((L-R) Prineville – Crook County Chamber of Commerce staff Deb Shaw, Membership, Marketing and Events coordinator; Kim Daniels, director; and Amy Hurt, office administrator | Photo by Sempre Sole)
Prineville has thrived in recent years, even through the pandemic and labor shortages, says Kim Daniels, director of the Prineville – Crook County Chamber of Commerce. Here is what she has to say:
How did 2021 go in general?
Crook County had a strong recovery in 2021. Although staffing was and continues to be a challenge, we saw strong retail sales, a boom in real estate and a large number of tourists hitting our rural areas.
What were the positives of the year?
• Grants that were made available made it possible for most businesses to stay afloat and/or re-open after the initial shutdown in 2020.
• The Crook County School District went above and beyond and was one of the first districts to get students back in school and create an online platform for those not yet wanting to engage in in-person education.
• Events such as the Crooked River Roundup and Pari-Mutuel Races returned to Crook County and got the community and commerce back on track.
What are your goals for 2022?
• Focus on aspects of tourism that will benefit our businesses.
• Focus on staff and member development and education so that we can better serve this community.
Is there anything coming to your city in 2022 that you are excited about?
We are looking forward to continuing to get all of our regularly scheduled events and activities back on the calendar in 2022. People are looking so forward to normalcy, that just being able to hold our annual pre-pandemic events is exciting.
Are there any humorous or encouraging stories you would like to share?
Even amidst the crisis of 2020-2021, Crook County saw incredible growth. We gained over 72 new members at the Chamber, saw new industry come into our county and continued to lease and sell land and industrial space to new businesses. In addition, the Chamber itself was the recipient of two grants from Travel Oregon, one for a Cyclists Station at the Visitors Center and a grant for consultation to help us plan and market tourism opportunities in our area.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
We have been extremely blessed by numerous businesses, organizations and partners that are helping us improve and grow our community. Prineville Connected Community Project will provide Wi-Fi access points in Downtown Prineville, Crook County High School and the Crook County Fairgrounds. The project will enable free public Wi-Fi, and will support Prineville’s small-business community, events, students and their families. There is also a downtown beautification plan in the works, trail development at the Barnes Butte Complex and a future renovation of Third Street/Highway 26, the main corridor through town.