Out of My Mind 17

Oroville Chamber looking for fresh faces


The Oroville Chamber of Commerce is looking for a few freshfaces to help build up the organization to better serve the local businesscommunity. Without some help the group may go the way of other organizationslike the Oroville Kiwanis, which folded a few years back.

It’s not a lack of members, but more of a lack ofparticipation. The group either hears praise such as we’re doing a great job orcriticism like the chamber does nothing for them. In order to better meet theneeds of the business community, the chamber has ran many surveys over theyears, even gone door to door, but responses have been lackluster at best.

I took on the job as president awhile back when our thenpresident stepped down in frustration. I’d like to say things have turnedaround, but we are still just functioning on life support. We have troublegetting volunteers to serve as officers and those that have filled thosepositions over the years are starting to get burned out. The frustration isrunning deep and I’ve one officer that wants to know if we just shouldn’t closeup shop. Others have suggested we merge with Tonasket’s Chamber of Commerce,but I’m not sure that’s the answer.

Nominations are coming up for next year’s president,vice-president, secretary and treasurer, as well as board members. I’d like toappeal to leaders in the business community to step forward and help shape a new,revitalized chamber of commerce. 

Last year the group gave up the Visitor Information Centerto the Okanogan Borderlands Historical Society which operates the VIC out ofthe Depot Museum. That organization has really had wonderful success with itand we are grateful. The chamber gave it up as was becoming too much for theorganization and in part to focus more of our money and effort on improving thelocal businesses climate.

The chamber still does the May Festival Barbecue that raisesmoney to pay for the insurance for the festival and participation of theroyalty and float at home and in other community festivals, as well as severalother activities during the year. In addition they sponsor the Northwest IceFishing Festival, put on the Toast of Oroville Wine Festival and helped at therecent Tumbleweed Film Festival and Octoberfest. We’ve hosted several guestspeakers at our meetings, including candidates for county office. We’ve startedup a monthly business-after-hours get together hosted by local members and planto resume our ribbon cuttings as new businesses come into town.

All these things are great, but we need to know what else wecan do to specifically help our local businesses, especially during theseeconomic times. We’re open to new ideas as long as there is some additionalhelp included to carry them out. As a start we’ve been talking about joiningwith Tonasket in their successful shop local advertising campaign. The campaignruns a couple times a year in this newspaper and the chamber splits the cost ofa small ad promoting your local business.

Please consider volunteering for one of our offices in thechamber. If you aren’t a member join up now and the membership will be goodthrough the end of this year as well as next. If you are a member we’d love tohave you at our meetings. Watch for emails and notices about guest speakers andproposed chamber projects.

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He has a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.

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