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The coming revival of the Plumas economy

Plumas is a beautiful place to live, but a hard place to work. With an unemployment rate of 10.4 percent, we desperately need an economic boost to deliver jobs.

I’m new to Plumas. I moved up a year ago and have been renovating the Crescent Hotel and Store in Crescent Mills. People often ask me why I am investing my life savings in Plumas given the economic situation. I think the gloom about the economy is oversold and I’m optimistic we will see a significant economic revival over the next five years due to new technologies and crops.

The three biggest factors are:

1) Self-Driving Cars (Tourism)

Plumas is 4.5 hours from San Francisco, Tahoe is 3.5 hours. It’s exhausting to drive so far and that extra hour makes a huge difference when tourists plan their vacation. But from 2018, self-driving cars will be available and from 2022, all vehicle makers will offer this feature, and by 2025, the majority of cars will have this feature. Self-driving means you can kick-back, take a snooze and catch up on Facebook as you zip up the 70. The extra hour will be an extra hour of relaxing, and so not a problem at all. This will make Plumas much more accessible and bring a big boost to tourism.

2) The Sharing Economy (Tourism)

The internet allows owners to share and rent out their assets easily. For example, AirBnB (a play on air-bed and breakfast) started in 2007 and now books more nights than any hotel chain in the world, all without owning a single room.AirBnB allows property owners to make a few bucks by renting out rooms to tourists. It’s already very popular with more than 50 rooms and cottages available across Plumas. This could easily expand to 100 or 200 spaces across the county.

This model of renting assets to others will expand as we learn to cash in on that bedroom or extra car. There are plenty of spare bedrooms in Plumas and the unlocking of this value will provide cash to the residents and boost the number of visitors to our restaurants and events.

3) Commercial Cannabis (Ag jobs)

Legal cannabis is the U.S.’ fastest growing industry and offers a unique opportunity to California’s rural, agricultural counties.

Plumas will never be huge in the world of cannabis. Much of the land is protected forest and the high elevation delivers a short growing season. In addition, Plumas is far from major markets and growers may find it hard to complete with more established areas like Humboldt and Mendocino.

Yet, even with these challenges, commercial cannabis could provide a boost to local agriculture. Assuming the State and County establish reasonable regulations and investment is available, Plumas could easily host 30 commercial greenhouses. With five jobs per greenhouse, these 150 legal, well-paying jobs could make a big dent in the unemployment rate.

In summary, Plumas is poised for an economic revival. New technology and changes in regulation provide opportunities for growth.

But we have to want it. None of these three factors require government investment, but each need the support and understanding of the community and a certain degree of regulation to keep everyone happy and safe.

Please be optimistic and supportive as these opportunities develop and don’t forget to wave when you see your first self-driving car.

11 thoughts on “The coming revival of the Plumas economy

  • Blah blah blah from the guy who places himself on a board in order to sway the agenda to meet his needs. Stay in Orinda, you’ve done enough harm to the cannabis community here.

  • Oh, gee…another San Franciscan gracing Sierrans with their enlightenment.

    You destroyed your communities on the coast and are now try to bring those same ideals out here.

    So you want to boost tourism, huh? You think these people need handouts from your self-important coastal friends – tossing money and candy out the windows as they sail through town in their self-driven cars? Buying up the few houses in the area, only to rent out as AirBnBs?

    I guess your buddies would be appalled to see any logging being done to build said houses and cabins – or mining operations which provide the metals used for production of those self driving cars. But they probably won’t notice, as they’ll be “snooz[ing] and catch[ing] up on Facebook as [they] zip up the 70”.

    So how about bringing back those industries that once allowed these mountain towns to truly succeed on their own? Do you really believe that the countries that we are currently buying those materials from give a damn about Environmental Impact Reports?

    I already know your true response to these questions: out of sight/out of mind.

    Am I right?

    I wish you luck with your pipe dreams regarding economic recovery, but you should probably try to sell your ideas to those you’re haven’t destroyed with your bs bleeding heart agenda in the first place. Go join the Peace Corps and save the people from themselves somewhere else. Thanks!

    Btw, I hope I’m not close enough to wave at that first self driving car…just before it plummets into the Feather.

    And thanks for explaining the BnB acronym to us backward country folk. God knows Bed n’ Breakfasts were strictly a city-thing before the Internet!

    Thanks again!

  • Great example of an outsider screwing things locally. Congrats Mr. Fogarty for making an entire county hate you for your slimy tactics, you better hope things work out for the LOCAL cannabis community. If only the public could use for falsifying voter documents….

  • *sue, cuz that’s what you deserve! You make me sick.

  • How many jobs have you helped to provide to county Mike530 or C.Stu(obviously college student so I know the answer to that one)?
    I don’t know Matt but The market in Crescent mills looks better than it has in decades, thanks for that and thank you for your optimism and believing in our future. I am a second generation Plumas county resident, I was born here and have lived here for my entire life(40 years) as has my wife who is third generation, my father was a logger so I understand the value and importance of the timber industry has to this community. I also understand that if you are waiting for timber dollars to kick in and save the local economy than you, unfortunately, are beating a dead horse, blame whomever you want for that but the reality is it’s still not going to happen.
    I have zero ties to the BOS or the Cannabis work group and to be honest i’m not happy with everything in the draft ordinance but the members of the Cannabis work group were chosen through an open process and it seems to me that if someone wants to claim to know so much about what needs to be done and how it needs to be accomplished than you had the same opportunity as anyone to present your solutions, but you didn’t. In other words don’t put your head down and choose not to participate and then complain that no one is listening, if you have something to contribute do so when it matters, if you choose not to it’s not anyone else’s fault if you feel like your opinion is not being represented, this is a democracy you and you alone are responsible for representing your needs. The process to be a member of the cannabis work group was completely open and democratic if you don’t like the decisions being made chose to be more active in the decisions being made next time.

  • Grad student a decade ago, but thank you for thinking I have the youth and vigor of an undergrad, Heart of Plumas. Too bad you blindly believe the democratic process was followed ethically in this podunk county. Watch a few videos from last year around this time; maybe you can put things together and understand why no one feels heard- you have been too quick to judge that the cannabis community hasn’t been present and active voicing these specific concerns… and btw if slapping paint on a building in Crescent Mills, which can’t even get a construction loan because it’s a tear down, is a good thing.. maybe you also think a pig with lipstick is more than just a pig.

    • Honestly I don’t know Matt, maybe you’re right and he’s a diabolical monster, maybe he pets kittens backwards, maybe he puts his pants on two legs at a time, I’m just tired of all this xenophobic vitriol. If someone wants to come to this county who has a vision that includes fixing old buildings and promoting sustainable industry that adheres to environmental and public safety standards, I’m willing to consider what they have to say.
      I’ve watched all of the videos and I was at the first meeting concerning the potential for a moratorium where the supervisors asked for volunteers to form what would be the Cannabis Work Group, why didn’t you volunteer? As I’ve said I’m not entirely satisfied with all of the ideas put forth in the draft ordinance either, however I haven’t heard anything, so far, that was as reasonable, or more specifically, less self serving.
      Many of the proposals I’ve heard include promoting indoor over outdoor commercial grows, which I disagree with based on the amount of energy that indoor grows consume and the larger environmental impact the resulting electrical consumption would have, not to mention how fragile and unpredictable our electrical infrastructure in this county already is. There has also been a push from a group to only allow grows on land the is already zoned for agriculture, which sounds good but very few people in this county can have access to ag land, it’s hard to get, usually can only be purchased in large lots and the people who have this land are not real willing to give it up(understandably). So what that means in the bigger picture is that only a handful of people who have the wherewithal to own large tracks of highly coveted land and have the capital to purchase large scale indoor equipment and huge greenhouses, can play. This disproportionately opens the door for corporate farms who can afford to make that kind of investment to move into the county, as well as takes the opportunities for financial enrichment away from the people in this county that need it the most and reserves it only for a few people. How many locals have the capital to make that kind of investment, as opposed to outside investors?
      It’s a delicate balance, I can understand folks not wanting large commercial grows in residential zones(that seems reasonable) but you also want to allow the “little” people some legal means to contribute because;
      (1 It’s better if we don’t relegate all of the growing to corporate farming
      (2 The more people we can get into the legal fold, the better it is for everyone

      It’s not really that uncommon for an old building to not qualify for a building loan, it just means not being able to borrow money, he’ll have more immediate out of pocket expenses to repair the building, or worse case scenario someone you don’t have a connection to invests there own money into something that might not workout and in the process enriches local painters and roofers.
      How is that bad for you, me, anyone, why would that bother you? He’s trying to improve something in this county, that’s refreshing and if he fails it hurts no one but himself.
      Oh, and Matt has also had the store re-roofed as well as a paint job, so it’s lipstick and a hat, get it right(joking).
      But you’re right we should kick him out of the county, this is not the place for people like that, here we let historic buildings slowly rot away due to lack of preventative maintenance(like they were intended to), until there’s just unusable piles of rubble in the middle of our towns that no one is willing to invest in. How could he, why doesn’t he get how we do things here? What a monster.

  • Many jobs. I’m not an undergrad, got my MA degree a decade ago so I guess thank you? Thank you for the passive aggressive demeaning taunt towards younger folks getting an education, they are our future and they love the cannabis- this generation gets it!! Go watch some videos from a year ago, then talk to me. The cannabis community has been voicing concerns from the get go, Mr. Fogarty represents his personal agenda and the people who bought him from the Bay Area. And if you find paint on a dilapidated building an improvement, you must also find pigs with lipstick adorable. His building can’t even get a loan to structurally improve… if you were more in-tune with the meetings and the lack of democratic due process that’s unfolded these past 16 months, you’d know he shared that tidbit and many other conflicts of interest and ethically unsound behavior. But go ahead and be a troll on your desk computer, it must be comfortable at that desk. You lack the depth to understand what this is at and where this county is headed. BYE FELICIA

  • Employing people and creating new jobs that didn’t exist before are two vastly different things, just so you understand. I have no problems with higher education nor did I ever imply it.

  • I work for a successful business in Plumas County, but do you know how hard it is to find competent, capable people to hire? And it’s not just the place I work for – lots of businesses around here have the same problems finding people to hire/keep. There are plenty of jobs in Plumas County – it’s the people that have the problems. Get off the drugs, gain some work ethic, and you’re more than likely to find a great place to work.

  • I have been self-employed here in Plumas for 38 years, retired now. I admire anyone who is following their dreams, assuming good intentions. I hope their dreams come true. Also, I admire anyone who volunteers to work in a public group. The price you pay to do that is high. It hurts to be scorned. I happen to be of the belief that Commercial cannabis won’t be positive at this time, but appreciate anyone that is willing to work towards that if that is their goal. The best thing about this community is the positive people.

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