Feds grant $150,000 to study Stilly valley economy

By Dan Catchpole Herald Writer

Local business boosters and public officials have received a federal grant to come up with a road map to bring jobs back to the North Fork Stillaguamish River valley.

The plan will have to grapple with the long-term decline of the area’s logging industry and more short-term fallout from the deadly Oso mudslide in March.

Economic Alliance Snohomish County, a private economic development group, is leading the effort in partnership with the county, Washington State University and the cities of Arlington and Darrington.

The $150,000 grant, announced Monday, came from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, an agency in the Department of Commerce.

The plan should be finished by mid-year 2015. It will focus on increasing the number of high-skill and well-paying jobs in the area in the following three to 20 years, said John Monroe, an executive with Economic Alliance Snohomish County.

“It’ll look at what assets they have and the opportunities for diversification,” he said.

Government and a nonprofit groups are creating the plan, but its success will depend on the private sector, he said. “Private industry is going to have to play a significant role in this.”

Dan Catchpole: 425-339-3454; dcatchpole@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @dcatchpole.