Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts published in “Day: May 2, 2007”

A partial slump in boomtown

In Hailey

Streetside in Hailey

Lunching in bustling Hailey, after struggling with the heavy midday - not even rush hour - traffic on Main Street, we were startling to read this in the Idaho Mountain Express:

"Business for Ketchum retailers during the past winter was not nearly as bad as rumor would have it, a non-scientific survey by the Mountain Express indicates."

Business down? Well, you certainly wouldn't say so comprehensively. But so far this decade Ketchum has been losing retailers, at least, a net of 13 from 2001 to 2006.

Apparently last winter was reputed to be poor for business; and also apparently, that depends on which retailer you are. Nothing especially notable in that. But the story went on to describe many of the structural economic changes in the Ketchum area, including a decline in motel and overnight traffic and a great increase in condominiums, which seems to have diminished trade for many retailers. And retailers are concluding some new things. A Hailey bookseller who shuttered that business recently concluded that, after the opening and then closing of five sucessive booksellers in Hailey over the last quarter-century, maybe Hailey just won't support a book store. Why is less immediately clear, but offers some interesting grounds for speculation.

A tucked-away, seemingly routine story, but well-worth examination.

The wages of

2007 Progress ReportAttention should be paid to the new report by the Progress Board about Oregon's economy. An editorial in the Oregonian today loads well at the lead: "Of all the questions raised by the Progress Board's report on the Oregon economy, here's the most important: Do you want fries with that?"

The editorial seized on what may be the most significant finding of the report, which is developed by a state agency (the Oregon Progress Board) and covers a lot of ground, much of which reflects positively or at least decently on where the state is going. Its overall description seems bland enough: "Oregon is holding its own with a growing economy, public safety and livable communities, but other areas give reason for concern, according to an analysis of 91 "Oregon Benchmarks," which measure the state's well-being. However, the report says some aspects of education, civic engagement, social support and the environment still need improvement in order to meet state goals."

It is, overall, well worth a look. (There's useful and especially interesting set of county benchmark maps available at the Progress Board site.) But the most useful, we suspect (as evidently the Oregonian has) have to do with the impact of the economy on individuals. Oregon progresses in a number of ways, but in many regard this isn't one of them.

And if Washington or Idaho had a progress board, those doubtless would find the same thing.