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genetic engineering

Vera's Economic Power Team

Vera Katz has put together a powerful team of local business elites to make a push for more big-business and population expansion in Portland, supposedly supporting "sustainable" business, although neither protecting the carrying capacity of the region's resources nor social equity will be part of the effort.
Is anyone as disgusted by this as me? This is not for the people, but for those who are already wealthy, who want to keep the spicket open wide and gushing their way. John Russell is a developer who is funding David Bragdon's campaign. The rest of the "blue ribbon committee" is filled entirely by rich power elites who also have their fingers in the growth pie as usual, and their toadies.

Not a single environmental or community leader in the bunch, as if environment and community exist in utterly separate dimensions from economy. Be sure that this committee will not stress community-based commerce, local production for local trade, environmental justice, growth-free prosperity, or primarily helping residents to start their own green businesses or to find living-wage jobs at locally-owned and operated green businesses, near or at home. And no matter how "green" this bunch might want to paint big business and worker recruitment, what this push for more people and consumption can only promise to bring is less nature, less equity among the majority, and more destruction.

All along we are told that growth is inevitable, as if an Act of God, and that it is our duty to endure it, do our best to make it less destructive. Yet now, to the big power brokers in the Portland government and corporate world, there isn't enough growth happening to fulfill Metro's projections. So, just as did the captains of Oregon industry in the 80s under the tutelage of Governor Neil Goldschmidt, this committee is going to go make the rate of growth they thought they were going to get, but aren't going to according to revised projections, happen anyway.

Do we need more jobs or better jobs? More business activity or better business activity? Do we need to compete globally in a monopoly/hegenomy economy or do we need to cooperate in a local, authentic market economy? Do we understand that the sustainability benefits that apply to raising, selling and buying produce primarily among residents locally also apply to every other facet of commerce? Do we recognize that the alliance behind this task force have made up, and continue to make up, the single-most powerful alliance against all that is healthy and just in this region?

What are we all going to do to counter this, to show our outrage, and then to rally around a joyful revolution of genuine Earth-sustaining commerce for all of the people of Portland?

"We have demonstrated in the past, and will continue to do so in the future, that we are creative and resourceful, perserving and pragmatic." -- Portland Mayor Vera Katz

Ah, but for what end, Vera, what end?


From The Oregonian

Business News
City begins economic overhaul

Portland Mayor Vera Katz kicked off the latest review of the city's economic development strategy Tuesday, giving an 18-member blue-ribbon committee five months to work out new strategies in sectors from biotech to metals.

The committee will look at the city's and region's competitive position; Multnomah County's business-income tax, permitting requirements and regulations; work force development; and the prospects for at least 10 different industry groups, each with its own committee.

The city and the Portland Development Commission are slated to spend $546,100 on consultants, and a review of the city and the region's competitive position versus other U.S. metropolitan areas is underway.

The committee will be led by John Russell, president of Russell Development and chairman of the Mayor's Business Roundtable, and Sonal Shah, president of EZ Recruit.com and Northwest Software Inc.

Other committee members are Joe D'Alessandro, president and chief executive of the Portland Oregon Visitors Association; Marty Brantley, chairman of the development commission; Don Mazziotti, the commission's executive director; Margaret Carter, president of the Urban League of Portland; Gale Castillo, executive director of the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce; Jim Johnson, chairman, New Economy Coalition; Franklin "Kim" Kimbrough, president and chief executive of the Association for Portland Progress; David Lawrence, Hillsboro deputy city manager; Wally Mehrens, secretary, Pacific Alliance of Building and Construction Trades; Don McClave, president and chief executive of the Portland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce; George Passadore, Northwest region president of Wells Fargo Bank and chamber board chairman; Randy Miller, chairman, Portland Ambassador Program; Hiroshi Morihara, president, Persimmon Development Group; Rick Saito, chief executive of Group Mackenzie and chairman of the Japan America Society of Oregon; Ted Winnowski, president of Centennial Bank; and Bill Wyatt, executive director, Port of Portland.


Vera's press release:


Mayor Vera Katz and more than 200 local business and public agency leaders gathered yesterday to begin crafting a new Economic Development Strategy for the City of Portland. The purpose of the strategy is to develop a set of priority actions for the City, its bureaus and the Portland Development Commission (PDC) to undertake for providing a healthy environment in which businesses can grow and prosper.

"To be successful, this strategy will take the participation and cooperation of representatives from throughout the private and public sectors, not just in Portland but throughout the region," said Mayor Vera Katz. "Portland's economic vitality is tied to that of the region, and vice versa. Any strategy that is successful will build firmly on that foundation."

Since the City's first economic development strategy, "Prosperous Portland," was developed in 1994, many of the local, national and international economic circumstances and conditions that Portland faces have changed. Mayor Katz, in her September 2001 speech on economic priorities, noted these changes and directed the PDC, in coordination with the Mayor's Business Roundtable, to create a new economic development strategy for the City.

PDC staff developed an outline for the process, and began the initial research critical to the decision-making process. The research identified key drivers that affect business success and which influence decisions by businesses concerning where they choose to locate and expand. It also includes an analysis of how well Portland compares to other regions in meeting business needs. In addition, the research evaluates how well Portland measures up as a regional partner within its own metropolitan area.

Key factors influencing business location decisions have been broken down into six broad categories:

  • Building Space (land, office space, utilities)
  • Workforce (quantity, demographics, skills)
  • Access to Markets (transportation and communications)
  • Business Environment (permitting and regulatory requirements, taxes; utility and transportation costs)
  • Business Formation and Acceleration (access to capital; existence of clusters; innovative capacity)
  • Quality of Life (school quality, crime rate; open spaces/recreation, cost of living)

Strategies will be developed and prioritized to support all of these factors.

A Blue Ribbon Committee has been asked to assess the quality of the research gathered on the Portland economy as a whole. They will also have the significant challenge of selecting which of the dozens of worthwhile strategic actions should be given priority access to the City's human and financial resources. Ten Industry Panels will be looking at different business clusters of historic or possible future importance to the City to aid the Blue Ribbon Committee in this effort. The ten clusters identified for more detailed analyses are:

  • BioSciences
  • Creative Services
  • Destination Retail
  • Distribution and Logistics
  • High Tech
  • Metals
  • Professional and Business Services
  • Sustainable Industries
  • Tourism
  • Transportation Equipment Manufacture

The panels examining these industries will make recommendations to the Blue Ribbon Committee regarding strategies of particular value to these clusters, as well as to the business community as a whole.

In addition, committees of education and training experts and financial experts will review issues identified pertaining to Workforce Preparedness and Access to Capital, respectively. They will forward their recommendations to the Blue Ribbon Committee.

Formal committee work is expected to conclude in July. At that time, PDC will sponsor public meetings and offer to share findings with various business and civic groups. In September the draft strategy will be reviewed by the Mayor's Business Roundtable, and in October it will be forwarded by the PDC board to the City Council.

During the final months of review, PDC staff will begin the tasks of identifying the financial and human resources needed to implement the strategies deemed of highest priority, and they will begin to design implementation plans.

The Blue Ribbon Committee members include:

  • Joe D'Alessandro, President/CEO, Portland Oregon Visitors Association
  • Marty Brantley, Chair, Portland Development Commission; member of Mayor's Business Roundtable
  • Margaret Carter, President, The Urban League
  • Gale Castillo, Executive Director, Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
  • Jim Johnson, Chairman, New Economy Coalition
  • Kim Kimbrough, President/CEO, Association for Portland Progress; member of Mayor's Business Roundtable
  • David Lawrence, Deputy City Manager, City of Hillsboro
  • Donald Mazziotti, Executive Director, Portland Development Commission
  • Don McClave, President/CEO, Portland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce; member of Mayor's Business Roundtable
  • Randy Miller, Chair, Portland Ambassador Program; member of Mayor's Business Roundtable
  • Hiroshi Morihara, President, Persimmon Development Group
  • George Passadore, President, Wells Fargo (NW Region); chair, Portland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
  • John Russell, President, Russell Development; Chair, Mayor's Business Roundtable
  • Rick Saito, CEO, Group Mackenzie; Chair, Japan America Society of Oregon
  • Sonal Shah, President, EZ Recruit.com and Northwest Software Inc.
  • Ted Winnowski, President, Centennial Bank
  • Bill Wyatt, Executive Director, Port of Portland

The keynote speaker at yesterday's event, Mr. Joel Kotkin of the Milken Institute, provided his take on Portland's competitive advantages and disadvantages and how the City and region stack up against other economically vital communities.

According to Kotkin, the information revolution will continue to drive economic growth as most industries transform themselves into information-based industries including fashion, entertainment, warehousing, financial services, healthcare-even agriculture. Therefore, information sector companies will see the most job growth.

To attract and grow these types of companies, cities need to:

  • Look to develop a focus on community and sense of place
  • Develop state of the art tech infrastructure and;
  • Cultivate educational and arts institutions to improve the workforce and lifestyle potential of the local population.

Specific recommendations Kotkin gave to Portland include:

  • Develop flexible space for technology and creative services firms in abandoned or underutilized space close to the center of town;
  • Stress digital education at grassroots levels including churches, high schools and community colleges and build up indigenous tech resources; and
  • Encourage the use of technology in a broad array of fields from design and transport to business services.

Joel Kotkin is a Senior Fellow with both Pepperdine University's Davenport Institute for Public Policy and the Milken Institute, as well as a Research Fellow in urban policy at the Reason Public Policy Institute.

He serves as director of content for Prime Ventures LLP, a venture capital partnership specializing in new media ventures. In addition to his twice-monthly columns for Reis.Com, Mr. Kotkin writes a monthly column in the Sunday New York Times Money & Business section, entitled "Grass-Roots Business." He is a columnist with the Los Angeles Business Journal; a frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times, where he is a contributing editor to the Opinion Section.

take your shot 15.May.2002 17:06


Well then, what's the answer? What is the "earth sustaining commerce" you speak of, and how can Portland encourage its development. Concerns about carrying capacity and such are great -- really, I mean it -- but they don't do anything in and of themselves to boost the economy.

Or maybe they do. Enlighten us all.

And...big and here: Don't say "environmental cleanup" or "development of alternative fuels" or any of those things. If there's anything worse than having an economy dependent on large out-of-state businesses, it's having an economy that's dependent on the federal government to keep the $$ coming.

Re: take your shot 15.May.2002 18:06


Here's a partial answer, coming from Peter Alexander, candidate for Portland city council:

Corporations in the US employ only 15% of the workforce. 85% are employed in small businesses. Vera's economic development strategy ignores these figures. Instead of nurturing and supporting small, locally-owned businesses, she wants to give tax breaks to out of state corporations to lure them to settle here. The increased infrastructure
costs are then borne on the backs of citizens and businesses that are already here. In my opinion her strategy is upside down. I am proposing at least a one year tax holiday for local, small-start ups and entrepreneurial businesses. Most businesses fail within the first year. If we can help more of them to succeed, and to become profitable, they will then return the benefits of increased local employment, increased tax revenues, and a more diversified and stable employment
base. Further, local businesses that are rooted in the community are better "citizens" than global, investor-owned giants who follow only the path of least resistance to their quarterly profit statements.

what vera & the developer goons want 15.May.2002 21:32

peace rebel boy

what vera & the developer goons want
what vera & the developer goons want

More on alternatives to global/growth economy 15.May.2002 23:52

M. Scott Jones msjns at hevanet.com

When you take a bucket, punch a bunch of holes in it, then pour water into that bucket, how much water will that bucket retain? None. Not unless you keep filling and filling that bucket until their is no more water left in the well. This is the case with economic growth, where the wealth, our natural and human capital, like that water, is allowed to be leaked away from the region, from the majority, and into the buckets of a very small minority, most of whom do not even reside in the region.

When the water runs out, as it is doing here, and as it has done in much of the "developed" world, the necessity is to find other sources to exploit, such as in less developed countries. If the bucket runs dry, those who profit the most will loose their source. They need to keep the majority with some fluid. Hence the lust for more people and more consumption here by those who Vera Katz serves.

The antidote is to plug the holes so that the water does not leak out, so that the wealth of our local resources stays among the people, so that the Earth's stores here can rejuvenate, and so that we do not exploit other peoples in other places. This is also known as staying within the local carrying capacity. It is also known as engaging in Earth-sustaining commerce. Plugging the leaks entails neighborhood residents engaging primarily in local trade of goods and services amongst each other, extending outward towards the region, country, continent, then globe only for those goods that cannot be produced locally. Trade between regions and abroad transpires primarily to engender goodwill and cultural fluidity.

This is not something which Vera Katz or her leaders amongst the Chambers of Commerce, the real estate, building, and banking industries want to transpire. This is why there is such a strong push going on right now for expansion of the Urban Growth Boundary, for more housing and commercial development in Washington and Clackamas Counties, and for more high tech and biotech industries to move in.

The call among big-business leaders for more jobs, for decreasing unemployment percentages, is not for the sake of those who are hurting financially the most, but for those who already have the most and are the greediest for more. For 4-6 percent unemployment is desirable amongst the top movers and shakers of the business world. It keeps labor costs at a reasonably low level for them. Too high, and the peons can't afford their Earth-devouring products.

Products touted as green, such as giant windmills, are not green at all when they attract more people to the region and they concentrate more wealth into fewer hands. Energy can and should be generated and used at the home and block level, not in giant windfarms which despoil the landscape and harm wildlife. The scale of commerce is what expansionism has always thrived on. Small-scale, community-based commerce distributes the wealth evenly, puts people back in balance with the limits of natural resources and more in direct contact with the social impacts of their activities. Large-scale commerce fosters cold evil, where producer, sellers, and buyers and disconnected from one another and cannot recognize signals warning that limits are being exceeded.

Our challenge, and our opportunity now, is to begin building up a network of community-based businesses. And to vote in candidates like Peter Alexander in the city council, progressives who will fight for steering subsidies away from the already-wealthy in order to level the playing field.

What's the Diff? 19.May.2002 06:20

Ann Onymous

What? Bill Scott or Bill Blosser not on Vera's Viemar on the Villamette POWER TEAM??? I guess that's covered under about every other DIVERSE rep huh? And you East Coast "super-green" migrants wanting even MORE tax evasion loopholes (besides your bloodmoney trustfunds) for all your nonprofiteering small-busyness "attack squad" upstarts that benefit from the Bush Points of Light Brigage mandatory volunteerism slavery? Do you guys WORK for the likes of Georgia/Louisiana Pacific or WHAT? Your "spotted owl" criminality only made them & their nepotized families richer & more powerful than they ever dared dream. And how has speciation, gay/women rights, environmentalism, agism, and every other scams overridden basic civil rights? Are all those black men in jail because nepotized white women stole all the "equal opportunity" slosh, that has done nothing but created the class gap you scumbags whine incessantly about. I think you are the same KKKreamed-gened racist CommuNazis that profitted from that 30-mile tunnel of plunder from the WWII holocaust.