Quad Cities Too Generic
by Associated Press
LEWISTON, Idaho -- A business consultant says the "Quad Cities" moniker used by four northcentral Idaho and eastern Washington cities as a tool to lure economic development should be abandoned.
David Leland, a Portland, Ore.-based consultant, told leaders from Lewiston and Moscow in Idaho, as well as Clarkston and Pullman in neighboring Washington, the name may be too generic to capture the imagination of those who could help the local economies.
Some local leaders say finding a brand name for the whole region is tough, due to its diversity. For instance, Lewiston and Clarkston are river towns along the Clearwater and Snake; Moscow and Pullman are largely known for their institutions of higher education, the University of Idaho and Washington State University.
Meanwhile, the surrounding area makes up some of the richest farming country in the world, producing wheat and other crops for export.
Leland says any new marketing campaign should include a "success audit" to compile each community's accomplishments.
"That becomes part of your marketing kit," he said. "That becomes part of your story."
Leland came to Tuesday's meeting of local leaders on the invitation of the Port of Clarkston, which he's been helping with marketing.
The region, rich in agricultural, mining and recreational resources, has nevertheless struggled with 1 percent annual growth - or worse.
That's despite the economic benefits promised in the 1960s and 1970s with the construction of Snake River dams that created the slackwater inland ports of Lewiston and Clarkston that connected the region via waterway with the Pacific Coast.
Locals could highlight the region's low crime rate and safety, Leland said, something to be marketed to people looking to escape the hectic hustle and bustle of places like Southern California.
Duane Wollmuth, executive director of the Southeast Washington Economic Development Association, said the region may be too economically and geographically diverse to market with a single message.
He suggests more cooperation on individual projects.
For instance, Wollmuth and John Lane, with the Clearwater Economic Development Agency, are hoping a $50,000 grant - and more than $21,000 in matching funds from local agencies - will successfully develop international markets for boat manufacturers. Already, about a dozen boat makers call the area home, producing aluminum craft for trips up the Snake River into the rapids of Hell's Canyon.
For now, however, Leland says the cities - and many of their products - are just a "well-kept secret."
"There are a lot of people who really don't know who you are and what you are," he said.
Information from: Lewiston Tribune
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