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home : business : business July 22, 2018

10/31/2017 1:03:00 PM
Sisters economic activity percolates

Several local businesses were recently visited by a contingent of Australian economic developers, according to Sisters EDCO manager Caprielle Foote-Lewis. Sisters Coffee, glass artist Susie Zeitner, and Laird SuperFood were all part of a tour for the Australians.

"There appears to be a synergy between the Pacific Northwest and Australia," Foote-Lewis reported.

At each one of the businesses, good connections were made and something was accomplished. The Australians are looking at growing their market for functional art and culinary art.

EDCO is a nonprofit corporation with a mission to create a diversified local economy and a strong base of middle-class jobs in Central Oregon through encouraging businesses to move here, to start up here and to grow.

At the October 18 EDCO (Economic Development for Central Oregon) meeting, Community Development Director Patrick Davenport reported that Laird SuperFood has received their permit for their new building, and construction on the foundation is underway in the light industrial zone.

Davenport also reported that HousingWorks is near receiving site plan approval for its 48-unit low-income apartment development on Brooks Camp Road. Construction should begin in spring 2018. The Sisters project progress was delayed because it was tied to a similar project in La Pine for funding, which took a little longer for approval.

In Spring 2018, the local EDCO board will be sponsoring the city's first "Made in Sisters" event to showcase local traded-sector businesses. The day will include a luncheon and tours of businesses for EDCO members and investors. The tours will provide opportunities for local businesses to share their successes and challenges and how they have solved problems. The tours may also open doors for further investor involvement.

Britt Wehrman of BendBroadband gave a comprehensive report to the board to update them on current capacity and future plans for the company. He provided some background on Telephone and Data Systems (TDS) that acquired BendBroadband in 2014 from Amy Tykeson of Bend.

"TDS has a footprint across 40 states," reported Wehrman.

Their operations include U.S. Cellular, One Neck IT Solutions, Suttle Strauss, TDS, and BendBroadband, among others. It is a $4 billion company with significant resources. They just recently acquired Crestview Communications that serves Madras, Prineville, and La Pine.

They have three main types of business - wireline operations, cable operations (in Bend and the southwest U.S.), and hosted and managed services with data centers in six states (One Neck IT).

TDS employs 3,400 employees nationwide who provide a variety of services including high-speed Internet, video and voice services, hosted/managed services, and colocation hybrid IT solutions. Three hundred of those employees are in Central Oregon.

Wehrman discussed the huge impact of services like Netflix on their traffic. Currently, between the hours of 8 to 10 p.m., the busiest demand time, Netflix makes up more than 70 percent of their traffic.

TDS has spent $28 million on their infrastructure to keep up with the increasing demand for services as there are now 15 billion Internet-connected devices and a proliferation of endpoints with increased self-publishing, YouTube, new business models, and new applications.

Wehrman reported that their service has diverse entry and exit points into Sisters with built-in redundancy so that traffic will reroute and not "dead-end." Because there are multiple nodes, there is no singular point of failure in the system. He said the most frequent choke point is usually in the individual router in a customer's home or


The next EDCO meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, November 15, 3:30 p.m., at City Hall.

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