MEDFORD Representatives from Curry, Del Norte and Jackson counties signed a joint agreement on Wednesday to establish much needed air service between the coast and Rogue Valley.

County officials say that developing an affordable air service will help promote tourism and economic development within the three counties.

Commissioner Bill Roberts represented Curry County at the meeting, held at the Medford International Airport.

It is with hopeful anticipation that I put my signature to this historic document joining (the three counties) in a cooperative effort to establish air service between the Border Coast and the Rogue Valley, Roberts said.

The chamber of commerces for all three counties will join the counties efforts by working together to package opportunities in the areas such as golfing, fishing, gaming, shopping and romance getaways.

Additionally, Roberts said, the three chambers will explore cooperative marketing programs that would enable small businesses to reach markets normally beyond their budgetary means.

Roberts said the timing for this joint task forces initiative could not be better.

Scheduled air service between Crescent City (and) San Francisco International Airport has recently been cut to one flight per day.

His fear is that San Francisco International Airport, with its growing flight schedule, will discontinue propeller-driven air service altogether to make room for larger more profitable jets there.

I applaud the efforts of the organizers of this joint resolution for their foresight in looking beyond county and state boundaries for answers to regionals questions, Roberts said. Curry County is proud to be a part of this endeavor.

Del Norte County Supervisor Jack Reese added, What a great moment this is.

One year ago, who would have thought wed be here today signing a document that joins the hands of three counties across two state borders and two Federal Aviation Administration regions?

I feel privileged to represent Del Norte County in this very special effort to jointly pursue the establishment of air transportation service between Crescent City and Medford, and, while were at it, embark on a strategy that will dramatically increase interstate commerce throughout the southern Oregon and Border Coast region.

Reese said the joint resolution has caused many official to reflect on why the coast hasnt had commercial prop-jet service to Medford in times past and why no officials have made a serious effort to collaborate with each other at least on tourism and recreation.

Reese said Del Norte, Curry and Jackson counties all have a lot to offer (but) its important to note that our natural resources, services and productsare somewhat different from each others.

He added, By joining together to market our distinctive capabilities and make the Border Coast area more accessible through reliable air transportation, the whole can become greater than the sum of its parts.

Reese said the joint resolution expresses a long-lived hope of Del Norte County residents and business establishments for a level of partnership with our neighbors.

Our region is a puzzle of resources crying to be assembled as a beautiful landscape, Reese said.

You need to know that the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors and the Crescent City Council are totally supportive of this history-making development and well do everything in our power to help it succeed.

Reese gave special recognition to Les Cohen, executive director of Brookings-Harbor Chamber of Commerce, Dan Brattain, Craig Bradford, Mike Young and Ernie Perry, from Del Norte County, and Bern Case, Craig Baldwin, Kim Stearns and Mike Dyal from Jackson County.

Others have helped, but this group of visionaries made it happen.

Reese said the really tough work is yet to come.

(We) will form a joint task force to articulate a strategy and a set of goals to which the three counties can agree, he said.

It goes without saying that well ask the Crescent City Airport Manager and the Jackson County Airport Authority to collaborate on soliciting proposals from air carriers.

Reese said the key is to generate demand for air transportation that will lend permanence to local air-service arrangement.

Reese urged everyone, especially state and U.S. legislators to contribute to the effort.

We all have a stake in the outcome and the results could be staggering for the currently participating counties and any others that care to join down the line.

The best part is that we have the rare opportunity to define our own futures, rather than letting them simply evolve.