Electric Cooperative Uses PlaceVR Technology to Boost Economic Development Despite Travel Restrictions

Electric Cooperative Uses PlaceVR Technology to Boost Economic Development Despite Travel Restrictions Main Photo

4 Jun 2020

News, Video, Recent Work

Opportunities and Quality of Life in Remote Northeastern Oregon Promoted with 360-Degree Video and Virtual Reality

The landscape of Grant County Oregon is vast and right now travel restrictions are keeping visitors away, but thanks to a new 360-degree video launched by Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative, you can explore the 4.500 square mile area in minutes online, or better yet, by putting on a virtual reality headset.

The Cooperative partnered with Golden Shovel Agency to produce the virtual reality tour that leverages PlaceVR technology to attract businesses, new residents, and tourists to this remote region in Northeastern Oregon.

"We knew that we were being innovative by being early adopters of 360-degree video and VR. We never would have imagined that a global pandemic would turn this into a major tool for economic recovery," said Lea Gettle, Manager of Administration and Strategic Services for the electric cooperative.

The Cooperative was introduced to 360-degree video and virtual reality by Golden Shovel Agency at an economic development conference. After having a demonstration and learning how the immersive experience of virtual reality results in better retention of information and leads views to act, they knew that this was the tool they needed to take their visibility and their message into the future.

"The Cooperative's choice of Virtual Reality to deliver their message allows them to engage with people despite travel restrictions and concerns," said Aaron Brossoit, CEO of Golden Shovel Agency. "What's more, they're demonstrating how being forward-thinking can solve problems - even before that problem emerges."

When you put on the VR headset, you can look all around you to take in Grant County scenes without distractions. You'll find yourself bumping down a slope on a mountain bike, taking in the downtown action in the city of John Day, and watching the seasons change from the vantage point of a large valley. While you're experiencing the scenes in virtual reality, your brain will be responding as if you are really in a new place. It's this intense brain activity that is the power behind 360-degree video and virtual reality.


OREGON TRAIL ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE (OTEC) is a not-for-profit, member-owned electric cooperative that serves over 31,000 homes and businesses in four counties in Eastern Oregon. Headquartered in Baker City, OTEC has district offices in Burns, John Day, and La Grande

GOLDEN SHOVEL AGENCY is a Minnesota-based full-service economic development firm specializing in workforce attraction for economic and community development. The Economic Gateway Web system includes an expandable and on-demand content management system (CMS) and a robust social media implementation strategy.