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It seems that when the Crook County community puts its best foot forward for people outside area, good things happen

Some of you probably remember this past September when the Portland Trail Blazers and Moda Health came to visit. Hosting its Rip City Rally in several locations throughout the state, Prineville was chosen as one of several communities for the event, and the organization treated local students to entertaining assemblies and the town to a highly visible fair downtown.

What people may not have realized at the time, while they came out in force to participate in the festivities and show their appreciation, is that the Trail Blazers and Moda organizations left with a strong first impression of the community.

First impressions are important in just about any walk of life, and it seems that when the Crook County community puts its best foot forward for people outside area, good things happen. Consider almost a decade back when the community managed to combine its business friendly mission with an Enterprise Zone tax exemption to persuade Facebook and Apple to plant data centers in a timber and tires town. That has worked out pretty well, and once the tax exemptions expire in a few more years, the financial rewards figure to increase substantially.

Later on, thanks to some economic improvement nationwide that spilled into Prineville, community leaders were able to move forward with a new school and hospital and a new jail is not far behind. Add to that several planned recreational upgrades that have increased the appeal of the Crook County community for new residents and new businesses alike.

First impressions matter, and the Trail Blazers and Moda Health have provided the most recent example in their decision to name Prineville's Old Stryker Field a top-three finalist for its Community Assist Program. The community could receive $20 per assist the Blazers compiled this season to go toward a new playground. As some likely know, the Parks and Recreation District is already hoping to build a new playground on the field and needs to raise about $600,000 to make it a reality. Halfway through the Blazers season, the team has amassed 1,050 assists, so the project stands to gain at least $20,000 of that total — if the community receives enough online votes between Feb. 20 and March 20.

Parks and Recreation leaders applying for the program certainly played a large role in Prineville making the cut, but one of Moda Health's representatives acknowledged that the community made itself memorable during the September Rip City Rally. She gushed about how welcoming the community was and how much energy and enthusiasm they showed during the short visit.

The lesson can be applied to anybody from government leaders, to business owners, to citizens on the street. This community is under continual evaluation by visitors and residents alike. You want to see more businesses and more job opportunities or continued amenity upgrades, put your best foot forward.

Good community leadership is crucial to maintain a business-friendly culture as well as a strong base of education and recreation. So is community pride, which involves strong support for local events as well as keeping the community clean and appealing. Even the simple show of friendliness and courtesy while you are out and about can make a difference.

First impressions can have a lasting impact. Let's make sure they are as good as possible.


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