Chamber holds annual lunch

Zach Silva

With a full crowd and many in the business community on hand, it was time for the Cottage Grove Area Chamber of Commerce to hold their annual business meeting.

With a full house at Stacy’s Diner, the local members heard from mayor Jeff Gowing, Lane County Economic Development Manager Sarah Means and PakTech general manager Scott Diehl about the state of business in Cottage Grove. 

Gowing began the lunch with a condensed version of his state of the city address. He hit his main points and focused on the role the chamber has played in the city over the past year.

“2017 was a really busy year and the Chamber seemed to be involved in everything. We had the concerts in the parks, Friday night art walks, chili cook-off, bicycle rides northwest, return of the Eugene Symphony, BMD,” he said. 

“That’s a little of what this chamber participates in whether they’re actually running it or just helping because that’s what you do.”

After Gowing, Means began to discuss the state of the economy throughout Lane County. She touched on the success around the area and noted that the people in the room are the ones who will continue to dictate what happens moving forward.

“We’re not here to tell you what you should or should not be doing in economic development, we want to be responsive to your needs and support your needs as it relates to different opportunities,” said Means. 

Means also noted that Lane County was awarded a $500,000 grant last summer to work with brownfield sites across the county. These sites are areas that had previous developments on them that sometimes have environmental contamination. With the grant, the county is looking to work specifically with rural areas and that some local businesses on Main St. will be receiving funding for phase one assessments.

“We’re really pleased to help redevelopment of those sights here in Cottage Grove with that funding,” said Means.

The final speaker was Diehl who focused on what PakTech has brought to Cottage Grove and what it will continue to do in the future. PakTech, a company that came to the area in fall of 2016, produces plastic handles that go on food and beverages in stores to make them easy to carry. These handles are made of recycled materials including milk jugs.

“I want to talk to you about leaving this world as good as we found it for our children and our grandchildren,” said Diehl at the start of his presentation. 

He explained how the company focuses on not only reusing materials to keep them out of landfills but that their company works to be energy efficient. Diehl also discussed that PakTech now has 41 full-time Cottage Grove employees and could go up to as many as 200 in the next five years.

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