Rural Community Development

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Central Oregon Rural Community Equitable Economic Development Initiative

Project Summary

This project will enhance local and regional capacity to provide sustainable, equitable economic development efforts for the benefit of under-served rural communities and target populations within those communities.


  1. To work with under-served rural communities to help them achieve key community and economic development objectives.
  2. To engage under-served populations that are usually not engaged in policy decisions within these communities in the service of the community and economic development objectives. While everyone is welcome, special efforts will be made to reach target populations (emphasis varies from community to community):
  • Low income
  • Racial and ethnic minorities
  • People with disabilities
  • Youths and seniors
  • Women
  • LGBTQ+
  • Veterans
  1. To test and ID citizen outreach and engagement tools that work well in rural communities, and which then may be used by these communities for future goals/processes.
  2. To create a Central OR network to provide equitable citizen engagement and outreach

 Project Partners:

  • Regional Steering Team: COIC, Let’s Talk Diversity Coalition, Oregon’s Kitchen Table, The Ford Family Foundation
  • Dozens of additional partners in each community
  • Project funding by the Meyer Memorial Trust

Local Projects – 4 Communities/4 Projects


The Downtown Madras Group project is a business-led effort to attract more customers and business activity to downtown Madras and make the downtown core a destination where people can eat and shop on weekends and evenings.

  • Staff a local Steering Team – City of Madras, Chamber, EDCO, Let’s Talk Diversity, etc.
  • Create an inclusive business leadership team to lead the charge.
  • Build and implement an outreach and engagement plan and build an action plan.
  • Support the business team to achieve their action plan.


Through stakeholder and grassroots community engagement, support the Sisters Community Vision project, with particular emphasis on the community and economic development elements of the Vision and Vision Action Plan.

  • Participate in the Vision Project Management Team – City of Sisters, Deschutes County, C4C, NXT Consulting.
  • Build and implement an outreach and engagement plan and deliver components of it.
  • Refine/revise the Sisters Economic Development Strategic Action Plan, including a timeline for projects and commitments from partners to implement it.

Take our Community Survey now! Open to all residents and visitors to Sisters Country: 

La Pine

Build a collaborative, grassroots community vision for what residents want from downtown La Pine, with particularly emphasis on the role that one property can play in achieving that vision (the new transit center/community facility proposed for development between Highway 97 and Huntington Road on 4th St.)

  • Staff a local Steering Team – City of La Pine, Cascades East Transit, Chamber, etc.
  • Build and implement an outreach and engagement plan
  • Build a downtown vision and the transit center/community facility plan
  • Grant writing assistance


Create a collaborative and shared community vision of a “vibrant downtown” in Prineville and a plan of action to achieve it.

  • Staff a local Steering Team – City of Prineville, Chamber, Downtown Strategic Plan Committee, COIC, Let’s Talk Diversity Coalition
  • Engage a consultant to perform an analysis of Downtown Prineville and create a 3-tier design overlay. The overlay will: define “downtown Prineville”, identify adjacent streets or districts with high potential for redevelopment, and pinpoint key properties or sites for redesign.
  • Build and implement a community outreach and engagement plan
  • Support the work of the Downtown Strategic Plan Committee through added staff support
  • Create a “Next Steps” Vision and Action Plan for downtown development
  • ID appropriate resources (grants, etc.), to implement downtown redevelopment actions identified in the Action Plan.