Local child custody dispute may have led to Hwy. 126 crash

VIDA – A Central Oregon custody dispute is being investigated as a possible factor in a serious-injury crash on Highway 126 east of Springfield that put a Bend woman in the hospital, Oregon State Police reported.

Troopers say the accident occurred around 8:15 p.m. Wednesday, 22 miles east of Springfield. A 1980 Toyota two-door driven by Shawn Curtis Holt, 21, of Bend, reportedly was westbound on Highway 126E at a high rate of speed, followed by a 1986 Buick four-door driven by Richard Allen Blair, 22, of Sisters.

Blair moved into the eastbound lane in an attempt to pull alongside the Toyota to motion for Holt to pull to the highway shoulder. But as the Buick pulled up beside the Toyota, Holt reportedly veered into the eastbound lane as well, resulting in a collision. Holt then lost control of the car, which flipped onto its top on the south-side highway shoulder, troopers said.

Holt and his two passengers, Amelia Blair, 21, of Bend, and her 7-month-old son, from Sisters, were taken to Sacred Heart Medical Center in Eugene. Holt and the infant were treated for minor injuries and released, but Amelia Blair was admitted with what troopers said were internal injuries. Hospital officials could not confirm Thursday night that Blair was still at the hospital or what her condition was.

Troopers said both adults were wearing safety restraints and the child was in a child safety seat. Richard Blair, who was not injured, also was using his seat belt.

Members of the OSP Springfield patrol office are continuing the investigation of the crash, which closed the highway’s eastbound lanes for about 3 ½ hours. The McKenzie rural Fire Department and ODOT personnel assisted at the scene.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact OSP Trooper Blaine Hlebechuk at (541) 726-7536.

City news: Next pedestrian safety move on Eastside; Colorado/Wall signal on

For Immediate Release
From: Ellen Waterston
City of Bend Communications Liaison, 541/385-7025
Re: Third Pedestrian Safety Campaign
For More
Information: Captain Matt Fine, 388-5550
Date: May 31, 2001

Next Pedestrian Safety Campaign On Tuesday, June 5

The Bend Police Department will conduct the third of six special pedestrian
safety enforcement operations on Tuesday, June 5 at the intersection and
crosswalk of NE 8th Street and Norton Avenue. Signs will be posted on Monday
notifying motorists of this campaign’s location. The six-week program will
include three more operations; each will involve a plainclothes officer
posing as a pedestrian at a targeted problem crosswalk or intersection.
Motorists violating pedestrian safety laws will be pulled over and given a
warning or citation with fines of up to $175.00. “Funded by a federal grant
awarded by ODOT to the Bend Police Department, the focus of this campaign is
to educate the public of pedestrian rights, which will hopefully result in a
heightened motorists’ awareness and prevention of motor vehicle/pedestrian
accidents,” states Bend Police Captain Matt Fine.

The second pedestrian awareness operation, held on May 30, resulted in 20
citations and 3 warnings issued. Captain Fine states that one of the
individuals cited said he had only received one other traffic citation in his
whole life, and that was the week before during the pedestrian awareness
campaign on Galveston!

Informational brochures on this program, including the laws on pedestrian
safety are available at the Bend Police Department in both English and
Spanish. For more information contact Captain Matt Fine at 541/388-5550.

—-

For Immediate Release
From: Ellen Waterston
City of Bend Communications Liaison, 541/385-7025
Re: Colorado/Wall Street Signal Activated
For More
Information: Dan Graber, Project Engineer 541/317-3018
Date: May 31, 2001

SIGNAL AT COLORADO & WALL INTERSECTION ACTIVATED

The new traffic signal at the intersection of Colorado Avenue and Wall
Street was activated May 31. Caution is advised while traveling through the
area, as motorists adjust to the signal. For more information contact
Community Projects Engineer Dan Graber at (541) 317-3018.

Boy playing with pruning shears sparks garage fire near Drake Park

A fire that destroyed a detached garage on Harmon Boulevard, near Drake Park, during the noon hour Thursday has been blamed by investigators on a 6-year-old boy who accidentally cut a live extension cord with pruning shears.

The Bend Fire Department responded shortly before noon to the garage fire at 1375 NW Harmon Blvd. with two engines and a rescue truck, said Battalion Chief Dave Howe. Arriving crews found the unattached garage well-involved in flames and several passers-by trying to douse the flames with garden hoses. Heavy smoke rose from the blaze, visible over a large area of the city.

Fire crews knocked down the blaze within minutes, Howe said, although suppression efforts were hampered by a live, fallen electric service line.

“We found the cause to be a small boy had accidentally cut a live extension cord in the garage, while playing with pruning shears,” Howe said.

Fire officials estimated the losses at $25,000 to the contents and $4,000 to the building. Jane Williamson was the owner of the insured garage, used for storage, and the nearby home’s tenant is Scott Morgan, Howe said.

The battalion chief reminded residents to keep cutting tools well out of the reach of small children. Howe also said people should stay well clear of any fallen overhead lines, as energized power lines can whip around unpredictably and cause serious injuries.

AAA says state\’s gas prices on the rise

News Release
Elliott Eki
Director of Public & Government Affairs 600 SW Market Street
Portland, OR 97201
503-222-6729
Fax 503-222-6756
May 31, 2001
For Immediate Release

State Gasoline Price Averages Up

As forecast, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline held close $1.70 mark across the nation during the Memorial Day weekend. “But, while we expected some price reductions after the holiday, we’re seeing an increase,” said AAA Oregon spokesman Elliott Eki. “It’s just more evidence that because so many factors influence the price of gasoline that long-term predictions can be irresponsible, and a shot in the dark at best.”
Since Memorial Day, the national average-as well as Oregon’s–has gone up almost 2 cents a gallon. Analysts blame the increase on wholesale futures prices hitting an all time high late last week, selling for more than $1.10 per gallon. They say this could set the stage for a new record high average retail price for gasoline in the next few days. The national average is already closing in on the record high of $1.718 per gallon, set on May 15th. Oregon, however, remains just over 17 cents below its highest recorded price, which came in late September 2000.
Other reasons cited for the higher wholesale prices included reports of lower than expected inventories of some reformulated fuels and an unexpected drop in imports as stocks were diverted to European markets.

National Average (Regular Unleaded) Highest Recorded Price
Current $1.713 Regular Unleaded: $1.718 05/15/01
May 24, 2001 $1.697
Month Ago $1.631
Year Ago $1.542

Current May 24, 2001 Month Ago Year Ago Highest Recorded
Statewide $1.652 $1.629 $1.578 $1.609 $1.825 09/29/00
Port./Vanc. (OR only) $1.640 $1.620 $1.568 $1.601 $1.807 10/03/00
Eugene/Springfield $1.610 $1.586 $1.525 $1.622 $1.848 09/20/00
Salem $1.607 $1.579 $1.531 $1.542 $1.798 09/16/00
Medford/Ashland $1.573 $1.553 $1.511 $1.586 $1.878 09/16/00

California average prices remain the highest in the nation at about $2.02 per gallon. In Hawaii, regular unleaded sells for just under $2 per gallon and in Nevada, the average price is just over $1.81. The average price for regular unleaded in Washington is just over $1.62 and Idaho’s is up to $1.65. Oregon’s average price still ranks among the 20 lowest in the nation.

An audio version of the text portions of this release is available on the AAA audio newsline. Call (503) 222-6397.

– 30 –

Kitzhaber announces state aid for hard-hit Klamath farmers

NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Bob Applegate
May 31, 2001 (503)
378-6496
Jon
Coney

(503) 378-6169
Katy
Coba

(503) 378-3123

GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES STATE FINANCIAL
ASSISTANCE FOR AGRICULTURE DROUGHT DISASTER

Governor John Kitzhaber and the Klamath County Commissioners announced today
a $500,000 award from the Oregon Economic and Community Development
Department (OECDD). The funds will serve as seed money to establish a
revolving loan fund to provide drought relief to farmers in Klamath County
served by the Klamath Irrigation Project. The funds will be made available
to farmers wanting to develop irrigation wells.

\”This action is part of the State response to the needs identified at the
recent Drought Emergency Information Open House at the Klamath County
Fairgrounds,\” Kitzhaber said.

The $500,000 grant will be used by Klamath County to loan to farmers to
purchase and install agricultural wells, equipment and machinery as partial
replacement for water not delivered from the Klamath Irrigation Project this
year. Klamath County will administer the loan program, which will be
available to cover up to 50 percent of the total project costs, not to
exceed $50,000. The terms of the loans will be five percent interest, over
a 10 year period, with deferred payments for the first two years.

\”The Klamath County Board of Commissioners is pleased to take this step
toward helping our agriculture community,\” said Commissioner Al Switzer.

Further information regarding the loan program can be obtained from the
South Central Oregon Economic District in Klamath Falls: 541-882-9600.

Paul Cleary, Director of the Oregon Water Resources Department (WRD) said
the WRD will be able to issue emergency irrigation permits for usage of up
to 50,000 acre feet total of ground water in the Basin. WRD has set up
guidelines to process these permit applications in seven business days. To
date, WRD has received 61 applications and approved 50 for emergency ground
water permits in the Klamath Basin.

In addition, the governor announced that at least another $1 million in the
Oregon Business Development Fund would be made available for farm and
business loans for drought relief efforts throughout the state.

The loans from the Oregon Business Development Fund can be used for any
drought related problem, including developing wells, purchasing feed,
providing working capital, or any other business, ranching or farming need.
The loans are available to cover up to 40 percent of project costs. Loan
repayments can be deferred for up to one year. Interest rates vary from
approximately three to seven percent. They may be combined with loans from
banks, private lenders or local development groups.

OECDD will also provide guarantees to Oregon banks to extend loans and lines
of credit to help businesses, farmers and ranchers throughout Oregon survive
the drought. Terms for bank loan guarantees are available from OECDD.

For more information on the Oregon Business Development Fund and
credit guarantees, call Mark Huston, OECDD Business Finance Manager at
503-986-0165.

At the present time, six counties have been declared drought disasters by
the governor: Klamath, Wasco, Jefferson, Crook, Lake and Hood River.
Klamath has also been declared a USDA disaster area. In addition, a request
from Gilliam County is being processed by the governor.

-30-

July 4th events aimed at improving heart care in C. Oregon

For Immediate Release
Release Date: May 31, 2001
Event Date: July 4, 2001
Tickets/Registrations Now Available
Contact: Sharon Jensen
St. Charles Medical Center Foundation
Phone: 541-383-6968

July 4 Events Lend Spark to Heart Care in Central Oregon

There are two events planned for the 4th of July that will help spark improvements in heart care in Central Oregon. The Spark Your Heart 5k Run/Walk and the Spark Your Heart Family BBQ and Friendraiser will both benefit the Heart Institute of the Cascades.

The run/walk starts at City Hall in downtown Bend at 9:55 a.m., before the Pet Parade. The registration fee is $15 per person, including a t-shirt or $35 per family, including three t-shirts. Participants can register by mail or in person at The Foot Zone, 845 NW Wall Street in Bend. Participants can pick up race packets at the Foot Zone on July 3 from 4-6 p.m., or on July 4 from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. only. For more information, call the St. Charles Medical Center Foundation at 383-6968 or email sjensen@scmc.org.

The Family BBQ is set for 2-5 p.m. at the Bear Pond Ranch. The ranch is located at 16584 Highway 126, just east of Sisters. The event includes live music, food, wine and microbrew tastings, heart-healthy demonstrations and information booths, supervised activities for children and a raffle. Tickets are $50 per person. Children under 18 are free. Event tickets are available from the St. Charles Medical Center Foundation at 383-6968.

The Heart Institute of the Cascades is a collaborative effort of St. Charles Medical Center (http://www.scmc.org), the Bend Memorial Clinic and Starr Wood Cardiac Group of Bend. The goal of the Heart Institute is to build a state-of-the-art heart services program that provides seamless delivery of cardiovascular care from prevention, to intervention, to treatment and rehabilitation. For more information about the Heart Institute, visit its Web site at http://www.yourheart.org.

###

COCC news: Diversity celebration, free prep sessions

June 1, 2001

COCC CELEBRATES DIVERSITY
In celebration of cultural diversity, Central Oregon Community College is
sponsoring several activities on Thursday, June 7, outside Deschutes Hall
on the COCC Bend campus. The event is free, and the public is invited.
At 11 a.m. Bill Keale, a native of Hawaii, will open the program with
songs that reflect his musical heritage.
At 12:30 p.m. a spring Native American Festival, which combines the
celebration of the renewal of life with the tradition of the pow-wow, will
be celebrated. Activities will include storytelling, traditional music and
dancing by the Quartz Creek dancers of Warm Springs and samples of
traditional fry bread and salmon. In addition, Native American artists
will exhibit their artwork using materials such as metal, animal horn and
beads.
Following the festival, the band \”Clavé\” will present traditional Mexican
music. The Cascade Culinary Institute will offer international hors
d\’oeuvres and desserts. Participants can try various international games
and a new game, disc golf, will be demonstrated.
The activities are sponsored by the COCC Diversity Committee and the COCC
Native American Student Union. For information about the activities, call
383-7590.
The 6th annual Storm the Stairs (La Carrera Escalera) event begins at
5:30 p.m. at the COCC track. The race course involves 300 stairs, campus
trails and buildings. Race registration will be from 4:30 to 5:15 p.m. A
championship shirt will be awarded to the top male and female finishers.
Ribbons will be presented to the top three female and male finishers in
each age category. Entry fees are $2 for racers under 19 and $7 for
adults. COCC students and staff A post-race barbecue is included in the
fee. Entry forms are available at local sporting goods stores and athletic
clubs. The race is sponsored by the Associated Students of COCC and the
COCC Health and Human Performance department. For information about the
race, call 383-7794.
Anyone wishing to attend this event who has special needs resulting from
a physical disability should contact Gene Zinkgraf, ADA coordinator, at
least three days in advance of the event. He can be reached at 383-7775 or
through the college’s TDD number, 383-7708
-30-
June 1, 2001

COCC SCHEDULES FREE PREPARATORY SESSIONS
Central Oregon Community College is offering several sessions to help
incoming students prepare for college. Placement tests and “Next Steps”
orientation programs will be offered at 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 7, at the
North Campus in Redmond. Sessions will also be offered at 9 a.m. on
Monday, June 11; and at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 12, in Room 154 at the
Boyle Education Center on the COCC Bend campus.
The two-hour ASSET placement test measures current skills in reading,
writing and math and is used to determine the correct level of course
work. It is required for students who intend to pursue a college degree or
certificate, and for those planning to enroll in math, writing, or other
courses requiring placement scores for registration. Results are available
after the Next Steps session.
The one-hour “Next Steps” session, which follows the placement test,
offers an orientation to the college and some helpful hints about planning
a course of study. The session is mandatory for all new students who plan
to earn
a degree or certificate.
There is no charge for these services, but reservations are required. For
more information about times and locations or to reserve a seat, contact
the COCC Counseling office at 383-7515. To register online, access
http://www.cocc.edu/admit/ptest.htm .
Anyone wishing to attend this event who has special needs resulting
from a physical disability should contact Gene Zinkgraf, ADA coordinator,
at
least three days in advance of the event. He can be reached at 383-7775 or
through the college’s TTY number, 383-7708.

-30-

June 1, 2001 Public Service Announcements

Prepare for College
• Placement tests and orientation programs
• June 7, Redmond North Campus
• June 11 and 12, Boyle Education Center, COCC
• Free, but reservations required: 383-7515

COCC Diversity Celebration
• Begins 11 a.m., Thursday, June 7
• Outside Deschutes Hall, COCC
• Music by Bill Keale and the band \”Clavé\”
• Native American Festival
• Info: 383-7590

Storm the Stairs Run
• 5:30 p.m., Thursday, June 7
• Starting at COCC track
• $2 under 19; $7 adults
• Post-run barbecue included in fee
• Info: 383-7794

Cobalt Properties offers details of old fairgrounds site plans

May 31, 2001

Chamber of Commerce Members
Board of County Commissioners
City Council Members
Interested Citizens of Redmond, OR

SUBJECT: SENSIBLE DEVELOPMENT OF FAIRGROUNDS SITE

The former Deschutes County Fairgrounds site near downtown Redmond is a rare opportunity to create a sensible development that enhances the economic vitality of Redmond, improves the city’s tax base, helps provide a mix of housing opportunities for Redmond’s citizens and makes the best use of a site that no longer needed by Deschutes County. The purpose of this letter is to help clarify the goals of Cobalt Properties as the proposed developer of this key piece of property in Redmond and to lay to rest a few misconceptions about the possible development of the site.

Proposed Village Style Mixed Use Development

Cobalt Properties has retained the services of a seasoned architectural firm to design a village style neighborhood with a mix of uses that will enhance the appeal of Redmond, promote pedestrian friendly development, and link existing neighborhoods in a positive way to the adjacent State highway and Fred Meyer shopping center. Cobalt will refine and improve these plans with the input of the City, its citizens, and its local partner, the Central Oregon Regional Housing Authority (CORHA), to ensure the design reflects the needs and values of the community of Redmond. Commitment to quality is foremost in the design process as we move forward in the design process.

As the site is zoned R-5, outright development of the entire site in high-density apartments is legally possible. However, Cobalt Properties and CORHA believe the potential to create a village-style mix of homeownership, senior and workforce rental housing, coupled with small scale commercial space will enhance the community and surrounding area. This village style mixed-use development is an opportunity that should not be lost to the community of Redmond.

Workforce Housing Is For Working Families

Cobalt Properties and CORHA are interested in meeting a variety of housing needs through the development of this site. Local residents working in modest paying service, trade and production jobs need workforce housing and affordable homeownership opportunities. These opportunities will help to ensure that they are not paying an excessive amount of their hard earned income for shelter costs or living in remote outlying areas. Additionally, this will alleviate further traffic congestion on county and city road networks. Entry level public school teachers, retail service, trade and manufacturing employees are experiencing barriers to affordable housing in Redmond. This development is an opportunity to assist in a positive alternative to this problem. Employers need to know a supply of affordable rental and owner occupied housing is available in the Redmond area before they will commit to invest in new facilities or expand existing plants, otherwise they will invest elsewhere in areas that offer such opportunities to their workforce. Senior housing is also in short supply. Our proposal incorporates needed affordable housing, located adjacent to Fred Meyer shopping center, providing many services within walking distance desirable to the growing senior population.

Property Tax Exemption

The property has been tax exempt throughout its history of use as the former fairgrounds site. The proposal by Cobalt Properties to master plan and redevelop the site contemplates a mix of uses, many of which will be a subject to property taxation. Any homes developed for sale will be taxed at the rate that is then in effect for Redmond. Rental property developed on behalf of CORHA may be subject to an annual payment in lieu of tax (PILOT) consistent with Federal and State laws. Commercial properties developed on the site other than any office space owned and occupied by CORHA will be subject to property taxation. Cobalt Properties is sensitive to the need of new real estate development to pay their fair share of the cost of urban municipal services.

Local Control Will Not Be Undermined

Cobalt Properties is proud of its track record in several northwest communities and is committed to working with local governments, businesses, and citizens to ensure community development and local fiscal goals are fulfilled. The involvement of CORHA, the City of Redmond and Deschutes County will ensure the final product is not only financially successful but provides public value through quality design creating an attractive gateway to Redmond’s downtown.

While this project is in the very early state of negotiation, design, and development, I want to assure the community of Redmond, as well as its businesses and community leaders, that Cobalt Properties will work with you to ensure the development on the Fairgrounds site is something we will all be proud of.

Sincerely,

COBALT PROPERTIES, INC

Stephen MacKay
President

Cc: Cyndy Cook, Exec. Director, CORHA

Have a kick golfing in 7th annual \’Scrimmage on the Links\’

For Immediate Release
May 30, 2001
For Further information Contact:
Craig Walker, Bend High Football Coach, (541) 383-6302
John Nehl, Mountain View Football Coach, (541) 383-6394

HAVE A KICK GOLFING IN 7th ANNUAL SCRIMMAGE ON THE LINKS!

(Bend, Or.) ­ Golfers are wanted in support of Bend High and Mountain View football programs, at the seventh annual SCRIMMAGE ON THE LINKS benefit, Friday, June 15, at Lost Tracks Golf Club in Bend, Oregon. The golfing event raises funds for both high schools to purchase football equipment and to maintain equipment to meet safety standards.

The 2001 tournament’s key sponsors include Lost Tracks Golf Club, Bank of the Cascades, Jeld-Wen, Kayo’s, Bend Cable and ESPN Sports Radio 940 AM. Additional sponsorships are available by contacting the tournament organizers.

The afternoon event includes a hole-in-one for a new car, a Monte Carlo hole, raffle prizes, silent auction, and a catered dinner from Kayo’s. The scramble format has a 2 p.m. shotgun start.

Last year’s event raised more than $20,000.00 to help purchase uniforms, video and field equipment, and pads and helmets.

To register for SCRIMMAGE ON THE LINKS, contact Bend High Football Coach Craig Walker at 383-6302 or Mountain View Football Coach John Nehl at 383-6394.

Japense take part in \’virtual tasting\’ of Oregon

JAPANESE PARTICIPATE IN VIRTUAL TASTING OF OREGON
Video conferencing used to bring Japanese buyers together with Oregon companies

May 30, 2001. . . Gery Amos of Rainsweet, Inc. of Salem sat in the room and watched as Japanese food buyers sampled his company\’s frozen berries, onions, and mushrooms. He watched for their reaction and then stood ready to answer their questions. It was the first step to what he hopes will be actual sales to Japan. To him and the four other Oregon food companies in the room, it was Monday evening. To the representatives of the five Japanese entities, it was already Tuesday morning.

The presentation, the tasting, and the discussion took place simultaneously, but the potential buyers and sellers were separated by an ocean.

Welcome to 21st Century technology.

Through the power of video conferencing and the aid of a satellite high above the Earth, Portland and Tokyo were linked this past week to provide a virtual tasting of Oregon food products. The tasting might be virtual, but the results will be real.

\”Nothing is perfect, but I thought the event went very well and was a good experience,\” says Amos, who stood in front of both a monitor and a camera at Portland\’s Food Innovation Center to communicate with Japanese at the other end.

Thanks to a $50,000 grant originating from the U.S. Department of Agriculture\’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and administered by the Western United States Agricultural Trade Association (WUSATA), Oregon offered the nation\’s first \”virtual tasting\” event as part of an experiment in export marketing. A similar event is scheduled for September.

\”It\’s important for us to take advantage of the technology available to assist our companies in presenting their products around the world,\” says John Szczepanski, assistant director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture, which arranged the video conferencing event. \”We need to give them opportunities at low risk and low cost, to meet with potential buyers in foreign countries, to display their products, and to talk about them. This virtual tasting event is a new twist to what is an old fashioned idea– get the customer together with the producer and talk face-to-face, even though face-to-face in this case is over 3,000 miles.\”

The two-hour event was a true partnership between WUSATA, ODA, and Oregon State University, which provided the technology housed at the Food Innovation Center. The five Oregon food companies that agreed to participate included: Rainsweet; Pyramid Juice Company of Ashland, offering assorted natural juices; Painted Hills Natural Beef, Inc. of Fossil; Turtle Mountain, Inc. of Junction City, offering non-dairy frozen desserts, and Bob\’s Red Mill Natural Foods, Inc. of Lake Oswego, offering a variety of baking mixes.

On the other side of the Pacific were a variety of potential buyers representing Japanese retail and food service sectors. ODA international trade manager Patrick Mayer coordinated activities in a makeshift studio at a Tokyo hotel. Also present were translators to help facilitate the conversation back to Portland, and a chef, who prepared special recipes involving the Oregon food products.

The Japanese tasted the Oregon products– sometimes on camera– gave an evaluation, then were able to ask questions of the company representative back in Portland. Each Oregon company was afforded about 20 minutes to further describe its products. Questions ranged from whether the products could be adjusted to better satisfy the Japanese consumer to whether different packaging could be used. Even if no orders are ever taken, the feedback was extremely valuable.

\”The opportunity to present products to a foreign buyer, to be able to get them to evaluate the product and offer a professional opinion– these are opportunities seldom given even when a company takes the expensive route of traveling overseas,\” says Szczepanski. \”We provided the contacts, the venue, and the technology. For next to nothing, these Oregon companies were able to benefit and do something that, in normal circumstances, would have cost thousands of dollars to achieve.\”

The virtual tasting was better than a phone call and almost as good as a face-to-face meeting in the same room, according to Szczepanski.

\”A face-to-face meeting would have focused on other aspects that may have helped the two sides get to know each other better\”, he says. \”But the actual business at hand was really conducted in that 20 minutes the companies had on camera.\”

The participating Oregon companies came in not knowing what to expect. Many had low expectations, but came away feeling that the event surpassed their initial hopes. The key will be the followup so essential in any business relationship. Some feel the video conferencing might actually provide more information.

\”Considering the customers were Japanese and knowing how polite and somewhat reserved they are with criticism, I don\’t think we would have received the candid feedback had we been in the same room,\” says Amos. \”That\’s good.\”

The virtual tasting can lead to an even more effective platform in the future. At the start of the presentation, companies may be able to show videos of their production facilities and their process– or even the beautiful setting of Oregon itself. Both ODA officials and the companies that participated this month in the initial event believe it will become more commonplace to use the technology.

\”I would do it again,\” says Dennis Gilliam of Bob\’s Red Mill. \”I believe this is the wave of the future as technology becomes an even bigger factor.\”

The success of the first virtual tasting will help recruit more Oregon companies for the second one in September.

For more information, contact Bruce Pokarney at (503) 986-4559.