outcome of this project.”
Columbia REA buys WW Melrose complex
Columbia REA has purchased
the Port of Walla Walla’s Melrose Building Complex.
Port Commission President Mike Fredrickson
announced in mid-year that the Port and CREA had agreed
on the transaction. The sales price for the 10.16 acre
site, including the central warehouse, Quonset building
and offices was $5.33 million.
Les Teel, CEO of Columbia REA, says
the utility company had outgrown its Walla Walla location
on Rees Avenue and that the Melrose property will meet
the company’s “long term strategic needs.”
The Port built the Melrose complex for
$4.1 million in 1988 for Strauser manufacturing. That
firm filed bankruptcy and vacated the building in 1990.
Key Technology leased the facility for
10 years - from 1995 to 2005 - a period that saw Key
make a host of improvements.
“The Port commission is pleased
Columbia REA can bring the property back to a productive
use,” Fredrickson said. “We also believe
they will be an excellent anchor business for the Port’s
vision of developing the remainder of the 31-acre Melrose