southcoast moves by ifeelsoalive


									                     SOUTH COAST TRANSPORTATION VISION

                                 AND CALL TO ACTION

The South Coast Region is at a critical point in its history. Its choices are to stand still, move
forward, or go backwards. The South Coast Development Council, in concert with broad local
interests, has spent the last year assessing the region's assets and liabilities to define a
development strategy for the future. Despite gloomy economic statistics, the assets of the region
far outweigh its liabilities. Buoyed by these findings, our decision is simple: Let's Move
Forward. Presented here is a TRANSPORTATION               VISION AND CALL TO ACTION for
the South Coast Region. It deals not only with immediate actions but also with a long-term
strategy for advancing the economic well being of the South Coast Region.


The present conditions are familiar and well known:      timber harvests and exports have declined,
the fishing industry has virtually collapsed, plywood     mills have all closed, young people are
moving out of the area in search of jobs, and retirees    continue to make up an increasing share of
the area residents. However, new forces are at work      that promise to reverse some of these
downward trends. There are signs that an economic        renewal is occurring that needs only to be
nurtured and leveraged to realize its full benefits.

 The primary engine for this turnaround is the discovery of the South Coast for high -quality
recreation. The area has always been endowed with extraordinary scenic resources and
recreational opportunities. However, with the development of the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort,
their value has been more broadly recognized and is now being enjoyed by a much larger segment
of the population. Visitors are attracted from allover the world and, of those who come, many
have the ability and desire to move their businesses to the area.

It appears that the attraction of the area as a destination is just beginning. The economic
synergies that have fueled development in the Bend /Redmond area, are also present here on the
south coast. Drawn by the benign climate, the natural beauty, the recreational opportunities, and
cultural resources, visitors are now becoming residents. Businesses are attracted because of the
reliable and underemployed labor market as well as the attractive life style.

The challenge is now how to make the area increasingly attractive for new businesses and
employers who are eager to become a part of the local economy but cannot overcome the area's
difficult accessibility and remoteness from major markets. Meeting this challenge will require a
major investment in the transportation infrastructure. It will take tenacity, a willingness to work
together, and a strong belief that a concentrated effort can make a difference---qualities that have
been aptly demonstrated by past local efforts.

Some of these past successes are worth mentioning. For example, despite reduced funding to
local governments, Coos County residents have recently voted to invest in critical infrastructure
elements: they have established a new Airport District to provide a broader tax base for the
regional airport; the County is building its own main transmission natural gas line from the
Willamette Valley to provide a new source of energy for residents and industry; and the County
was the first in the state to establish a Library District with its own tax base. These
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accomplishments    are in addition to myriad citizen efforts undertaken to improve local conditions,

        • City of Powers work to improve Highway 242
        • City of North Bend's construction of a new boat ramp and waterfront area
        • Port of Bandon's construction of a waterfront fishing deck and boardwalk
        • City of Coos Bay's development of boardwalk and future waterfront area
        • Coos County's Historical Society's effort for a new museum, and
        • Citizens' of Bandon construction of a new performing arts theatre and library.

These accomplishments reflect the will ofthe local citizens to put their collective shoulder to the
wheel for the betterment of the community. These actions bear out the motto that in Coos
County: "We do things differently."


The South Coast Development Council identified four essential infrastructure components that
are critical to the future of this region if it is to participate competitively in the state and national
economy. All four components are related. They act collectively to improve the accessibility of
the area by connecting it to regional, national, and global markets. Each link builds on the
significant investment already made in the region's transportation infrastructure but seeks to
modernize it and make it functional for the demands of the 21st Century. While not required to be
developed at once, all are essential in the long term; they are interdependent and mutually
reinforcing. Working together, they provide a balanced platform for future growth and
development that will materially broaden the economic potential of the region.

The key linkage components are:
        1. AIR:          Regional airport improvements starting with a new terminal at North
            Bend Airport as well as improvements at the Bandon airport. The two facilities
            would function as a regional system and serve as a gateway to the South Coast for air
            travelers and businesses, changing the image of the area to one of a region on the
            move. Airports provide an immediate and lasting impression of an area for first time
            visitors. With increased air travel prompted by the success of Bandon Dunes,
            Oregon's South Coast has a unique opportunity to showcase its assets and portray its
             image as a progressive community. With increased capacity and improved facilities,
            new and competitive air service, particularly to regional hubs such as San Francisco,
             Seattle and Salt Lake City, would be within reach. Terminal plans are being
             developed and the project could be realized by 2006.

         2.   HIGRWA YS:            A new, or significantly upgraded, four -lane highway
              connection between the Coos Bay region and 1-5. This corridor would be designed
              to reflect contemporary engineering standards and emphasize the scenic character of
              the coastal mountain range and rural landscape of southern Oregon. It could be
              patterned after the Appalachian Highway corridors that were designed as an
              economic development tool for the Appalachian region. While the highway would
              serve rural communities along its route, it would be a limited access highway that
              would avoid disrupting existing communities. It would generally track with existing
               State Route 38 to its connection with 1-5. In the future, it could be extended from
              Eugene to Bend and easterly to connect with 1-84 at Ontario. This improvement
              would be longer term and dependent on securing new federal funding so as not to
               compete with more immediate needs.
                 October 26, 2003                                             3                                        P03-1413

                 Highway Connection                 to 1-5 and Beyond:

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                           3.   MARINE:

                           A new multi-purpose marine cargo facility that would accommodate general cargo, bulk
                           commodities and container shipments. It would be designed to handle increased cargo .'
                           tonnage and multiple vessels as demand moves upward. Currently, the facilities in the
                           Cools Bay harbor are outdated due to lack of investment brought about by the decline in
                           regional forest products. The region's remoteness from thriving market areas contributt';s
                           to its lack of competitiveness for many cargoes. The Coos Bay harbor, however, is the'
                           only deep-water ocean port between San Francisco and Seattle; thus, it has a material
                           location advantage were it suitably connected to the national rail system and the interstate
                           highway system. A much broader range of industries is likely to be attracted to the
                           region once the natural gas pipeline is in place. Furthermore, the timber industry is
                           poised for a comeback as the cycle of harvest is returning. These industries can
                           strengthen maritime commerce and return high-paying waterfront jobs to the community-
                            --providing modem infrastructure is in place to meet their requirements. The period for
                           a new cargo facility is tied to highway and rail improvements. A commitment of a major
                           industry to locate here would accelerate the timetable and prospects have been identified
October 26, 2003                                 4                                        P03-1413

        4.   RAIL:

        Improved rail facilities to serve industrial sites on the North Spit and in the corridor
        between the Coos Bay area and Coquille. While rail projects may not seem glamorous,
        good freight service is essential for certain industries. The proposed rail improvements
        would contribute to a more efficient operation of the Central Oregon and Pacific Railroad
        following the rehabilitation of the Coos Bay rail bridge and the upgrading of the line to
        Track Classification 2 between Coos Bay and Eugene. Reliable freight rail service will
        be a compelling factor in revitalizing the forest products industry, and, with access to
        natural gas, attracting new medium-sized manufacturing to Coos County. Not only will
        the regional industrial sector be made more viable, but also family wage- jobs will return.
        The period for improvements will coincide with improvements in highway and port
        facilities and will be driven in large measure by industry commitment to locate here as
        well as funding.


A vision has been variously described as "a dream; a product of fancy or imagination; the ability
to anticipate and make provision for future events; or insight." We believe the VISION for the
South Coast region is all ofthese. Is it ambitious? Yes! Is it doable? Yes! It will require,
however, hard work and cooperation at all levels of involvement: local, statewide, and national.
That is why this vision is coupled with a call to action. It is a challenge we present to our
community, our leaders, in both the public and private sectors and ourselves. It will take all of us
working together to achieve the vision. We believe the results will be worth the effort.

In sum, the VISION seeks to build on our assets and correct our liabilities.

Location, location, location. Connection, connection, connection.    The Coos Bay region has the
first three. It takes all six.

What we have:
       • WorId-class    scenery
       • WorId-class    deep-water harbor
       • W orId-class   destination resort
       • WorId-class    people

What we do not have:
       • Adequate air, land, and sea connections

Let us fast-forward to future times to check on progress:

Near term:

It is 2006. Flying into Pacific International Airport, the new regional airport on the banks of
Coos Bay, what do we see? A beautiful deep-water harbor opening onto the Pacific Ocean.
Verdant mountains. Rugged headlands. After landing, we enter a striking new airport terminal
made of muscular wooden beams and glass, reflecting the architectural character of the region.
The airport is bustling with people arriving to visit the acclaimed Bandon Dunes Golf Resort and
October 26, 2003                                5                                       P03-l413

local cranberry festival. The region had just hosted the Curtis Cup, an international golf
tournament that got world- wide publicity and people are coming to experience the local
hospitality for themselves. We have just returned home on a direct flight from San Francisco and
are struck by the number of visitors, waiting for their bags, engaged in the art and photography
exhibit by local artists. The Coos County taxpayers have owned the airport for a few years and
use the exhibition room also to expose visiting entrepreneurs to potential business opportunities
in the region. As we pass through town and along the bay on the way home, we marvel at the
cleanliness of the streets and the well-kept homes and businesses. The Flags and Flowers project
has created the most wonderful ambience. Weare filled with pride as we realize that the region
 has turned the comer and is on the way to becoming a world- class community. Our children will
 not need to move away to find work.


It is now 2015. What new things do we see today? A spectacular new resort and hotel facilities
at Coos Head. People now come to experience multiple recreational facilities. New loading
docks, cranes and a multi-purpose cargo terminal occupy the North Spit. The marine cargo
terminal has become its own world-class destination where bulk shipments of products are broken
down for onward passage by air, truck and rail for distribution to the western states and beyond.
Attractive marinas abound. Boats of all kinds: big and small, recreational and fishing, bulk and
containers. Onshore, trucks, cars and trains roll across bridges that are not weight limited. New
industries have begun to dot the North Spit taking advantage of the availability of new terminal
facilities and natural gas. The downtowns' of Coos Bay and North Bend are experiencing
 renewed energy with offices, restaurants, boutiques, antique stores and specialty shops thriving.
 Clearly, citizens within Coos County feel that their continued confidence in the area is being

Long term:

It is 2020. Driving to the coast on a vastly improved highway linking the Coos Bay area and
South Coast to the 1-5 corridor what do we see? Great scenery, Beautiful mountains. Rugged
landscape. Bucolic farms. No bottlenecks or congestion caused by slow moving vehicles with no
opportunity to pass. Portions of the scenic highway were opened as they were completed but,
finally, one can now drive the entire distance from Coos Bay to Eugene, Portland or Medford
without a stop sign or reduced speed zone. People and commerce are on the move, compatibly.
Cars, buses, motorcycles, RV's and trucks moving swiftly to and from 1-5, the transportation and
economic artery of the entire West Coast economy. Small towns along the way have benefited
immensely as convenient interchanges permit easy access without through traffic disrupting the
local streets or disturbing the community. Yet, new businesses have energized the small
communities, locating there to capitalize on the available labor supply and good regional access.
Construction is underway to extend the scenic highway on to Bend and Ontario providing Oregon
with an east- west corridor through the center of the state. Pressure is taken ofIthe farmland of
the Willamette Valley for development and a more balanced and rational growth pattern is
emerging. The Coos Bay region is at last connected to the rest of Oregon and the nation. The
citizens of Coos County and Oregon can stand proud as these accomplishments reaffirm their
reputation as a progressive people.
October 26, 2003                                6                                         P03-1413


Achieving this vision for our regional economic well-being and accessibility requires a strong
commitment and investment. The focus of recent efforts by the SCDC has been on essential
transportation improvements. As noted, those improvements are large ones that will require state
and federal, as well as local, actions. Thus we have developed the following action steps:

    •   SDCD will continue to coordinate multiple presentations regarding this vision to
        interested groups, mainly in Coos County, and carry forward the local support for the
        Vision and the projects. (October & November)

    •   SCDC will formulate an executive level Action Task Force to move the vision forward
        and to assist in opening doors of opportunity for our future success.

    •   Based on what we have learned from the presentations and subsequent responses, we will
        assemble an action package for state agency heads and legislators, and the Oregon
        congressional delegation, laying out our visions, projects, and plan of action. (November
        & December)
   '.   SCDC will continue to work with the Governor's office and will build upon the
        Governor's stated commitment to the economic future of this region. The Governor's
        vision is supportive of what we are seeking to accomplish. (October - Continuous)

    •   While SCDC continues to build public consensus and gather information we will be
        moving ahead with the functions necessary to lay the groundwork for action. We will
        then blend in public input to make our success a true example of partnering. October-

    •   Establish a new strategy or revise our existing strategy so as to allow us to maximize our
        efforts to raise the funding necessary to complete our short -term goals of improved air
        and highway transportation. (December)

    •   SCDC and the Action Task Force will continuously monitor critical time lines (Gante
        Charts) to assure that the effort continues to move ahead. Our time line to successfully
        raise funds and expedite the permitting process will be critical if we are to "Step through
        this window of Economic Opportunity" and improve our regions economy. (Continuous

    Although the above action items cover the core of actions to be taken, the process we are
    establishing will continue to be measured to assure our highest level of success. In-order to
    be successful we must be willing to be "Fast and Flexible".

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