Echo upends economic development strategy

The small town of 715 plans a citywide beautification program in order to attract businesses — instead of implementing a more traditional development approach.

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[City Manager Diane Berry], supported by the city council and private and public partners, has aggressively sought grants for art, trees, flowers and historical preservation in the city of 715 people. The city has also worked to extend that beautification to residences through programs like Christmas light contests and tree giveaways.

It hasn’t brought a grocery store or gas station to town, or allowed the few Main Street businesses to open more than two or three days a week. But it has gained Echo a reputation as a “hidden gem” of Eastern Oregon, complete with vineyards, tasting rooms, a golf course, camping, a museum, antique store, highly rated eateries and a truly historic downtown.

(READ MORE: East Oregonian)

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