The city of Emmett and Gem County have created a new economic development position in a bid to stymie the flow of commuters who take jobs in Canyon and Ada counties.

Several economic development organizations have sprouted up in Gem County since Boise Cascade closed its lumber and plywood facility in Emmett in 2001, prompting about 400 people to seek work outside of the county.

Now, about 60 percent of Gem County residents work in Ada or Canyon County.

In response to the Boise Cascade closure, local leaders created the Gem Economic Development Association to revitalize downtown, and a group called the Shadow Butte Development Association created an industrial park west of Emmett. But both organizations failed to shift their focus to new projects after those initial tasks were complete, said Emmett Mayor Gordon Petrie.

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