It was nice to see that the Dayton Street improvement project in John Day was awarded to a local contractor, Winegar Excavating. This means that $297,346.10 is going to a county business, and that's the kind of end to a bidding process we like to see. More money in local pockets is better for everyone.

Speaking of money in local pockets, Steve Dahl, the county's economic developer, and Gary Judd, the airport manager, are quietly celebrating $1.9 million in ConnectOregon grants to fund new construction at the airport, including the extension of the runways that will bring in more airfreight. They've worked hard for the funding, which hasn't been officially awarded yet - that won't happen until July - but it's 97.7 percent certain. Money for a new terminal isn't forthcoming, but, wow! nearly $2 million to the county airport is definitely worth celebrating - and loudly.

Malheur Lumber increased its employment by 10 percent on a re-saw project, which is good news for the local workforce and for the company, which will get tax breaks for new equipment.

It's also good to see that the John Day City Council is working on a contracting ordinance that would give local businesses preferred treatment during the bid process. It's a little more complicated than the standard bidding process, but worth the extra trouble - as long the work is quality, and we have no doubt that it would be.

Look for downtown John Day to be prettied up, with hanging baskets and concrete planters for flowers and plants at various locations.

The $7,000 cost is from the county transient room tax, with about $3,000 being contributed by area businesses. The local 4-H club will water and otherwise care for the plants. There will be people who will scream about spending $10,000 on plants and flowers, but looking good is important when it comes to attracting customers. Such a partnership in community pride is great to see.

Dahl has been busy promoting the industrial park. He and Greg Boethin are working on a website,, that should be up this week, to give the park a worldwide presence.

Dahl is also advertising the heck out of the park, and is doing some joint marketing with the airport.

He's also been working with the City of Seneca and its industrial park. He was able to work out funding from the Oregon Economic and Community Development Department for Phrase 1, which will leave DEQ funds for Phase 2.

Bravo, to all the people working to make Grant County thrive.

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