Economic Development

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The City of Oak Harbor is Whidbey Island's premier waterfront community. With fewer than 25,000 residents, we are a know-you-by-name community that thinks big and provides businesses with the resources they need to thrive. 

Our economic development activities strengthen local businesses through recruitment, retention, and expansion. We strive to create a more business-friendly environment through community partnerships, programs, grants, and events. 

We offer a lively, exciting place to live, explore, and get down to business.

Come discover the opportunities and enjoy our exceptional quality of life.


Graphic Showing Banner Economic Development

Partner Organizations

Logo for Economic Development Council of Island CountyLogo for the Chamber of CommerceLogo for the Oak Harbor Main Street AssociationLogo for the Small Business Administration

Comprehensive Plan

Learn more about our Economic Development Element in the Oak Harbor Comprehensive Plan (PDF) (see pages 195 and 197).

Comp Plan CoverEconomic Development Element 
As was noted earlier, as the largest employer in North Whidbey, NAS Whidbey has a significant economic impact on the greater Oak Harbor area. Yet it is realized that additional economic growth is required in order for Oak Harbor to maintain economic stability. This chapter of the Comprehensive Plan is in part based upon the ‘North Whidbey Economic Diversification Action Plan,’ which contains the following mission statement:

“North Whidbey is committed to creating a planned and diversified local economy that creates opportunities for fairly paid employment and a strong local tax base, while respecting the unique quality of life we treasure. To accomplish this mission, we will create proactive community and customer service support programs which will maintain NAS Whidbey, support the vitality of existing businesses and encourage compatible new economic activities.” 

The Economic Development Element provides the goals and policies intended to assist in meeting this goal. 

Goal 4 - Continue working with the Navy to enhance economic opportunities. 

4.a. The City of Oak Harbor supports the continuing operation of NAS Whidbey as a military installation. Should the present character of operations and mission change in the future such that the Navy can support joint use, then the opportunity for joint use of Ault Field should be explored. 

Discussion - The opportunity for joint use of Ault Field was explored in the North Whidbey Community Diversification Action Plan of April, 1994. The Plan's conclusion; "The operations of NAS Whidbey and related directives regarding military, security and other logistical, environmental and surplusing issues clearly make joint use not a viable option, particularly for the scope of time of this study" (Chapter 1, page 10). 

Laws, regulations, policies, and criteria regarding joint use of military airports can be found in the Federal Aviation Act of 1958, the Federal Airport and Airways Development Act of 1970, the Federal Airport and Airways Improvement Act of 1982, and Secretary of the Navy Instruction 3770.2. Associated airspace, land use, facilities, environmental, etc., regulations, policies, and/or criteria may also apply and can be found in applicable Public Law, Executive Order, the National Environmental Policy Act, Department of Defense and Department of the Navy policies and regulations, Federal Aviation Regulations, etc. 

4.c. The City should work together with the Navy to encourage Naval procurement of local products and services 

Grant Programs



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