The following information is about an important issue that many of us activists knew little or nothing about before last Friday. But, there is a big plan by Wyden, Mayor Katz, businesses, others unknown, etc., to make Portland a Bio-Science/Tech. center with MILLIONS of taxpayer dollars to be spent to do it. We will be hearing more about this. Sunday, 4/7's Oregonian, has an article about it---www.oregonlive.com. So, stay tuned and there will be lots of opposition as you can guess!!
The "Senate Field Hearing" on Biotech w/Senator Ron Wyden
Friday, April 5th 9:30am**
Metro Regional Ctr - 600 NE Grand Ave (Grand & Hoyt)
Public attendance accepted but not encouraged / No public commentary
Wyden's local phone#: 503-326-7525
The following information for us is from NW Resistance Against Genetic Engineering or NWRage: We need to "... show your opposition to corporate welfare for the biotechnology industry ... Biotechnology is currently where the dot coms were a few years ago, spending lots of money and making very little. The question is not if the industry will collapse, it is when ... to pin Portland's economic hopes on biotechnology is a sad joke that will line the pockets of the rich and leave the rest of us holding the bag. Don't believe the hype!"
Other Important Info. provided for those of us going: This meeting is being called a "Senate Field Hearing" (by Wyden's office). Apparently the public will be admitted but not given opportunity to comment.
There were 3 panels: 1) Vera Katz and city planners 2) University heads (PSU & OHSU) 3) Biotech industry reps
The questions are many; but---who will benefit from the $91 million/year industry?---the Oregon populace? How much in tax breaks with "...indications of attempts to further loot our tax money and place it squarely in the hands of institutions already unaccountable to us for millions, if not billions, of dollars. (Just try obtaining a copy of OHSU's budget.)"
Case in point: Following voter defeat of Measure 89 which would have given $10mil of Oregon's Tobacco Settlement to OHSU, state legislators declared an "emergency" and forked over $200million for expansion of the Primate Center in anticipation of the biotech rush (SB832). [More on the Tobacco Settlement Scam] WARNING: Your legislator may look at you like you're crazy for mentioning it ... and may deny knowing about it, even if they co-sponsored it. Think: Kate Brown.
Web page Address: http://www.leg.state.or.us/brown/
Senate Bill 832 - Summary Relating to Oregon Health Sciences University SB 832, also referred to as the ³Oregon Opportunity Act,² authorizes up to $200 million for investment in research facilities at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU). The measure allows OHSU to use state-backed bonds to construct new research facilities and recruit additional scientists to help create a biotechnology industry in Oregon. The legislature also referred HJR 19 to the voters for consideration during the May, 2002 Primary Election. HJR 19 would amend the Oregon Constitution to authorize the sale of state general obligation bonds to finance capital improvements at OHSU, such as laboratory space, equipment, and resources to attract and recruit top scientists. State funds authorized by SB 832 will be augmented by a $300 million private OHSU fundraising campaign. Effective date: August 8, 2001
Can contact: NWRage at: www.nwrage.org