Nathan L.

Oregon has 18 electrical cooperatives, and a handful of public utility

districts and city-owned utilities are scattered throughout Oregon and

Washington. Many are eager to be partners with Baker City-based Oregon

Trail Electric Consumers Cooperative, or OTEC.


Because the era of plentiful and cheap energy provided by the

Bonneville Power Administration is coming to a close, and smaller

utilities across the Northwest have decided it's better to pool their

risk if they must develop other sources of electricity - including

renewables - themselves.

OTEC is a popular potential partner for other utilities, said the

utility's general manager, Werner Buehler, because it's large and

growing slowly.

"There are lots of things to look at," he said of his counterparts across the Northwest. "Do we want to be in a pool with a fast-growing utility that will require us to obtain more output or require us to put an equity investment into a power source? Do you want to be in a pool with a mix (of utilities)? A mix? Winter-peakers? Summer-peakers?"

Being a large slow-grower means "we are able to share expenses easier, anThe Oregon Main Street program is part of a national program that the National Trust for Historic Preservation created to revitalize main streets in rural towns across the country, said Ann Mehaffy, HBC executive director.

Mehaffy said Oregon's previous Main Street program lapsed several years ago when the Legislature cut funding.

When that money was restored last year, Main Street programs statewide, including HBC, had to reapply for approval.

Oregon's new Main Street program includes three levels: Exploring Downtown, Performing Main Street, and Transforming Downtown.

The three programs are designed to meet varying degrees of community participation, and 32 cities are enrolled in the Exploring Downtown level.

Mehaffy said Baker City is one of four cities approved to participate at the Performing Downtown level, along with Albany, Oregon City and Roseburg.

La Grande and a group called the North Northeast Business Association are listed among eight cities that have submitted letters of intent to apply for either the Performing Downtown or Transforming Downtown programs, according to Gary Van Huffel, the Oregon Main Street coordinator at OECDD.

"Acceptance into these programs allows communities to participate in training, community assessments, technical assistance, the Oregon Main Street Network, national recognition and future grant programs," Van Huffel said in a press statement.

Mehaffy said the reauthorization of the Oregon and Baker City Main Street programs was critical to the continued revitalization efforts orchestrated by HBC.

"The Main Street program revolves around a structured approach to downtown revitalization focusing on organization, design, promotion and economic development," Mehaffy said.

She said the Main Street program is a key element of the HBC's downtown revitalization goals of maintaining Baker City as an authentic historic place.d we won't put a large requirement on the pool to grow expensive purchases.