Oregon and Washington Nursery Associations Explore Merger Options
Discussions of a possible merger between the Oregon Association of Nurseries (OAN) and the Washington State Nursery and Landscape Association (WSNLA) are officially underway.
Members of both groups have been casually discussing the idea since April, noting that Oregon and Washington share similar climates, geography and population profiles. Retailers, growers and landscapers in the two states also face many of the same marketing challenges and must contend with similar legislative and regulatory issues.
An Oregon-Washington combination could result in over 1,800 individual members, drawing on Oregon’s strength in the wholesale sector with Washington’s strength in the retail sector.
“Oregon’s membership is grower dominated while Washington has a larger percentage of retailers, landscapers and nursery wholesale distribution companies,” said Tom McNabb, president of OAN. “A merged association would provide Oregon’s retailers and landscapers a larger community of interest with Washington retailers and landscapers.”
WNLA President Tom Quigley added: “This is a great example of looking at old challenges in new ways and demonstrates the commitment of both organizations to provide innovative leadership in challenging times.”
The union of Washington and Oregon also promises a more powerful political voice in Washington, D.C. than either group can exert independently.
The boards of both organizations are actively seeking input from membership and have planned several meetings to iron out issues associated with governance, staffing, programs and allocation of resources. A temporary website is being set up to provide communication and feedback opportunities for members from both groups.
After membership approval and an exploration period, the boards will review and consider a detailed, formal proposal. If acceptable to both boards, the proposal will be put before their respective members for a vote.
“While I think a merger of the two associations makes good sense, my goal is to provide our members a more effective and successful organization than we have today,” said McNabb. “Ultimately, the members of both groups will have to consider and vote on any final proposal the Board of Directors puts before them.”
For more information about the Oregon Association of Nurseries, visit www.oan.org or call (503) 682-5089. For more about the Washington State Nursery & Landscape Association, visit www.wsnla.org or call (800) 672-7711.