January at the IFA

To get 2014 started, I’m beginning to take a look at the Agora Investment Platform.

In April of 2011, the Meyer Memorial Trust (MMT) set out to understand what it could do to make a difference in economic development. After six months of secondary research and conversations with nearly 100 economic development practitioners from across Oregon, MMT Fellow Kipp Baratoff learned that economic development was exceedingly complex, especially in rural Oregon. As an outcome from these conversations, he created a nomenclature (here to view image) designed to categorize the different system requirements of economic development that lead to economic vitality. In October of 2011, MMT, in partnership with Oregon Governor Kitzhaber’s Regional Solution Center and the Mid-Columbia Economic Development District (MCEDD), piloted this nomenclature in the MCEDD region to identify opportunities for investment.

By January 2012, conversations with approximately another 100 individuals in the MCEDD representing over 45 organizations had produced a list of over 100 community prioritized opportunities and an expressed interest by the community and capital providers outside the region for a “tool” to replicate the work to include a larger audience. Between January and April 2012, the MCEDD community and a broad range of capital providers came together to assess the precise need for, level of interest in, and cost of a web application, which later was dubbed the “Investment Platform for Economic Development” (IPED) or “Agora.”

In basic terms, Agora is a social media tool that connects potenial funders and capital providers with community development projects. As part of my responsibilities with the IFA, I am examining the Agora Investment Platform in order to think of ways to improve the tool. I am also helping to develop a training workshop to teach IFA staff members to use the website.

For more updates on the Agora Investment Platform, stay tuned for my next blog.



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About Geoff Ostrove

Geoff (MCRP, 2013, Community & Regional Planning; MS, 2012, Communication & Society, Univ. of Oregon; BA, 2010, Communication, Humboldt State Univ.) is a doctoral candidate in Media Studies at the University of Oregon. His primary focus is on integrating communication theory into the world of community planning and analyzing the political economic factors that influence our perception of land use and development. Geoff is currently working with the Oregon Infrastructure Finance Authority (IFA) through the Oregon Sea Grant's Natural Resources Policy Fellowship. His masters project for the Department of Planning, Public Policy, and Management (PPPM) focused on the need to acknowledge the polyrational nature of our communities in order to implement effective public engagement campaigns. Geoff was honored with the University of Oregon's 2013 Public Impact Award, as well as IAMCR's 2013 Urban Communication Research Grant. He was also named one of Humboldt State's Emerging Scholars in 2010. His wide range of research interests include: intercultural communication, religious studies, critical theory, political economy, rhetoric/public address, and urban planning & natural resource management.

1 thought on “January at the IFA

  1. The Baratoff community service interactive is great. I will share that with folks. I look forward to see where you take the Agora Investment Platform.

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