Courtney Griesel, Springfield’s economic development manager, can leave her post next month knowing she’s left the City in a better position than when she first walked onto the scene 15 years ago.
Economic development for a city of over 62,000 is a lot to unpack, and every day has been Moving Day for Griesel. She has been with the City of Springfield since 2006, leading critical economic and community development programs and projects.
“It’s been a challenge every single day, but it’s been for a community that deserves it,” Griesel said at Monday’s council meeting.
For many on council – and in my experience covering these meetings – Griesel was often the first person to touch base with for answers to lingering questions, connections or clarifications. Her seemingly infinite ability to break down confusing subjects and logistics was accompanied by a calming poise and professionalism that could be noted at any meeting.
She’s taken a job in the private sector with Sierra Pacific Industries, a forest products company, where she will serve as its new Oregon community relations manager in January. There, Griesel will lead public engagement of SPI, including its affiliate, Seneca.
The company, which boasts expertise in sustainable forest management and manufacturing innovation, has 450 crew-members, operates four sawmills in the county and manages 175,000 acres of privately-owned forestland in Western Oregon.
If the company should have any doubt about her capabilities, it need not look any further than the testimony of her own colleagues.
“It is rare to find a level of talent and dedication that Courtney delivers,” Springfield mayor Sean VanGordon said. “Over the last 15 years she’s played a leading role in Springfield’s most successful projects, and has volunteered to handle some of our most significant challenges.”
Courtney’s primary focus has been citywide economic development, business retention, expansion, recruitment, site development and public-private partnerships.
“But that’s only part of her story,” VanGordon said, noting that she was also the author of Downtown Springfield’s Urban Renewal Plan – a “key component” to the resurgence of downtown. She was also a contributing author to the Glenwood Refinement Plan, a cornerstone to future development plans.
Marilee Woodrow, city councilor and chair of the Springfield Economic Development Agency, commended Griesel for her role in helping to establish a firm foundation for SEDA before her departure. “Your legacy is there, and what we go forward and accomplish is a result of you creating that base,” she said.
“I say it often that Springfield is a place where amazing people are quietly doing really amazing things,” Griesel said. Despite her departure, she said her support is unwavering for the Springfield community.
“I am Springfield’s loudest fan in the stands now,” Griesel said. “Someone will be loud on your behalf, because it’s just greatness ahead.”
Erin Tierney is the executive editor of The Chronicle.