COIC published an essay, along with 14 other community leaders, in The Source about our efforts to make Central Oregon a better place to live. Check out the various essays here!

Important issues in Central Oregon such as affordable housing, traffic congestion, employment, public health and natural resource conservation require strategic planning and benefit from a coordinated and inclusive approach. Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council is the region’s council of governments, which works collaboratively with cities, counties and citizens to identify common needs, leverage resources and develop solutions to create more vibrant and resilient communities. Since 1972, COIC has contributed to making Central Oregon a better place to live by offering programs and services that improve quality of life.

During the pandemic, our departments guided a number of local initiatives, often operating as a silent partner and getting things done. COIC’s Community and Economic Development Department worked with state and local governments to provide over 1,000 small businesses with $7.6 million in grant dollars for COVID-19 recovery efforts. This department is also working with regional partners to expand options for our unhoused community members and find affordable housing solutions to ensure that Central Oregonians have a place to call home. COIC’s Adult Employment and Training WorkSource staff supported over 1,200 businesses with rapid response services and placed 46 individuals in on-the-job training programs. During the 2019-2020 school year, the Youth Education Program helped 103 at-risk students graduate and another 69 students earn their GED. The Youth Work Program placed 52 youth into paid work experiences and internships. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Cascades East Transit, operated by COIC, has provided free bus service to help people get to work, school, medical appointments and shopping destinations.

COIC’s role in the region is to support our communities and local governments, helping to seek solutions to pressing issues, while also exploring and implementing innovative programs that contribute to economic vitality and sustainability and enhance the community cohesion among our unique and diverse region. We stand ready to meet community challenges, together.

—Tammy Baney is the Executive Director of the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council.