Missoula County Commissioner Jean Curtiss is highlighting her economic development chops as she seeks re-election. With reporters in tow today, Curtiss met with a handful of business owners at the revitalized Bonner mill site just east of Missoula.
"I thought it was important to be able to communicate with folks about some of the projects I've been involved in in the economic development area," Curtiss said. "This is really a rehab of an old mill site. As people drive by they sometimes think it doesn't look like there's much going on there. Well, it's all happening inside and then it's being shipped all over the country and the world."
The reduction in lumber demand due to the housing market downturn led to the closure of the 170-acre Stimson plywood mill back in 2008.* The Bonner property was purchased three years later and is now home to over 17 businesses employing over 400 people. Those businesses range from a brewery and wood chipping facility to trailer and pedicab manufacturers.
"Going forward my experience in lots of arenas - I've served on the board of health, non-profit boards, economic development, land use - they all play together. Hopefully I can bring that experience to the county for six more years," Curtiss said.
Jean Curtiss has served on the Missoula County Commission since 2000.
Missoula-area farmer Josh Slotnik, also a Democrat, is challenging Curtiss for that seat.
* Correction: We've updated the post to clarify that the Stimson mill closure in 2008 was a result of the reduction in lumber demand due to the housing market downturn.