Letter: Changes needed to use potential

As a State Legislator, my job is to facilitate a safe and secure Oregon. Development of economic growth in our communities is a duty I take seriously.

Our future depends upon our ability to create, innovate, and market the next best ideas.

Therefore, I could not remain silent about a recent decision made by the Monmouth Independence Network (Minet) board to shelve a proposal to provide free and/or low-cost WiFi throughout its service areas. This is an unfortunate development. I urge a reconsideration of this policy choice.

We originally built Minet as a tool for economic development: a magnet to bring tech start-ups, provide unique capacity opportunities for small businesses, and empower innovators willing to share ideas to a global marketplace.

While our services to residential customers are best known, the network was engineered to support a robust commercial portfolio.

Minet was intended as a modern “farm to market” portal to a global marketplace — it is time for us to recalibrate the strategy and structure of Minet for the emergent potentials of the 21st century economy. Other communities throughout Oregon are racing to do what we have already done — it is critical for us to optimize investments made for opportunities to come.

Over the past several years I have asked various members of Minet leadership to consider proposals including the following: restructure governance board by including more citizen-at-large and non-voting advisory positions; focus investments in assisting small business development; and invite a comprehensive review of internal practices, policies, and procedures.

These recommendations are intended to yield a healthier, more representative and transparent organization better able to seize new avenues for potential revenues as well as enhanced capacities to facilitate economic growth and sustainability.

I urge the leadership of our community to make the absolute best use of this public treasure.

Paul Evans



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