University of Oregon

Resource Assistance for Rural Environments

Stayton acquires services of Oregon RARE participant

City of Stayton agreed to engage in a partnership with Friends of Old Town Stayton to acquire services from University of Oregon’s Resource Assistance for Rural Environments (RARE) Program.

On Monday, Aug. 7, City Administrator Keith Campbell and City Planner Dan Fleishman provided Stayton City Council with an overview of the program, noting that Friends of Old Town Stayton had been awarded a RARE participant. That participant, a college graduate or graduate level student, will provide almost a year of community-development service.

The council favored the report’s partnership recommendation, 4-0, with Councilor Priscilla Glidewell, a Friends of Old Town Stayton member, abstaining from the vote.

The report said the awarded RARE participant would be a full-time employee for 11 months or 1,700 hours, who would provide support services from a team of planning/policy analysts from U of O. There would also be regular community site visits and evaluations by RARE staff.

The city and Friends of Old Town Stayton would split the matching cost of $23,000 ($11,500 each). Fleishman said that money “pays for the stipend and assists with the benefits the participant receives.”

Earlier in the year the city agreed to provide some support to Friends of Old Town Stayton, a group focused on revitalizing Stayton’s downtown. It had received some grant money from other sources, but not enough to secure the RARE participant outright.

Fleishman and Campbell envision the RARE participant providing updates to the city’s downtown revitalization plan while also assisting with economic development and housing strategies.

The RARE program began in 1994 and has since placed more than 400 participants statewide, including three in Stayton.

The RARE mission “is to increase the capacity of rural communities to improve their economic, social, and environmental conditions, through the assistance of trained graduate-level participants who live and work in communities for 11 months.

“Participants assist communities and agencies in the development and implementation of plans for achieving a sustainable natural resource base and improving rural economic conditions while gaining community building and leadership skills.”

Councilor Mark Kronquist said he viewed the RARE participant assistance as a continuation of recent and ongoing strides toward downtown revitalization.

“A year and a half ago (Mayor) Hank (Porter) and I were standing downtown watching a piece of tumbleweed blow downtown,” Kronquist said. “We’ve seen a lot of positive changes since then, and I think this is just going in the right direction.”

Stayton City Council moved its second August meeting from the regularly scheduled date to the next night, Tuesday, Aug. 22, to accommodate anticipated resource strain from substantial tourism due to Monday’s solar eclipse.

Originally Published in Statesman Journal
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Salem, OR 97309

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