Amid the economic difficulties, one new business, The Retreat and Links at Silvies Valley Ranch, is expanding its personnel to accommodate the first full season at the resort and golf course between John Day and Burns.
Owner Dr. Scott Campbell, a Harney County native, invested in the resort at the cattle ranch as a way to boost the local economy.
After a preview season last year, The Retreat and Links with luxury lodging, dining and golfing plans to hire 60 workers to fill a variety of positions by the official opening in April. A job fair is planned from 4-7 p.m. Feb. 16 at The Outpost Restaurant in John Day.
With a unique reversible golf course, as well as a par-3 course, ranch-to-table dining and a variety of other amenities, including shooting, hiking, bike riding, fishing, tours and other ranch activities, Vice President Colby Marshall said many team members were cross-trained to help with multiple tasks.
“I didn’t know what to expect when I first applied to work at Silvies, but the team gave me so many opportunities to grow,” said employee Sunshine Smarr, who was born and raised in Grant County. “I learned to how to serve meals in a fine-dining restaurant, how to take detailed guest reservations and how hard it is to keep a golf course in shape.”
Several new attractions are also opening this year:
• The Rocking Heart Spa and Fitness Center is scheduled to open in July, providing spa treatments as well as an indoor lap pool, workout equipment and a rock-climbing wall.
• McVeigh’s Gauntlet, a seven-hole challenge course, will provide golfers a chance to test their accuracy.
• The Council House Conference Center can accommodate 35 people.
• The first phase of vacation cabins will begin, providing investors options for off-the-grid cabins.
“Our hope is that guests from across the globe will be drawn to the property through golf and outdoor activities, fostering a connection with the natural beauty of the landscape — a place that we have had the privilege to call home for so many years — and helping to recover the local economy,” Campbell said.