Travel around small towns in the Northwest and it'll seem half of them have something designated as an industrial or business park - a place where businesses, especially but not exclusively manufacturers, are given encouragement to take root. It often seems a good idea but so often fails to pick up steam. A lot of them look sadly underpopulated.
So, an interesting piece in the Portland Daily Journal of Commerce about an industrial park success story at Estacada, a hidden-away (in a pretty area in the Cascade foothills) little town, not long ago a post-timbertown depression story, which seems of late to be finding its economic footing. In 2003, only one person worked on the 25-acre tract. Now: ". . . the once paltry property has exploded, morphing into the Estacada Industrial Park. The new center of all things industrial – typically steel fabrication and mechanical work – now employees more than 100 people at 12 locally owned companies."
There seems to have been no single silver bullet, more a confluence of good fortune. (And locals are talking about finding ways to accelerate further.) But it's a story worth considering as businesses, and people, hunt for answers in tougher days.