In this April 25, 2013 photo, Otto Billitz stacks pine boards coming out of the planers at Rough & Ready Lumber Co. in O'Brien, Ore. The mill is the latest to close in timber country, where rural communities are still struggling to find their way to a new economy. But Anne Kubisch says there is hope for economic growth in the state's rural areas.

In this April 25, 2013 photo, Otto Billitz stacks pine boards coming out of the planers at Rough & Ready Lumber Co. in O’Brien, Ore. The mill is the latest to close in timber country, where rural communities are still struggling to find their way to a new economy. But Anne Kubisch says there is hope for economic growth in the state’s rural areas.

Jeff Barnard/OPB

The doom and gloom stories about Oregon’s rural communities are legion

But Anne Kubisch says she sees the potential in rural communities, and wants others to start seeing it as well. 

“I hope that people in Portland understand the vibrancy, the beauty, the nuances of rural Oregon,” says Kubisch, the president of the Roseburg, Oregon-based Ford Family Foundation. “We have to be careful that the perceptions of rural Oregon don’t fall into just stereotypes: the stereotype of the radical, libertarian, anti-government person, or the tree-hugging environmentalist.”

Kubisch says there is a movement among rural Oregonians to improve the economic health of their communities, and that effort needs support — not just from state policymakers, but from the general public. She spoke with OPB’s John Sepulvado.