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
City begins economic overhaul
SCOTT LEARN and GORDON OLIVER
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 KATZ, BUSINESS COMMUNITY KICK OFF NEW ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY
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:
- Creative Services
- Destination Retail
- Distribution and Logistics
- High Tech
- Professional and Business Services
- Sustainable Industries
- 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.