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Hundreds of Central Oregonians turned out this morning to hear what the economic challenges are for Central Oregon, and more importantly what are the solutions. This is the third year that Economic Analyst Bill Watkins came to Central Oregon to give his forecast.  One of the attendees was engineer Dave Williams. He owns a Civil Engineering Consulting firm that was very active in Central Oregon's boom cycle; now they are looking for government work:  “Well, obviously we need to get away from the boom and bust housing thing.   We need to attract jobs that are other than just your kinda minimum wage service jobs.” The AP says Central Oregon is the most economically stressed in the State. Watkins agrees. He expects high unemployment, depressed housing prices and a relatively lower economic output to continue for a while. He says we may not see job growth for at least three quarters.  Analyst Delore Zimmerman had ten suggestions, one of which is creating a task force to develop a thousand-day road map. State Representative Jason Conger says in the short term we will have some more hard times: ”But in the long run, I am extremely optimistic about our future here. I think we can hope for and aim for a diversified, thriving economy.”

 

 

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