University of Oregon EDA University Center
Projects Completed, 2009-2012
The mission of the University of Oregon (UO) EDA University Center is to link UO resources to communities for the purpose of enhancing regional sustainable economic development. The program is housed in the Community Service Center (CSC). Our approach is to provide technical assistance to distressed communities through capacity building, applied research, and partnerships. More specifically, we proposed to focus on the following areas: (1) agriculture and local food systems; (2) renewable and distributed energy systems; (3) sustainable infrastructure (water, wastewater, transportation, and other public services); and (4) value-added wood products.
Service Delivery Portals
Following is a list of portals that communities can use to access UO services:
- Community Planning Workshop (CPW) – a campus-based program that conducts applied research projects with faculty supervision. CPW is a required course for first year masters students in the Community and Regional Planning program. CPW is also open to students in other programs and commonly includes students in landscape architecture, architecture and environmental studies.
- Resource Assistance for Rural Environments (RARE) – a field-based program sponsored by AmeriCorps that places students in Oregon communities for one year to address community identified issues.
- Center for Sustainable Business Practice (CSBP) – is a campus-based program that provides students with a customized MBA degree, with a strong emphasis on experiential learning and applied projects in partnership with Oregon businesses.
- Sustainable Cities Initiative (SCI) – is a campus-based program that focuses on planning and design services to Oregon communities. SCI is a key partner in the EDAUC and we are exploring ways to create linkages between planning, design, policy, and economic development.
- Classes/Studios – UO offers hundreds of courses and studios. Classes are increasingly incorporating service-learning projects.
- Thesis/Exit projects – All UO graduate programs include a thesis/exit project or other type of capstone project. Students typically work individually to research a specific topic.
- Student groups (e.g., LiveMove, Community Oriented-Oregon Planners, etc.) – The UO sponsors many student groups, some of which conduct community service projects. These groups can be linked to communities to provide a range of services.
- Faculty research – A core function of a university is research. We are working to develop partnerships with faculty in the School of Architecture and Allied Arts (AAA) and the Lundquist College of Business.
- Internships – The UO has an internship program that links students with private and public organizations throughout the state.
- Conducted interviews with Economic Development District directors. The focus of these interviews was to better understand initiatives at the District level and how the UO program can provide technical assistance.
- Community Forum Jobs and Economic Development. We attended and provided facilitation support at both events, held in Albany and Bend, to assess community need.
- Oregon Rural Partnership Forum. CSC co-sponsored the Oregon Rural Partnership forum in June 2009 at the Village Green in Cottage Grove. The forum was attended by a broad cross-section of professionals and focused on four areas: food systems, broadband, renewable energy and small business development.
- EDAUC Strategic Plan. In the first year we focused on program and project development. In year 2 it was a priority for us to create a longer-term strategic vision for the University Center. The EDAUC principals met several times over a four-month period to develop a strategic plan for the Center.
Partnership development. Our programmatic strategy is founded on partnerships and includes three organizations (CSC, CSBP, and SCI) and several programs within those organizations. We continue to seek out and establish new partnerships. During this cycle we focused on developing external partnerships with several organizations:
- Lane County Economic Development
- Cities of Salem, Eugene and Albany
- Business Oregon
- Umpqua Community Development Corporation (now NeighborWorks® Umpqua)
- Portland Development Commission
- Portland Sustainability Institute
- Climate Solutions
- Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance
- Clean Energy Works Oregon
- Drive Oregon
- Pivotal Leaders
- Clean Economy Network
- Oregon Food Bank
- Oregon Main Street Program
- League of Oregon Cities
- Rural Development Initiatives
- Rural Community Assistance Corporation
Sustainable Economic Development Network Activities
- Preliminary scoping. As part of our interviews with the District staff, we asked questions about information needs and how the UO could help foster communication among economic development professionals throughout Oregon. Key items that came out of these discussions were (1) email lists are useful; (2) web sites are passive and were not favored as a primary means of communication; and (3) e-newsletters that share key projects, successes and challenges would be helpful.
- OEDD listserv. In December 2009, the UO began administering the Oregon Economic Development District listserv. The list was previously administered by Amanda Remington at the MCEDD through a free Yahoo service. The list is now hosted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Mid Columbia Workforce and Economic Development Partners listserv. In December 2009, the UO began administering the MCEDD workforce and economic development partners mailing list. The list is now hosted at email@example.com.
- Meeting with EDD Directors. We met with the EDD Directors in Portland in February 2010 to provide an overview of our programs and solicit additional input on how we could best provide technical assistance to the Districts.
Workshops. Delivered a number of workshops, seminars and events focused on Oregon businesses, in order to promote the Center and its services, forge key early partnerships with target companies, and build capacity among businesses and supporting organizations.
- Business Leadership Summit on Green Product Design Network opportunities and Sustainable Cities Initiative (April, 2010)
- Green Business Initiative’s Sustainable Business Symposium, “Building the Case for Renewable Energy” (April, 2010)
- Douglas County Economic Development Forum. We coordinated an economic development forum in October 2010 to bring together key stakeholders in Douglas County to discuss approaches to coordinating economic development activities. The meeting, which was held at the Winston Community Center, included more than 40 participants. The forum resulted in identification of a range of actions that local partners are implementing.
- Conference development. We contributed to the development of the “Greenprint – a Roadmap to a Green Economy” conference held in the Portland Metropolitan Region, providing specific expertise on strategies for building markets for energy efficiency, clean energy technologies, and energy infrastructure.
- Bioenergy siting/permitting focus group. In May 2011, we facilitated a focus group with energy and land use experts to identify issues and opportunities related to the siting of bioenergy facilities. The meeting was part of a broader project we are working on related to permitting of bioenergy facilities and supports our overall efforts in the area of renewable energy.