August 2021 Business Connection

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Business Connection Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce

Julie Rinard making herself at home with the Chamber's sQuatch family. For more sQautch Fest see page 4

Making a big first impression k August 2021

Volume 13 • Issue 8 Business Connection is published monthly by the Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce 105 N. Minor Road • Kelso, WA 98626


Bill Marcum, CEO Amy Hallock, Project Manager Pam Fierst, Office Manager Joelle Wilson, Social Media Service


or anyone else jumping into Day 1 as project manager on the eve of the Kelso Longview Chamber’s marquee event, sQuatch Fest, would be intimidating – 4,000 expected guests, cornhole tournament, speakers, vendors, Brewfest, Kids Cave and everything else that goes into the two-day extravaganza. Julie Rinard saw it as a blessing, an opportunity to shadow outgoing project manager Amy Hallock, and tap into the Chamber’s “upbeat vibe.” Although Rinard will not officially assume the project manager position held by Hallock until Aug. 13, “we were able to bring her on staff so she can participate in sQuatch Fest this weekend and hopefully gain some valuable insight into this wonderful community event,” said Chamber CEO Bill Marcum. Rinard knows the “vibe” at sQuatch Fest. She volunteers at the event annually. It’s one of the many hats she has worn in her long association with the Chamber that includes a stint as Board president and being part of the first Ambassador team. Each Chamber position she volunteered for added up to the “good experiences” and “excellent networking” opportunities. Rinard doesn’t shy away from a challenge. She is active in the community with civic groups like Rotary and the Longview Centennial. Rinard also is a certified sewing instructor and, probably not as well known, enjoys staying at haunted boutique hotels.


360-423-8400 To advertise, call Bill Marcum 360-423-8400 or Ad Deadline 20th of Each Month

“If something looks interesting, I jump in,” Rinard said. With Hallock leaving for Florida (see column on page 2), the project manager’s job not only looked interesting, but after hearing Marcum and Hallock speak at a Rotary event about the multitude of programs they were able to continue during the pandemic, Rinard understood why “the Chamber is well loved” and respected in the community and wanted to be play a more integral part in it. “I was blown away with what they were able to do,” Rinard said. Marcum eyed Rinard’s skills in marketing and community relations as a great fit. As a certified fundraising executive, she brings added skills to the table, and she’s a local – her roots in the area go back generations. “We are excited to have someone with Julie’s knowledge of the area, understanding of the Chamber and respect within our communities join our team,” Marcum said. “I would like to continue the great things the Chamber is doing, and build up its membership numbers,” Rinard said. “It’s all about the people. It’s all about the relationships.”

Kelso Longview Chamber Amy Hallock

Project Manager

Bill had to convince me to take the job


fter nine years it is time for me to say goodbye, not only to the Chamber, but to the Kelso Longview area. My husband and I have decided we are ready for some big changes. We are moving to Fort Myers, Fla., this month. You know when you have made the right decision when, in just 13 brief weeks, we sold our home here, most of our belongings, bought a beautiful home on the other end and we were both able to land good job offers. Even though I know this is the right decision, it is still a bittersweet moment. In 2012, I was part of the Chamber’s new staff which started with CEO Bill Marcum, he then hired Project Manager Brooke Fisher and I signed on as the bookkeeper. Brooke and I were new to the Chamber world, and it was a crazy first year. We were quickly learning the Chamber business and we had a blast. We even appeared on a billboard in town. We got the biggest kick out of that! We created T-shirts with the Chamber logo and wore them under our suits. The plan was to pose like Clark Kent turning into Superman. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the superhero photo did not make the billboard. In year two with the Chamber, we moved to the visitor center in Kelso and my job expanded to bookkeeper/office manager, plus I ran the visitor center. It’s been an amazing experience, from designing the visitor center to meeting people from around the world. Many had amazing stories, like the couple I met from Australia that flew into Los Angeles and were pedaling bicycles all

"If you ever wonder what I am up to this is where I am," Amy said – her backyard pool in Florida.

2 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | August 2021

the way to Canada. In 2017, Bill had to convince me to take the project manager position. I was content being the bookkeeper and running sQuatch Fest. He said it would be easier to replace the bookkeeper then the project manager and that if eventually I wanted his job this was the next move. I am very grateful for the amazing people I have worked with over the years like previous project managers Brooke, Karen and Lindsey, who are all still involved with the Chamber. The Lower Columbia Professionals, who are the most motivated, fun, and loudest group of people I have ever met. The Ambassadors, who always show up and make our jobs easier. The Education Foundation, which brings business and education together to make a huge difference in our children’s lives. The government affairs group that continues to fight for local business. My cohosts of Your Chamber Connection, I will absolutely miss our dynamic. To my sQuatch sQuad, who I thank from the bottom of my heart as I could not have pulled off an event of this magnitude without you! Thank you to the Chamber board for the support and trust in me to get my job done, and to my Chamber family Bill, Pam and Joelle, I am so grateful I have been able to work with you and will miss you tremendously. When I start my new life, I will know I can always get involved with the local chamber and be with the best of the best of the community!

Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Chris Roewe, President Woodford Commercial Real Estate Lisa Straughan, President Elect Express Employment Professionals Frank Panarra, Past President Foster Farms Marlene Johanson, Vice President Heritage Bank Neil Zick, Treasurer Twin City Bank Michael Claxton, Legal Counsel Walstead Mertsching Duane Dalgleish Cowlitz PUD Rich Gushman Gibbs & Olson Keenan Harvey City Council, Kelso Wendy Kosloski Teague's Interiors Nick Lemiere Edward Jones Cherelle Montanye St. John/PeaceHealth John Paul KUKN-KLOG-101.5 The WAVE Bruce Pollock Bicoastal Media Tom Rozwood NORPAC Christine Schott City of Longview Councilmember Marc Silva Columbia Bank Ted Sprague Cowlitz Economic Development Council Michael Vorse Minuteman Press Dennis Weber Cowlitz County Commissioner

Kelso-Longview Chamber of Commerce Bill Marcum CEO

Heading into fall, Chamber turning over new staff


ow! What a weekend. Our fifth annual sQuatch Fest just finished and it was so much fun. Amy had to move it twice due to COVID restrictions. First from the end of January to April and then finally from April to July 30-31.

People from 27 states – Maine and Louisiana to Alaska – trekked in for the two-day event. Over 2,000 folks traveled over 50 miles to our doorstep, most staying in local hotel rooms and eating at local restaurants. Who would have thunk it? Kelso Longview Chamber Project Manager Amy Hallock would have. Heck, she did. Sadly, this was Amy’s last sQuatch Fest for us and her last Kelso Longview Chamber event. Amy and her family are moving to the Fort Myers, Fla., area. I know, right? That’s what I said, “FORT MYERS, FLORIDA...really?” For a couple of weeks I thought to myself, “Well that’s not going to happen.” Shows you what I know. They sold their home in Longview and bought a home in Florida. Len (Amy’s husband) had his choice of jobs and BOOM, she’s leaving. I hired Amy in June 2012 as the Chamber’s bookkeeper. Even with QuickBooks, we had a mess. Amy was stunned by the mess, yet she dove in and within a few months she not only had them straightened out but produced something we could all understand and trust as accurate. About the same time, I hired Brooke Fisher as the project manager and a couple years later, Karen Sisson took the job as Brooke moved on to United Way. A couple years after that Lindsey Cope took the position. When Lindsey left for the Cowlitz Economic Development Council, Amy was the natural choice for the position. As the Chamber bookkeeper for nearly five years, she had done an incredible job. Passionate about helping our local businesses, she was the right person for project manager. Now, again, nearly five years later she has proven to be a valuable part of the Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce. She has taken the project manager position to another level. Her dedication to the business community is second to none. I am sure most of you know that feeling – when you have a good thing going... the right people, in the right positions, and the business hums along without bumps, issues or tension... just a smooth-running machine – life if great. Then, your number one, your ACE, tells you goodbye. Adios, found another position, or in my case...moving on. Yes, there are sleepless nights. The board is concerned, which makes you even more nervous about finding the right person. We’re coming out of a pandemic where the current state of jobs available are high and the lack of people interested in working is low. Did I mention the Chamber is a nonprofit and the project manager position is a very demanding job? Don’t get me wrong, I am happy for Amy and her family...okay, maybe even a bit jealous. In my years here at the Chamber, I’ve been lucky to have hired and worked with some quality people. People who care about the Chamber and the business community and Amy is one of those people. I was asked to write a recommendation letter for Amy a couple weeks ago. It helped me better understand the value she brought to the Chamber and to you, our members, every day. Thank you, Amy, for the support you provided for the business community, the Chamber and me. You’re amazing. Wishing you and your family the very best. Kelso Longview Business Connection | August 2021 | 3

Swapping stories with Ken Gerhard.

Ron Meyer and Alan Megargle manning their booth

Our presentations were another big draw


To be COVID-19 kosher, the largest cornhole tournament in the Pacific Northwest went outside this year

4 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | August 2021

Russel Accord from Expedition Unknown

David Paulido, Missing 411, signing autographs

Craig Yahne, a post for speakers

To see more sQuatch photos click here

Slash sQuatch was jammin'

Kelso Longview Business Connection | August 2021 | 5

Business Toolbox Jerry D. Petrick

Certified Business Adviser


For a recovering Washington

’m devoting this article to some of the great stories and new tools to help Washington businesses THRIVE! Rise and Shine Washington

To celebrate Washington’s reopening from COVID restrictions on July 1, Good Morning America did a four-minute segment featuring several Washington businesses, and two Small Business Development Center (SBDC) clients had brief moments of national fame. Susi Jensen, owner of Wheel Line Cider in Ellensburg talked about how outdoor seating and direct-toconsumer sales kept her in business during the pandemic. Megan Schorr, co-owner of Anacortes Kayak Tours, talked about how her business thrived during the pandemic because people were anxious to get outside. “Fresh air and freedom have been our motto,” she said.

been especially hard on Washington’s smallest businesses and nonprofits. Supported by the Washington State Department of Commerce, the Small Business Flex Fund is designed to help small business owners and nonprofits access funds at a competitive interest rate so they can bounce back stronger. A truly small business-friendly loan With the Small Business Flex Fund, you will experience lowinterest rates, longer payback timelines, and community-based lenders with decades of experience helping Washington’s small businesses and nonprofits thrive. Applying is Simple •

Fewer than 50 employees

Annual revenues of less than $3 million

Experienced direct economic hardship due to COVID-19

SmartWA Dashboard to Help Small Businesses Reopen Safely The SmartWA dashboard and decision tool is one of several Safe Start projects aimed at supporting small businesses through COVID-19. To help small business owners identify the safety protocols most likely to be important to customers, the Washington State Department of Commerce has launched a new SmartWA business decision support system and COVID-19 dashboard. SmartWA uses numerous data sources and artificial intelligence to provide small businesses most impacted by the pandemic with real-time outlooks about public health, economic, and community conditions by county and industry. The decision support system features an interactive simulator that provides industry-specific predictions about which safety protocols are most likely to increase customer traffic in specific sectors. These recommendations are based on Choiceflows’ current survey data of consumer preferences in Washington state. The tool is available in five languages and was designed in collaboration with minority-owned small business owners from throughout the state. A New Program for Small Businesses and Nonprofits Across Washington State The Small Business Flex Fund is a simple, low-interest, and flexible loan for Washington’s smallest businesses and nonprofits. The pandemic has impacted all our communities, but it has 6 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | August 2021

Low Interest Rates •

Borrow up to $150,000

No fees and interest-only payments for the first year

3-4.5 percent interest rates

60 and 72-month loan terms

72-month loan term only available until Dec. 31

Loan Use is Flexible •

Utilities and rent

Marketing and advertising

Building improvements or repairs

Other business expenses

Learn more and apply now. If you have questions about any of these tools or want help with your business’ renaissance, please contact Jerry Petrick with Washington State University᾿s (WSU) Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for confidential, no cost professional business advisory services. Contact Jerry via email: Jerry.petrick@wsbdc. org


Zoom and In-person 7:30—9am

American Workforce Group 1145 14th Ave. Longview No Cost, No Limit of how many can attend Aug.13th – Washington State Long-Term Care Act Payroll Tax – What Does It Mean For Employees And Employers? Facilitator — Ryan Schopp, Alpha Partners

• • • • •

How Do Employees Apply for an Exemption? When and Who can Receive the Benefit? Timelines and Deadlines Employer Insurance Plans, do they qualify? Yes, Every employee is mandated to participate!

No cost to attend but you must sign up. Call the chamber at 360-423-8400 or email to reserve your spot in-person at American Workforce Group office at 1145 14th Ave. or to received the Zoom instructions.


Cowlitz Economic Development Council Ted Sprague President

Manufacturing vital to COVID recovery


obs in the manufacturing sector of the economy are vital for economic stability. The manufacturing sector is best when it comes to supporting families and driving community reinvestment through capital investments. COVID has taught us many things about how we all do business and how innovation is the key to future success. COVID also taught us that manufacturing jobs are the basis for any strong economy. According to a recent study completed by Spencer Cohen of High Peak Strategies for the Association of Washington Business, manufacturing employs 9 percent of the state’s workforce. The study also revealed manufacturing wages in Washington average $81,200, which is 17 percent higher than the statewide average compensation for other jobs. Taking a closer look at Cowlitz County, the manufacturing sector dominates with 17 percent of our workforce. This is the number one job sector for the county. The most recent unemployment statistics (June) for counties in Washington state are striking. While not a perfect statistic, it does indicate trends we can look at over time. The June unemployment rate for Cowlitz County was a historically low 5.8 percent. This is

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not only relevant because of how low the rate is, it is also near or below counties that we are typically 50 percent higher than. For example, King County is 5.2 percent, Snohomish is 6.1 percent and Pierce is 5.6 percent. I am sure this will change as workers unemployment benefits run out and businesses that are desperate for workers will find them, but it is telling a story. In my opinion, the story it tells is – having a significant base of workers in the manufacturing sector makes for a more stable economy than those who rely too heavily on hospitality and tourism. Yes, those sectors are important too, but the emphasis and attention should go to manufacturing first. It is critical that our state find a way to make permitting reasonable, timely and fair to companies that want to locate here, expand here, and exist here.



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Workforce Southwest Washington Kevin Perkey

Chief Executive Officer


Taking steps toward economic recovery and business growth

ince launching our new 2021-2023 Strategic Plan a few months ago, the workforce team has been busy implementing strategies to support business growth and recovery, and economic mobility as we strive for an equitable economic recovery. A few highlights of some of our progress to-date are shared below: Business Growth + Recovery

WorkSource is open for in-person assistance

As our business team forms its Quality Jobs strategy, they are engaging with businesses on a variety of issues, among them:

After 16 months of providing services virtually, WorkSource has re-opened for in-person employment and training services. Individuals may drop in at the center in Kelso, make an appointment to skip waiting in line or continue to receive services virtually.

Hiring strategies to increase opportunities for nondominant populations. Analyzing job descriptions to remove job requirements that could potentially and inadvertently exclude candidates. For example, requiring higher education degrees when not truly necessary to perform essential work functions, decreasing or removing years of experience requirements. And using language to market positions, rather than listing requirements.

The overall readiness to welcome, support and retain nondominant populations in the workplace and what resources companies might find helpful.

Seeking ways to support apprenticeships, especially those for entry-level candidates that include support around developing a professional network and professional/soft skills.

Exploring a pilot partnership with a healthcare organization to create a pathway for current CNAs, especially women, immigrants and people of color.

Gaining insights from the next generation of workers by gathering feedback from local college students on what job quality means to them and incorporating that into our strategies.

In our own organization, we have updated our employee handbook and are reviewing policies, practices and procedures. We will be contacting women- and minority-owned firms in our region to learn more about how we can support them and ensuring they are on our distribution lists to receive future requests for proposals and notices of workforce development grants and other opportunities. Economic Mobility We are reviewing all aspects of our organization and the workforce system with an equity lens to identify and remove barriers to employment and advancement opportunities. To this end, our programs team has taken numerous steps: •

Conducted an analysis of race and ethnicity data across the workforce system. While the data showed Black,

10 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | August 2021

Indigenous, Latinx, Asian and other People of Color (BIPOC) had similar outcomes (i.e., gaining employment, training, etc.) to the rest of the population, we found fewer BIPOC people enrolled in workforce programs compared to their percentage of the population. o To address this, we are focusing on identifying equitable ways to invest our workforce dollars and including specific goals in our contracts with service providers to include outreach and engagement with diverse communities to increase enrollments. •

As we seek to change and improve the workforce system, we acknowledge that nondominant communities have suffered trauma. In recognition of this, we are implementing quarterly trainings for the staff of our current grantees and service providers focused on racial equity and traumainformed care. The first training will be in September.

Rather than assuming we know what any community wants or needs, we are partnering with a local community group to evaluate workforce system accessibility, inclusivity and other factors and create a way to actively engage with community partners throughout the region to ensure the needs of non-dominant communities are being met.

Through our youth career and employment center, Next, we will be seeking individuals with expertise and knowledge of the needs of nondominant populations to provide culturally competent and inclusive services to youth from those communities.

We will continue to keep you apprised of our progress and look forward to your input and partnership as we improve the workforce system to make programs and services more accessible and help those most in need avail themselves of the abundance of resources in our community.


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City of Kelso

City of Longview

Nancy Malone

MaryAlice Wallis



Tossing out a pitch for kindness and patience

Hitting the trail during campaign season

oday, July 25, I had the honor of throwing out the first pitch for the opening ceremony of the Babe Ruth Regional Tournament. It was so wonderful to see our beautiful Rister Field full of so many happy and excited players and families. There were teams from Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, just to mention a few. It was awesome! After such a challenging and constrained year-plus we are beginning to move forward.

e are now well into the season of celebrations, summer events, and elections. It has been a flurry of excitement since that June 30 announcement from state officials that “re-opened” Washington state. The town is abuzz with events and it feels beyond amazing to see, hear about, and participate in the celebrations that have had record-breaking attendance!


Things are starting to happen and hopefully we can get back to our normal way of life. Back to the days when opinions and discussions were not challenged by your friends, neighbors, and even family members. Back to the time when you could have an opinion and agree to disagree and move on. So much confusion nowadays regarding COVID-19. Shot? No shot? Follow? Lead? Voice opinion? Stay silent? Judge? Jury? I firmly believe every person has the right to follow their belief. I am truly hoping we will not continue down this road of unknowns. That we will stop the finger pointing and the insinuations that if you are wearing a mask you didn’t get the shot, or if you are not wearing a mask you may or may not be telling someone you did or maybe didn’t get “the shot”. We need to stop being rude and judging the mentality of others and understand no one has the right to point out others discrepancies. Move on, live your life, whether it is in fear or whether it is all out of a love for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Let’s start this next month with much consideration, love, understanding and kindness to all, but most of all patience.

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Our Go Fourth celebration this year was off-the-charts spectacular thanks to Arleen Hubble and her incredible team! From the Red, White and Boom Firecracker Fun Run (sponsored by the Longview Parks and Recreation Department), to the annual Cardboard Boat Regatta (sponsored by The KLOG Home Team, KUKN Country, The Wave and Cowlitz PUD), to the annual Go Fourth Independence Day parade, the traditional Lake Sacajawea activities with food, merchandise, and informational vendor booths, musicians, and a remarkable fireworks display, Longview and the surrounding communities truly put their hands together in celebrating the 245th anniversary of our country and our freedoms. After enduring a difficult 15-month hiatus from gatherings, this summer of celebrating together has held exceptional meaning. I get a little lump in my throat whenever I see an American flag gently waving – especially during this time of year – and feel extremely grateful for the service given by so many on behalf of us all, so that collectively we can enjoy the everyday freedoms of living in these United States of America. It has always been incredible to me to witness the selfless sacrifice of our first responders and their humble, quiet manner of serving our citizens – thank you. To the numerous veterans, past and present, and our active military servicemen and women – thank you. For our Longview police and fire and the countless hours spent protecting our community – thank you. We have only just begun with the ongoing fun this summer has to offer in our city, from concerts and movies at Lake Sacajawea, events at the Cowlitz County Event Center, Longview Civic Circle, and downtown Longview. Find a venue, get connected, and join in. In the meantime, I hope to see you while on the campaign trail. I’ll be out and about doing what I love best – meeting with folks and discussing the issues, listening, and seeking for solutions, and keeping the lines of communication open within our community.

Business Connection Advertising Rates Effective January 1, 2020 Kelso-Longview Business Connection monthly newsletter is published the first of each month, posted electronically on our website and over 6,400 emailed to local business professionals, city and county officials. To be included in this monthly email, call the Chamber office at 360-423-8400. Size 1/16 Page 1/8 Page 1/4 Page 1/2 Page Full Page

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Kelso Public Schools

Longview Public Schools

Mary Beth Tack

Dan Zorn


Summer school supports learning leaps


or the first time in quite a few years in our district, summer school is being offered this year to elementary and middle school students. Normally reserved for high

school students making up class credits, summer offerings were expanded this year thanks to state funding made available to support learning leaps for all ages after over a year of remote and hybrid instruction. We are excited to work with several community partners to bring a fun and unusual mix of science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) focused projects to keep students engaged. Lower Columbia School Gardens, Columbia River Maritime Museum, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and Cowlitz County History Museum are facilitating projects like building a boat; building a wind turbine; doing chemistry and physics labs; learning about the albatross; learning about reptiles with live snakes, lizards, and turtles; working in our school gardens; and more. Student academic success and well-being are top priorities for us, and I’m proud to say the time, consideration, planning, and efforts put in by our staff to make summer school a high-quality learning experience have been outstanding. Our teaching and learning team put in countless hours to further enhance learning by repurposing hands-on projects in a cross-curriculum manner to build English language arts and mathematics skills. Here’s a look at our summer school by the numbers: •

768 – total number of students in summer school

160 – number of previously incomplete high school courses completed in the first of two summer sessions

113 – total number of staff supporting summer school (includes teachers, administrators, bus drivers, kitchen staff, and counselors)

4 – community partners facilitating projects

1 great experience for Kelso’s kids

14 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | August 2021


Getting ready to open doors in the fall


hile summertime means “no school” for some folks, it is a very busy time at Longview schools. For employees in many departments, preparing for the upcoming school year is busier than when school is in session. The summer months at school districts are all about preparing for the next school year. Our facilities team members are very busy completing maintenance, repair and replacement work at all of our buildings. For example, this means each building is being deep cleaned, old wax is stripped off floors and a fresh coat is applied, carpets cleaned and more. The gym floors at both R.A. Long and Mark Morris high school are being refinished to extend the useful life of the courts. In addition to maintenance work, the preservation of buildings and fields is a key priority during the summer. The district works with local contractors replacing school roofs, updating flooring, completing painting projects, installing new security fencing and cameras, installing sprinkler systems in ball fields and LED lighting in schools for a better learning atmosphere. Summer school is underway and serving students at all grade levels. To help our kids achieve their academic goals we are offering expanded summer school this year. The turnout at all grade levels has been outstanding. Summer school at lower grade levels is focusing primarily on literacy and math, while high school students who have fallen behind have the chance to get back on track with graduation requirements. Activities are also taking place to help kids with their social emotional health as the pandemic has been hard on many of our students. We are looking forward to the start of school this fall. The first day of school is scheduled for Aug. 31. Students at all grade levels will be attending class in person, full time, five days per week. After school activities and sports will resume normal schedules and seasons, which we are excited about. For those who request to remain in remote learning, that option is available for grades 1 through 5. We have made one teacher available for each grade to teach students fully remote. The Longview Virtual Academy will continue providing remote For more Longview Schools, see page 15

Longview Schools from page 14

teaching to students in grades 6 through 12 who wish to go to school remotely. Some parents might be wondering about mask requirements for next year. We are being told by state officials that updated health safety protocol information will be sent to schools this summer.

We will be sending you information and posting it to the district website once it becomes available to us, so more information will be coming out soon. I hope you are enjoying the wonderful weather this summer and please don’t forget to read to and with your child.

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Kelso Longview Business Connection | August 2021 | 15

Lower Columbia College Chris Bailey President

Supporting post-pandemic recovery through Workforce Education Why now is a great time to consider a career in skilled trades


ince 1934, Lower Columbia College has proudly served students and local industries by providing high quality workforce education and training programs. Nearly 87 years later, LCC remains committed to preparing future professionals for rewarding and high-demand careers as we begin to shift toward postpandemic recovery. We recognize that now is a time, both nationally and locally, where many Americans are now rethinking the type of work that they want to do where “53% say they’d switch to an entirely new industry if they could retrain.” Source: Pulse of the American Workforce Survey: Special Report, May 2021

It has been recognized across our region and across the country that there is a serious lack in individuals with the skills–plumbers, pipefitters, welders, diesel and automotive technicians, electricians– to support our country’s and nation’s infrastructure. “The skills trades shortage has been slowly growing for the past several years, but has really reared its head over the past twelve months. The majority of the discrepancy between supply and demand is due to waves of baby boomers retiring, with not enough skilled tradespeople entering the fields at a fast enough rate to replace them. Another prevalent issue is a generalized lack of interest in the skilled trades from younger generations, having access to a much broader employment market than ever before. This means that there are often not enough workers in the various trades, but that it also takes much longer to find someone suitable to hire, and employers often must settle for someone with little to no experience.” Source: Select Staff, private employment agency, May 2021

As individuals seek options and opportunities for the future, LCC’s Workforce Education team is available both virtually and in-person to offer strong career and academic support services. Shorter and more affordable pathways Training programs for the skilled trades are shorter and more affordable allowing individuals to begin a career faster and graduate with less accumulated debt. Traditional academic programs are four years while on average trade programs are two years, allowing students to begin a career in half the time. There are many apprenticeship programs that offer on-the-job training that give individuals the opportunity to get paid while learning their trade. Trade organizations are eager to bring people on board. Our country’s foundation relies on the trades to keep our infrastructure sound. From plumbers and pipefitters to diesel mechanics to automotive technicians, these essential jobs keep the country moving. 16 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | August 2021

Skilled workers are in demand With more manufacturing jobs coming to the country, there are more opportunities for tradespeople than ever. For an entire generation the educational emphasis has been placed on traditional academic programs. With the baby boomer generation retiring there is high demand for tradespeople to fill these open trades positions. There are more job openings than there are skilled tradespeople to fill them. The Baby Boom generation makes up most of the workers in the trade and those experienced journeymen are looking to retire. Incoming workers just starting their careers are getting less crossover time together with those experts in the field and we are losing decades of knowledge. Employers and educators see the skills gap spreading further and further apart. During the pandemic, the work of people in the trades has not slowed and now many journeymen are opting to retire early. There is a huge demand for workers in the trades and many students entering these fields receive job offers before they finish their programs. However, LCC and its industry partners encourage students to continue their path and achieve the level of skill that will make them marketable for years to come. Excellent pay Traditionally the perception was that high paying jobs were only found for the more traditional four-year university graduate. That hasn’t been true for several years, and the country’s infrastructure is experiencing the effects. Skilled tradespeople often make equivalent to or more than their academic counterparts. Most trade jobs not only offer high take home pay but great benefit and retirement packages. These benefits are not always found in other careers. Due to the high demand of these careers, the wages earned in them have always been substantial. Individuals that continue to seek excellence in their trade path and develop their craft find more opportunities to gain a higher income by learning more applications/ processes. They become in-demand workers and move into mentor roles for students coming into their chosen field behind them. Travel the world Trade jobs are not limited to local businesses. They offer opportunities across the country and worldwide. Trade jobs are universal as the skills in any trade will be the same no matter where the job takes an individual, and that makes relocation easy. For more Lower Columbia, see page 17

Building Business Relationships “

Our business members are our financial partners, so our goal is to ensure every business, no matter how large or small, receives fast and efficient service. We strive to meet business members’ individualized needs with top-notch products, competitive rates, minimal fees, and extraordinary service. Whether you’re established and looking for a new financial partner or you’re just starting out on your business venture, we look forward to building a partnership with you.

Karla Seaman, Business Relationship Coordinator

Bring your business to Fibre Federal for Business Plus Checking, Business Online Banking, Remote Deposit, low-cost loans, and incredible member service.

Lower Columbia from page 16

Job security Skilled trades workers were not impacted by the pandemic in lost worked time, as many other jobs were. Many manufacturing jobs continued and even increased in these times to supply the world mid-pandemic. Even before the world was paused, trades workers have always been in high demand. Workers can levy their skills for better wages, better benefits, better jobs, and more stability. Having certifications gives individuals the security to travel and know that they will have the skills needed to gain employment anywhere they go. Pride of job Many people work jobs that are unsatisfying, and just go through the day-to-day motions. Working in the trades offers excitement, camaraderie among coworkers and the true satisfaction of a job well done. Nothing compares to the pride an individual feels as completing a job successfully in the trades. Inclusive work Unlike the image often associated with skilled trades, the industries we know today are all-inclusive. The gender/race/ability of workers is no longer a barrier. Most shops employ people from all demographics, genders, races, religions, abilities, and skill sets. Everyone has a position they can succeed in, and employers are happy to help people find rewarding careers. Addressing the need In addition to regularly reviewing existing programs, hearing from industry in program advisory boards, and updating program inventory in the vocational trades, LCC is beginning a new project in collaboration with industry partners and area high schools. The pilot project begins to build a stronger pipeline of future employees by offering a course in the trades this fall in partnership with Kelso High School: Foundational Trades Occupations High school juniors and seniors from multiple districts are eligible, and will attend this high school Career and Technical Education class on the LCC campus. Students will gain realworld/hands-on experience and develop knowledge and skill sets to prepare for careers in industrial trades. Students will gain skills in machining, manufacturing, and welding and have an opportunity to earn college credit toward a certificate or degree in one of LCC’s Industrial Technology programs including Advanced Manufacturing, Multi-craft Trades (apprenticeship preparation), Machine Trades, or Welding. To learn more about this course, please contact Kelso High School, 360-501-1839. Contact us

360.423.8750 1.800.205.7872 Federally insured by NCUA

Banking made easy

LCC has many opportunities available for individuals who are preparing to enter the workforce. Please visit us at lowercolumbia. edu/go-to-work to learn more. A new career path is on the horizon.

Kelso Longview Business Connection | August 2021 | 17

Cowlitz County Commissioners Arne Mortensen

County Commissioner, District 1

Providing 'the rest of the story'


reface: When I think about writing an article for this laudable newsletter, I wonder whether to report about what can be read readily from various news sources or pull a Paul Harvey and give “the rest of the story.” I apologize for the difficult flow in this article due to the frequent web references, but I could see no other approach. Hiding the links would not serve those who may see this article only in hard copy. Cowlitz County has been ravaged by Washington state’s response to the COVID-19 epidemic that included lockdowns and various mandates. The entire nature of business and contractual relationships, the backbone of our amazing success as a society, was turned upside down. Corollary consequences include severe social impacts, unintended consequences such as suicide, lost school time, and lost once-in-a-lifetime significant events (funerals, church services, high school prom, other celebrations), as well as suffering due to isolation and any number of other limitations. We also note that there is a price on delayed health care and certainly on delayed justice. And let’s not forget the attitudinal malaise of dysfunction that can linger for years. Getting a price tag for the direct costs of the response should be easy, but it is not. There are more pools of funds thrown at this issue than there are flavors at Baskin-Robbins. Rental assistance, utility assistance, unemployment insurance boost, CARES, and ARPA just to name a few. There are estimates floating about; here is one: “Federal ‘COVID’ Spending Just Hit $41,870 Per Taxpayer. Did You See That Much in Benefit?” – Foundation for Economic Education (, or about $18,000 per capita. (That says “federal,” so we are reminded that there is other spending.) For Cowlitz County that is about $1.8 billion, which is considerably more than the $60 million that the County (County plus cities) have received. I would have traded all that grant money for the freedom to manage our own response to the COVID epidemic. What about a cure? If a disease has a cure, then heroic efforts to avoid contagion may be ill-advised. Remdesivir and Ivermectin have been used successfully, but the literature is conflicting, even within two papers from the National Institutes of Health. Because COVID-19 has been highly politicized, it is hard to be confident about reports/studies. Here are some links for you: “Ivermectin for COVID-19: real-time meta analysis of 60 studies” (ivmmeta. com), and “Remdesivir for treatment of COVID-19; an updated systematic review and meta-analysis” – PubMed ( Something must be working: the panic to buy respirators lasted a short time, and we see that a senior, a member of the age group of greatest risk, such as President Trump was back at work in three days. We all know people who have had COVID-19 and were back to work within 14 or fewer days. I cannot help but compare a lockdown of over a year to two weeks away from work. 18 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | August 2021

From the early days of the epidemic, we noted that the elderly were the most impacted by COVID-19, while the youngest were not (influenza is more lethal than COVID-19 for children “How lethal is SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia when compared with respiratory syncytial virus and influenza in young children?” – PubMed ( To create social policy ignoring this fact is (massively, in this case,) destructive to society. This article, “How Economists Calculate The Costs And Benefits Of COVID-19 Lockdowns” (, gives us a rational basis for taking this difference into account. What we have done in Washington state is foolish and destructive and seems to be driven by politics. You should expect more, much more, from your health officers. Let’s do a little mental experiment. There are two groups of people, Group V has been vaccinated, and Group N has not been vaccinated. From data at https://www.worldometers. info/coronavirus/, we can calculate that the total probability of dying from COVID-19 is .05 percent. Let’s assign that number to Group N. The numbers for Group V are more difficult to find, because there are conflicting claims, and there is politicization of data. However, we have heard of serious negative effects on young people, who are not at relative risk of negative COVID-19 outcomes. What risk do young people affected by COVID-19 run? See “COVID Infection Fatality Rates by Sex and Age | American Council on Science and Health” ( So, we could play all kinds of numbers game on extremely small numbers, but what does it mean? Going unvaccinated has limited risk for many, and the cost of recovery from that disease is small compared to the costs of the lockdown “MIT Data Scientist: Lockdowns Not Correlated With Fewer Deaths (But Are Correlated With More Unemployment)” – Foundation for Economic Education ( and mask mandates “Facemasks in the COVID-19 era: A health hypothesis” ( The point is that risks are small, but when we vaccinate, say, 60 percent of mankind, the risk of a major scale catastrophe goes way up. Several times the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has had to retract sanctioned treatments as we learned about unforeseen problems in tested protocols, and with these vaccines have not followed typical FDA process. VAERS “Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System” ( reports address the growth in myocarditis in young men. What if in 10 or 15 years we learn that we planted a time bomb in mankind and that 20 percent of the 60 percent or so vaccinated are doomed? Are the risks of tackling the COVID-19 epidemic today worth the costs and the increased risk of a major scale debacle in the future? This should be a personal decision, exercised without coercion.

New Members Add your business to our growing membership. Call 360-423-8400 Today!

Business Association with opportunities to promote trade through Chamber socials, special events and committee participation.

Look Who Joined in July TNT Cleaning

Ronny Trevilion 1908 Dorothy Avenue, No. 2 Longview, WA 98632 903-269-7746

• Annual Meeting and Banquet • Networking Events • Committee Participation • Business Contacts • Quarterly Membership Meetings • Civic Representation

Lava Canyon Chiropractic, LLC Dr. Kali Gehrman 1445 Commerce Avenue, Suite C Longview, WA 98632 360-703-6033

• Monthly Business After Hours

Business Services include marketing for your business, referrals and access to Chamber publications and research data. • Mailing Labels

CCRC – The Mediation Center Janice Juntunen 1338 Commerce Avenue Longview, WA 98632 360-623-8061

• Membership Window Decals • Member Referrals • Ribbon Cutting • Website Links • Member to Member Discounts • Membership Directory • Tax Deduction

KTE Financial, LLC

Dale Hudson 1740 Delameter Road Castle Rock, WA 98611 360-442-1481

• Newsletter • Business Card Display • Use of Chamber Logo

Representation through action committees, candidate forums and up-to-date action alerts. • Legislative Representation • Issues Tracking and Information • Task Forces • Candidate Forums • Legislative Update Breakfast • Demographics Publication

Membership Packages Basic • $275 or $26 per month Bronze • $500 or $46.66 per month Silver • $1,000 or $86.33 per month Gold • $2,500 or $211.33 per month Platinum • $5,000 or $416.66 per month Diamond Club • $10,000 or $834 per month Nonprofit • $180 or $18 per month

Kelso Longview Business Connection | August 2021 | 19

Calendar August 2021 Sunday 1

Monday 2


Wednesday 4





5 Chamber Ambassadors, 7:30am, ELED CANCColumbia






10 Chamber Executive 11


13 LTAC Bootcamp,



















Board, Noon, Mill City Grill; BAH, Snap Fitness, 5:30-7:30pm Board Meeting, Noon, Mill City Gril

American Workforce Group, 7:30am

September 2021 Sunday












6 Office Closed



9 Chamber





14 Chamber Exec.







21 Chamber










Labor Day

Board, Noon, Mill City; BAH, ServPro 5:30pm

Board Meeting, Noon, Mill City Grill

20 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | August 2021

Ambassadors, 7:30am, Columbia Bank


APRIL 2022 The Kelso Longview Chamber

and its Education Foundation along with every school district in Cowlitz County, including Wahkiakum School District, is planning a Job Shadow Day in April 2022. Our goal is to have over 100 businesses who agree to host one or more students at their business. Please click on the link below and help us with our planning as we attempt to help students become more aware of the career opportunities in our local communities.

105 Minor Rd, Kelso, WA 98626 360-423-8400 •

Mind Your Own Business (At The Library) Chris Skaugset Director – Longview Public Library

Take audiobooks anywhere this summer


ave you heard a good book recently? That may sound a little odd, but it is true. Audiobooks have been around in many forms including vinyl, cassette, CD and now


As children, we loved having books read to us, in many cases even after we could read them ourselves. Humankind has a long, history of storytelling as a way to pass on stories, legends and other aspects of human culture. We were doing that around fires long before we had invented the written word. Because of this, I believe, we have a deep ingrained desire to hear stories as well as to read them. It may be a different type of “reading” but it is reading nevertheless. One difference to be aware of is that you are listening to someone read. A great reader will make even an average book worth listening to, while a poor reader will make even the most enjoyable work a slog to get through. They are useful in making long trips, whether by car, train or airplane, more enjoyable. They also allow you to read while you

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Order Desk

Title Officer


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are doing other things such as cooking dinner, doing chores, or working with your hands in a craft project. Whatever your need for hearing stories is, let us help you fulfill it with our large collection of books on CD as well as access to thousands of audiobooks on the Washington Anytime Library and Hoopla. Below are some of the more recent audiobooks we’ve added to the collection. Reach out and share a book today whether it is listening to an audiobook or reading aloud to your friends and family. There is nothing quite like it. “The Cellist” by Daniel Silva. Master of international intrigue and bestselling author Silva offers a riveting, action-packed tale of espionage and suspense featuring art restorer and spy Gabriel Allon. The fatal poisoning of a Russian billionaire sends Allon on a dangerous journey across Europe and into the orbit of a musical virtuoso who may hold the key to the truth about his friend’s death. The plot he uncovers leads to secret channels of money and influence that go to the very heart of Western democracy and threaten the stability of the global order. For more Library, see page 23


computer • tablet • phone Sign up today and receive a $5 credit


Title Plant Admin

Most in-depth title plant in the county. Accurate Reliable Timely Locally Owned 1159 14th Avenue , Longview, WA 98632 360.423.5330 22 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | August 2021

Sign up today! Call 360.423.2210 or

The Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce would like to THANK the following loyal members for renewing their partnership with us this month. B & R Mini Storage Best Western Aladdin Motor Inn Busack Electric CalPortland Capstone Cellars Columbia Security Copies Today Speedy Litho, Inc Cowlitz Container & Diecutting Edward Jones – Nick Lemiere Habitat For Humanity – Cowlitz County Hart Radiator JL Storedahl & Sons, Inc Kaiser Permanente Les Schwab Tire Center Pacific Office Automation Papa Pete's Pizza – Longview PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center Pets, Pawns & Imports SRD Enterprise LLC SW Washington Symphony Washington State University – Vancouver

Library from page 22

“The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race” by Walter Isaacson. One of the great biographers of our time, Isaacson has written a gripping account of how Nobel Prize winner Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues launched a revolution that will allow us to cure diseases, fend off viruses, and have healthier babies. Driven by a passion to understand how nature works and to turn discoveries into inventions, she and her collaborators turned a curiosity of nature into an invention that will transform the human race: an easy-to-use tool that can edit DNA. Known as CRISPR, it opened a brave new world of medical miracles and moral questions. After helping to discover CRISPR, Doudna became a leader in wrestling with these moral issues and, with her collaborator Emmanuelle Charpentier, won the Nobel Prize in 2020. Her story is a thrilling detective tale that involves the most profound wonders of nature, from the origins of life to the future of our species. “The Four Winds” by Kristin Hannah. From the bestselling author comes an American epic about love, heroism and hope, set during the Great Depression, a time when the country was in crisis and at war with itself, when millions were out of work and even the land seemed to have turned against them. Hannah has written a sweeping novel that stunningly brings to life the Great Depression, the people who lived through it, and the harsh realities that divided us as a nation and the enduring battle between the haves and the have-nots. A testament to hope, resilience, and the strength of the human spirit to survive adversity, this story is an indelible portrait of America and the American dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman whose courage and sacrifice will come to define a generation. “A Distant Shore” by Karen Kingsbury. Inspirational fiction superstar and bestselling author of life-changing fiction returns with this high-stakes love story of danger, passion, and faith. She was a child caught in a riptide in the Caribbean Sea. He was a teenager from the East Coast on vacation with his family. He dove in to save her, and that single terrifying moment changed both their lives forever. Ten years later Jack Ryder is a daring secret agent with the FBI and Eliza Lawrence still lives on that pristine island. She’s an untainted princess in a kingdom of darkness and evil, on the brink of a forced marriage with a dangerous neighboring drug lord, a marriage arranged by her father. This time when Jack and Eliza meet, neither of them can explain the connection, they seem to have. Both their lives are on the line, and once again, the stakes are deadly high. “Lincoln’s mentors: The Education of a Leader” by Michael J. Gerhardt. A brilliant and novel examination of how Abraham Lincoln mastered the art of leadership, revealing how five men mentored an obscure lawyer with no executive experience to become America᾿s greatest president. In 1849, when Lincoln returned to Springfield, Ill., after two seemingly uninspiring years in Congress, his political career appeared all but finished. Yet within a decade, Lincoln would reenter politics, become a leader of the Republican Party, win the 1860 presidential election, and keep America together during its most perilous period. Lincoln learned from the successes, failures, oratory, and political maneuvering of a surprisingly diverse handful of men, some of whom he had never met but others of whom he knew intimately: Henry Clay, Andrew Jackson, Zachary Taylor, John Todd Stuart, and Orville Browning. From their experiences, and his own, Lincoln learned valuable lessons on leadership, mastering party politics, campaigning, conventions, understanding and using executive power, managing a cabinet, speechwriting and oratory, and, what would become his most enduring legacy, developing policies and rhetoric to match a constitutional vision that spoke to the monumental challenges of his time. Without these mentors, Lincoln would likely have remained a small-town lawyer– and without Lincoln, the United States as we know it may not have survived. This book tells the unique story of how Lincoln emerged from obscurity and learned how to lead.

Kelso Longview Business Connection | August 2021 | 23

News & Events Long-term payroll tax quickly approaches with Nov. 1 opt-out deadline From Retail Association Services, Inc. | Washington Retail Services

When the long-term care (LTC) program was initially passed in 2019, it allowed individuals to opt-out of the program at any time if they have private LTC insurance up until Dec. 31, 2022. Due to HB 1323 passed earlier this year, only individuals who have purchased private LTC insurance by Nov. 1, 2021 would qualify for an exemption. The catch is, even if your application for an exception is eventually approved, you will begin paying 58 cents of every $100 of income to the program, now referred to as the Washington Cares Fund (WCF), in addition to your privately purchased policy. The state will not refund what was paid into the fund before an exemption approval unless the legislature takes further action. Another caveat to the WCF is the amount you will pay, as the tax rate is not set in stone. While it will be at a fixed 0.58 percent for the first two years, after that, the tax rate will be set by the Pension Funding Council at the “lowest amount necessary to maintain the actuarial solvency of the long-term services and supports trust account.” According to the Long-Term Services and Supports Trust Commission

(LTSSTC), the payroll tax rate might need to increase to 0.66 percent to maintain long-run solvency. What you need to know: Unlike the Paid Family Medical Leave with a deduction limit tied to the Social Security tax ($142,800 in 2021), the 58 cents per $100 of earnings premium rate applies to the whole paycheck without a ceiling. Though the contribution rate is based on earnings, the lifetime maximum benefit of $36,500 with cost-of-living built-in is the same for all. The benefit is not portable from state to state. In other words, Washington state workers who move out of state or retire to a different state will not be able to access benefits regardless of the amount of their contribution. This program is solely funded by workers. Self-employed earners must opt-in for the WCF, the same exemption criteria the Family Leave Act, but there are time limitations. To be eligible to receive the benefit, you must meet specific qualifications of contribution and need. According to the American Council of Aging, the maximum lifetime benefit would last a Washingtonian less than four months in the average nursing home. Employers are responsible for communicating details of the program and process premiums on their behalf. Retail Services will be hosting an informational webinar with ESD regarding the WCF on Aug. 10 at 10 a.m., PST. Click HERE to register for this free event. Contact the WCF for questions or consider joining their email list.

State offers 50 percent match funding for retail employee training ”Heritage approaches us with solutions before we come to them with problems.” - Scott Holley, Eddyline Kayaks

Unique solutions for unique businesses We provide a deeper level of personalized service that helps us tailor the right solutions for the way you work. | 800.455.6126 |

Equal Housing Lender | Member FDIC

24 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | August 2021

From Retail Association Services, Inc. | Washington Retail Services

According to research conducted nationally on frontline employees, advancing the careers of frontline workers contributes to a more productive and loyal workforce that boosts their bottom line. The good news is that retail employers can access Customized Training Program and Job Skills Program with up to 50 percent match for employee training and development. The Washington State Board administers these programs for community and technical colleges. Preferences are for job creation/retention, small businesses, and underserved For more News, see page 25

News from page 24


through Aug. 13.

Free consultation to assess needs and apply for grants are available. Retail employers who wish to use RISE Up for entry-level or upskilling frontline workers may qualify for these state funds.

Residents can donate school supplies at Red Canoe branch locations or donate cash online at Monetary donations made to Fill the Canoe through the website will be matched dollar-for-dollar by Red Canoe Credit Union.

Grant applications are now open for training programs to start by Oct. 1. The next quarterly application due date is Aug. 31. Don’t hesitate to contact the consultants listed below who specialize in working with retail employers. Invista Performance Solutions – Don Sosnowski, 253-583-8860; Steven Kovacs, 253-583-8865; or Mike Nielsen. director of corporate and continuing education, Green River College,, 253-520-6283,

Fill the Canoe back to school drive continues through Aug. 13

Red Canoe Credit Union offices around the area are collecting school supplies in the annual Fill the Canoe back to school drive

Cowlitz PUD hosts free community barbecue and assistance fair Cowlitz PUD is hosting a COVID Relief Fair Sept. 17 in its auditorium located at 961 12th Ave. from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The objective of the event is to provide a one-stop, free stop for those who have been impacted by the pandemic and connect them with resources in the community. Cowlitz PUD will be providing a free barbecue lunch to all who attend. Event will provide Cowlitz PUD customers with tools and resources during this time of recovery. Participating will be agencies that provide resources that assist the community in getting back on its feet.

Your Locally Owned and Operated Community Bank • Checking, Savings and CDs • Business Loans • Construction Loans • SBA Loans 729 Vandercook Way, Longview

(360) 414-4101

There’s a Difference. Kelso Longview Business Connection | August 2021 | 25

2021 January 12: OPEN February 9: March 23: JoJo CoCo & Wander April 13: Teri’s May 11: Cowlitz Title June 8: Catlin Properties July 13: American Workforce August 10: Snap Fitness September 14: ServPro October 12: Farm Dog Bakery Life Works November 9: Fidelity National Title December 14: (Holiday Mixer)

Interested in hosting a Business After Hours in 2022? Contact the Chamber at 360-423-8400 or email

Longview Downtowners Lindsey Cope

President; also Vice President Cowlitz Economic Development Council and Facilitator Kelso Business and Community Association

We're working to get folks downtown


owlitz Economic Development Council

Saturday events through the fall and into the holiday season. Shop

We have been staying busy at the Cowlitz Economic Development Council (CEDC). We have been in the

Local Saturday is the fourth Saturday of every month. At our July 22 meeting, it was decided to move forward with our annual Trick

process of wrapping up our last grant program with the Longview

or Treat Downtown. Trick or Treat Downtown will take place

Downtowners from the Community Foundation of Southwest

Oct. 30 from 4-6 p.m. Stay tuned for more details as the event

Washington and growing the county-wide Shop Local Saturday


events. There is news that there will likely be a fifth round of Working Washington Grants through the Department of Commerce in the future, but we do not have any information about the qualifications or timeline at this time. We have been meeting with multiple new clients and assisting with projects from Castle Rock to Woodland. Our three-course business series with Lower Columbia College and the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments assisted nearly 40 individuals for little or no cost at all to them. We are looking forward to working with our partners to expand these offerings and topics soon.

Shop Local Saturday in November coincides with Small Business Saturday and will be followed by the Junior Service League’s Festival of Trees, which will be available for viewing from Dec. 1-3. As far as we know the annual Christmas parade is on for the first Saturday in December. Every Saturday in December before Christmas will feature an extra event downtown. These details will be announced as the events approach. We are also working together with the city on a variety of initiatives. We are thrilled with the momentum from the membership after such a long break from meetings. Thank you to Mill City Grill for hosting us the third Thursday of the month

The CEDC works with our partners and stakeholders on

upstairs at 3 p.m. Don’t forget that anyone interested in partnership,

the Lower Columbia Investment Network and the Longview

promotion, preservation, and development of downtown Longview

Revolving Loan Fund. Each have had a variety of applicants and

is welcome to attend.

are continuing to take applications. If you are interested in these programs, you can find more information at We are looking to the future of Cowlitz County and expanding our programs related to workforce, education, retention, expansion, and recruitment. We serve businesses of all sizes located within or interested in locating within Cowlitz County. If you are interested in any of the above, please reach out: Ted Sprague, CEDC president, at or me at Additionally, this summer has been particularly exciting as we have participated in reconvening in-person meetings for the Kelso Business and Community Association (KBCA) and the Longview Downtowners. Both groups were happy to be together again and eager to get moving forward.

Kelso Business and Community Association The Kelso Business and Community Association met under the covered area at Tam O’ Shanter Park for the first time in over a year. We discussed where we had left off pursuing the America in Bloom program, Shop Local Saturday, way-finding signs, banners, and the holiday season. The group will meet again Aug. 24 at 9 a.m. at the Cowlitz County Historical Museum. Anyone interested in making Kelso a little better through business and community initiatives including making Kelso an America in Bloom City for 2022, shop local programs, working with our stakeholders on how to better attract businesses of all sizes, increasing tourism, and more is welcome. This group is focused on positive actions and creating solutions as a team.

Downtown Longview Longview Downtowners are continuing to grow the Shop Local

We look forward to the recovery and growth of our beautiful community through COVID and beyond. Kelso Longview Business Connection | August 2021 | 27



Business After Hours Summer Sun 'n' Fun

Thank you to our friends at American Workforce Group, Inc., for hosting Business After Hours on July 13.

a A sandbagger and Sandy B. McNutt talk Squirrel Fest b Ambassadors Marlene, Pam and Diane welcome guests c We drew a big crowd d AWG's Julie Nelson draws a winner e Julie with winner Kevin Campbell


d 28 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | August 2021


Your Chamber Connection

EVERY Wednesday on KEDO 1400AM Join our hosts Carey Mackey, Red Canoe Credit Union; Karen Sisson; Shawn Green, ServPro Longview/Kelso and Marc Silva, Columbia Bank for local guests and current events. Would you like an opportunity to be on Your Chamber Connection? Contact Bill or Amy at the Chamber 360-423-8400.




a Julie Nelson with American Workforce Group talked to us about hosting Business After Hours b Rich Colman with Bicoastal Media c Phil Rogers, also with Bicoastal Media Stream Your Chamber Connection live at


Virtual Performances by local artists! SATURDAYS AT 5PM WATCH ON THE COLUMBIA THEATRE'S FACEBOOK & YOUTUBE SEE ALL PAST VIRTUAL SHOWS AT WWW.COLUMBIATHEATRE.COM Columbia Theatre Longview Box Office: 360.575.8499/ Facebook: YouTube:

30 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | August 2021

Tune in to…

Your Chamber Connection Recorded on Wednesdays 11:00 am to 12:00 noon Listen at 6:00 pm KEDO 1400 AM or 99.1 FM Featuring your hosts: Carey Mackey - Red Canoe Credit Union Karen Sisson Shawn Green - Longview Kelso Servpro Marc Silva - Columbia Bank