Allison Field announced her resignation as director of Grant County Economic Development after about a year on the job at a county court meeting May 19.
Field submitted her resignation May 12, and her last day was May 25, Human Resources Manager Laurie Wright said. The position is currently being advertised internally to county employees, and the county court has not yet appointed an interim director, she said.
Since early April, Field has been working within the COVID-19 Emergency Operations Center as part of the finance group, which includes Oregon RAIN, the Economic Development office and the EOC. The group collaborated on writing the county’s reopening application and on helping businesses with loans and grant programs to soften the economic blow of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Field updated the court on the Economic Development office’s latest efforts.
She said the office sent out press releases through both the Blue Mountain Eagle and the radio to let businesses in the county know her office has attempted to contact them amid the crisis to let them know the office is available to them.
“We realize that it’s a big task to reach out to individual businesses, and know that, if they haven’t been contacted, it could be for several reasons, out-of-date contact information or closures,” Field said.
On May 15 the office posted on its Facebook page: “Please know that businesses have not been intentionally left out. We care about all businesses as they are crucial to Grant County.”
The post encouraged businesses in need of assistance to call Economic Development at 541-575-1555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or Stephanie LeQuieu with Oregon RAIN at 541-965-1598 or email@example.com.
Field said the Economic Development office, through GREAT, the local economic development nonprofit, applied for a grant from the Oregon Community Foundation for an emergency grant fund for small businesses.
GREAT applied for $75,000, and the county put in a $25,000 match for a total of $100,000, she said.
Field also asked the court to allocate $10,000 toward the project development portion of next year’s budget to continue Oregon RAIN.
She said the county has a two-year contract with the nonprofit, and she wanted to put the money toward RAIN while still the director. County Commissioner Jim Hamsher praised LeQuieu, Grant County’s rural catalyst with Oregon RAIN, for the work she has been doing in the community.
Field said LeQuieu has been holding workshops online, hosting virtual meetups and helping businesses.
“She has been instrumental to our business community,” Field said.
Hamsher said LeQuieu should give the court a presentation of the work she has been doing in the community.
Grant County Judge Scott Myers suggested the court wait on obligating the money.
“I am just curious as to whether or not someone that might follow you in that position may or may not feel that is the best use of Economic Development money within that budget,” Myers said.
The court voted to wait on approving the funding.
The court thanked Field for her service to the county and wished her the best of luck in her endeavors.
In other Grant County Court news:
• The court decided to revisit reopening county offices until next week’s regular session.
• The court approved title III administrator Beth Simonson’s request to obligate 2019 funds and initiate 2020 funds. Myers said $75,000 is obligated for 2019 and $75,000 is initiated for the 2020 funds.