Snake River EDA Values Partnerships

Kristen Nieskens, Executive Director, Snake River Economic Development Alliance discusses ways this regional group is building businesses in western Idaho and eastern Oregon.

By BF Editors
From the May / June 2023 Issue

 

Snake River EDA
Kristen Nieskens, Executive Director, Snake River Economic Development Alliance

BF: Tell us about Snake River and Snake River Economic Development Alliance.

Nieskens: Snake River Economic Development Alliance (SREDA) is a nonprofit, investor-supported organization dedicated to diversifying our regional economy by attracting new investment and jobs. SREDA does this by recruiting new companies and helping traded-sector firms already in the region expand. SREDA is ideally located in the Pacific Northwest and encompasses the counties of Payette and Washington in Idaho and Malheur County in Oregon. The business opportunities are diverse with a mix of well-established manufacturers, an expanding high technology sector, world-class outdoor recreational opportunities, and some of the nation’s most livable communities.

SREDA covers the western Idaho and eastern Oregon areas of the Treasure Valley. It is located just west of the Boise City-Nampa MSA, Idaho’s largest metropolitan statistical area. The counties in SREDA’s area make up a local population base of over 68,500 that expands quickly into over 700,000 within 30 minutes of the area.

BF: What are targeted industries for the Snake River region, and what factors help to support them?

Nieskens: Targeted industries in the region include agriculture and food processing; outdoor recreational industries; distribution and transportation; and data centers and internet-based operations. These industries make sense with the incredible regional assets in the SREDA region such as:

  • Low Cost Power
  • Natural Gas Interstate Main Line
  • Agricultural & Natural Resource Based
  • Strong Telecommunications & Internet
  • Transportation: I-84, US Highway 95, US Highway 20-26; Airports 1 Regional 2 local + Boise Airport; and Union Pacific Rail & 2 short line railroads.
  • Workforce: Economist developed commute patterns; Local Community College – specialized training; Idaho & Oregon Employment Services; and Private labor services.
  • Sewer and Water Capacity Infrastructure
  • Available Land and Buildings
  • Tax Incentives through the states, counties, and cities are available
Snake River EDA
Snake River Farms raise Wagyu cows and bulls in various herd sizes, from 100 to 3,000, offering many benefits to western cow-calf producers. (Photo: Snake River Economic Development Alliance)

 

BF: What is a recent notable relocation or expansion project in Snake River Economic Development Alliance? Please describe.

Nieskens: SREDA projects generally involve our partners including local residents, local businesses, the city, the state agencies, educational entities, and the counties. Without the partnerships that we have, many of these projects would not have developed. SREDA assists both existing and new businesses with locations, growth, and other issues that the businesses may be facing. We are able to connect them with financing, regulation, and other types of partners to help make their business successful.

In 2022, SREDA successfully assisted with the expansion of Pacific Fibre, a well-known company from western Washington and western Oregon. Pacific Fibre was very interested in moving part of its beauty bark operations out east. They looked at numerous sites throughout eastern Oregon and western Idaho. They located a retired onion processing facility between Payette and Weiser, ID. They were able to rehab the facility into an efficient working site for their expansion. With SREDA’s assistance, Pacific Fibre received support from Idaho through an infrastructure grant to help with the upgrading of the power infrastructure in the region. They also had support from Washington County Commissioners and received a graduated property tax incentive for five years.