The general meeting for Orofino Chamber of Commerce took place in the back room of the Ponderosa, Jan. 6. There was a good showing of members, while striving to remain in compliance with the governor’s orders for Covid-19. Many attended hoping to learn more regarding recent news of the Chamber and Economic Development working together to better serve the whole county.

Clearwater County Economic Development specialist, Chris St. Germaine introduced the idea of restructuring the Orofino Chamber of Commerce to become a county wide organization. In the transition proposed for the Chamber and Economic Development,

Executive Director Jordyn Howell will expand marketing services to neighboring communities within the county. Neither Elk River nor Pierce currently have a Chamber of Commerce. Businesses in the county are often overlooked through lack of advertising. She will also facilitate business retention and expansion opportunities for the “mom and pop” businesses which have been struggling to stay afloat as the pandemic continues.

With Howell’s assistance, St. Germaine will be able to concentrate on the many other projects she has lined up to benefit our communities. It’s exciting to see what else this county is capable of doing, when we work together.

A new name for the county-wide organization has yet to be determined. 

New business

A committee was created among those in attendance to amend the Chamber’s By Laws for the new organization. Once the draft is created it goes before the board and must be voted into law by the members.

Changes for the committee to consider include how meetings should be held to best accommodate the various communities, in-person meetings, via telephone or digitally? Should meetings be held monthly or quarterly? 

Another question was how much would dues be? Would members pay a flat rate, or would dues be collected annually? How much should dues be in order to sustain the services? What is the value of the services offered? Other concerns were making sure that each community was represented by a local member on the board of directors. More information will be shared as it is available.

Executive Director Howell announced that she was spending the remainder of the week relocating her office from the Helgeson Hotel to the small office located under the stairs leading up to the fire hall.

Her office can be found by entering the doors for the council chamber and making an immediate right. She hopes to be somewhat settled by Jan. 11. She is excited about the new organization and is anxious to show the business community just how helpful their assistance can be.

Dr. Dennis Harper provided a brief update on legislative news, noting that the session begins Jan. 11 and is predicted to be a sparse season. “There’s just not a lot going on,” he said, “They’re hoping to pass the budget and leave for home.”

Chamber Vice President, Connie Robison introduced new member and Manager from Wells Fargo Bank, Trista Noble.

Announcements included a report from Lahni Ireland with the Orofino Police Department of another successful Christmas 911 last month. She shared it was the biggest it has been throughout of all seven years of the program’s existence, to have served 65 kids and 26 families.

Also announced was the exciting news of Jeff Greene of Peck, being selected to be one of two Special Olympic athletes from Idaho to participate in the 2022 Special Olympics to be held in Russia. Watch for details of how the community can help to support this incredible opportunity.

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