Winery co-owner will join state panel

The co-owner and general manager of Eden Valley Orchards and EdenVale Winery has been appointed to the Oregon Economic and Community Development Commission.

Anne Root has served on local and regional boards, ranging from a college foundation to a hospital finance committee.

The Jacksonville resident was nominated to a four-year term by Gov. Ted Kulongoski last month. The Legislature gave its stamp of approval to Root and Portland entrepreneur Junki Yoshida during its current special session.

"They were looking for someone that was both business experienced and board experienced," said Root, 51. "This one was kind of a stretch because I have plenty to do, but I looked at it from a personal perspective and thought it was something I wanted to do."

Root is president of the Southern Oregon University Foundation and her list of board assignments include: Jackson County Task Force, analyzing funding issues; Asante Health Systems' finance and planning committee; Southern Oregon University Business Advisory Council; Oregon Shakespeare Festival Endowment Board; and past efforts with the Medford Chamber of Commerce and Ashland city budget committee.

After graduating from Southern Oregon University in 1990, Root earned her master of commerce degree from the University of Wollongong in New South Wales, Australia.

She says her study of competitive strategy, marketing, technology management and finance will come in handy during her term.

"It's a hard-working commission with a say in things," Root said. "Obviously, we'll be treading into politics. What I liked about what I have seen is that in Oregon, regardless of partisan issues, people work toward solutions."

In her own experience, Root has seen a rapid rise of wine and ag tours.

"I have been shocked how fast they developed and how they have had an impact. Our community was ready, it just wasn't organized. It needed coordination. I think we struck at a lucky time and we were ahead of the curve. "

Such activity wove together well with extant local tourist fare, such as the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

"There's a lot more going on now when people come to the festival than there was 10 years ago," Root says. "People are more inclined to leave Ashland and explore the whole Rogue Valley. Everyone is aware that there is a wine component here now."

Root follows in the footsteps of former Bear Creek Corp. Chief Executive Nancy Tait, who served on the commission earlier this decade. The seven-member commission is chaired by Wally Van Valkenburg, a Portland attorney. Yoshida is the chairman and chief executive of Portland-based Yoshida Group, a conglomerate of 18 diverse companies. He is also a former member of the Port of Portland Commission.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 776-4463 or e-mail

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