Archive for the ‘Newsletter’ Category

Oregon State Chamber of Commerce Legislative Update

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

As you are aware, this Chamber along with 65 others are helping to make a difference for business at the legislative level by advocating for against specific Bills that are currently being reviewed and voted on by your State Representatives.

Please find attached the most recent updates from our weekly conference call that took place on March 2nd. Additional updates

will be shared as we receive them.

If there is anything that this Chamber can do to help your business and further the economic vitality of our region, please share your ideas with us. Please keep in mind our monthly Public Policy meeting that takes place the 1st Monday of each month from 11:45a.m. to 1:15p.m. Everyone is welcome and you can bring up points of interest that can be discussed openly. Read more

Investing in new power plants to meet customer needs

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

On Feb. 12, 2015, Portland General Electric asked the Oregon Public Utility
Commission to approve price changes in 2016 to pay for a new power plant when it
goes into service next year. This request for a potential overall price increase of 3.7
percent is the first step in a 10-month review process with several opportunities for
public input.
Investing in new plants to help meet customer needs
PGE brought two new power plants online to serve our customers in late 2014 – the
267-megawatt Tucannon River Wind Farm near Dayton, Washington and the 220-
megawatt natural gas-fired Port Westward Unit 2 facility near Clatskanie, Oregon.
These two new generating plants are now helping PGE meet state renewable energy
standards while maintaining a reliable supply of affordable power for customers.
They were brought into PGE’s prices in January 2015 with an overall, OPUCapproved
increase in customer prices of about one percent.

Baseload plant will come online in 2016
Now, PGE is in the process of constructing a third new plant near Boardman,
Oregon. The 440-megawatt Carty Generating Station will fulfill a different role,
providing reliable, efficiently generated baseload power PGE can call on to serve
customers under any conditions.
All three new plants were identified as the least cost, least risk alternatives to meet
growing customer needs as part of PGE’s integrated resource planning process.
The Carty plant is expected to come online in the second quarter of 2016, so PGE is
requesting price adjustments to include an overall price reduction of about one
percent for base business costs on January 1, 2016 followed by an increase when
Carty goes into service later in the year. If approved by the OPUC as requested, the
net overall impact to customers would be a price increase of about 3.7 percent.

Different resources, different needs
The Tucannon River Wind Farm generates 100 percent renewable energy; Port
Westward Unit 2 will back up the output of our renewable generation when the
wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining. Carty will be a workhorse, day and
night, year-round. The three together allow us to bring more renewable energy into
our system while still maintaining a steady, reliable supply of power at all times.

Planning for the future
Careful planning is crucial in any industry and especially in the energy world where
our customers depend on us to keep the lights on today and continuously meet the
energy demands of a growing region over time. That’s why it’s so important for
PGE to establish and execute a vision to power Oregon for years to come.
PGE conducts long-term planning to ensure we can continue to meet our
customers’ needs in the most reliable, sustainable and cost-effective way possible.
In our current resource plans, acknowledged by the OPUC, careful analysis showed
that to provide our customers with the best long-term balance of cost and risk, PGE
needed to acquire additional generating resources to help supply the power our
customers need.

What impact will this have on prices?
If approved as requested, the overall increase of about
3.7 percent would take effect in two phases during 2016.
The typical residential customer using an average of
840 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month would see
an average monthly bill increase of about $2.84.
Impacts will vary depending on the OPUC’s final
price-setting decisions, the type of customer and the
amount of electricity used.

Each PGE customer falls into a billing category, called
a “schedule.” Here is the approximate impact of
proposed price changes on each of the major
schedules, subject the OPUC’s decision and possible
power cost updates during the year.
 Sch. 7 (Residential): 3.1 percent
 Sch. 32 (Small business): 6.0 percent
 Sch. 83 (Commercial): 5.3 percent
 Sch. 85 (Large commercial): 3.9 percent
 Sch. 89 (Large industrial): 4.0 percent

State commission will make the final decision
PGE’s prices are set by the OPUC, an independent commission appointed by the
governor. PGE’s request sets off a 10-month public review involving customer
groups, local governments and others. The OPUC will only allow PGE to charge its
customers for costs it determines are necessary and prudent – and that provide our
customers with the best long-term balance of cost and risk.

Providing resources for customers
We do not take any request for a price increase lightly and PGE has programs in
place to help. PGE offers free advice and in-depth information on saving energy.
We can connect you with Energy Trust of Oregon incentives, and have billing and
payment options to make budgeting easier and free online tools such as
EnergyTracker℠ to help you understand and manage energy use. We can also
connect customers with assistance programs – such as HEAT Oregon – that help in
times of need. Visit PortlandGeneral.com/Save to learn about these resources.

 

 

2015 Oregon State Chamber’s Legislative Priorities

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

Oregon State Chamber of Commerce

The 2015 OSCC Legislative Agenda represents the legislative priorities of the Main Street business community as represented by the 66 local Chambers of Commerce represented by the Oregon State Chamber of Commerce.

The OSCC is organized to support business growth, job growth and income growth in each of our local communities, many of which have not realized the economic gains seen in the Portland/Metro Area in recent years.

We believe a healthy business climate, and the jobs that such a business climate creates, is the key to building up our local communities and making them prosperous.

The 2015 OSCC Legislative Agenda reflects our belief that state government can be a valuable partner in helping our local communities grow and prosper.  But the tens of thousands of businesses that belong to our local chambers also caution the Oregon Legislature against enacting counter-productive policies that would effectively block our ability to create jobs and more prosperous communities.

The OSCC Legislative Agenda is equal parts proactive and defensive.  We recognize there are many threats to small and Main Street business viability that will emerge from the 2015 Oregon Legislature, but we are also optimistic that the Legislature will see the wisdom in promoting business growth in all corners of the state and will pursue an agenda that elevates all local communities and sets the stage for long term growth and prosperity in every community across Oregon. 

The OSCC Opportunity Agenda for Local Business and Communities includes:

    1-Transportation Investments.  OSCC will be supportive of efforts to create a comprehensive transportation infrastructure funding package paid for by an increase in the state gas tax.  OSCC is also supportive of efforts to revitalize and leverage federal dollars to repair local airports across Oregon through an increase in the jet fuel tax or through bonding.  Finally, OSCC supports multi-modal transportation investments through a Connect Oregon bonding package.

    2-Expansion of Small Business Tax Cut.  The 2013 Special Session of the Oregon Legislature recognized the need to create a lower tax rate for small business pass-through entities (S corps, LLCs, etc).  OSCC not only seeks to protect this rate cut for existing employers, but to expand it for the smallest businesses that are sole proprietors or have only part-time employees.    We also support common-sense small business tax provisions such as connecting to the federal tax code for consistent expensing and depreciation laws.

    3-Natural Resource Utilization.  The Governor allocated $30 million in his budget to put in place the infrastructure to add storage capacity for water from the Columbia River.  This not only has immediate ramifications for local communities in NE Oregon, but it has future benefits for agriculture and food production statewide.  OSCC also supports innovative projects such as the Urban Forestry Co-op pilot project for Clackamas County that will create local wood supplies that can be harvested and milled and turned into building materials locally. 

    4-Career & Technical Education/Workforce Development.  OSCC supports initiatives that enhance the existing pool of skilled workers, including on-the-job training.  OSCC supports initiatives that enhances the skills of incumbent workers, matches job skills to current employer needs, and continues or enhances funding for Career & Technical Education programs.

    5-Local Community Development & Tourism.  OSCC supports efforts to revitalize our local communities through tourism.  OSCC also supports specific efforts to revitalize our local communities, such as the Revitalize Main Street Act, which provides a 25% rebate for certified rehabilitation of historic commercial buildings in communities throughout Oregon.   Such a proposal would generate 1,300 local jobs and $25 million in additional local income.  OSCC will also support legislation to encourage local brownfields redevelopment as well as increase the supply of industrial land that can support business and job growth.

The OSCC Defensive Agenda for Local Business and Communities includes:

    1-Expansion of Business Mandates & Regulation.  The small business community, particularly in rural Oregon, cannot sustain the cost of a paid sick leave mandate without further compromising our rural job base.  OSCC opposes expansion of the Portland paid sick leave mandate to all Oregon businesses.  Small employers all across Oregon develop their own workable sick leave policies every day without costly and impractical government mandates.  A paid sick leave mandate not only represents a new 3% payroll tax for small business, but even worse it has the effect of overriding a small business’s employee attendance policies.  OSCC is also highly skeptical of redundant “pay equity” mandate proposals that shift the burden of proof to employers and additional leave laws that add to Oregon’s already generous workplace leave provisions.

    2-Increased taxes on businesses & individuals.  Oregon’s general fund is projected to grow at an 11% rate for the 2015-17 biennium.  OSCC believes there is not a compelling need for additional resources from the business community or individual Oregonians.  Oregon’s income, investment, and business income tax rates are already among the highest in the United States.  

Our local communities cannot withstand further discouragement of investment and punitive taxes on mobile income.  

    3-Low Carbon Fuel Standard.  The low-carbon fuel additives needed to achieve this mandate are not commercially available for Oregon consumers in adequate supplies.  The Clean Fuels Program will effectively translate into significant increases in fuel costs as the Oregon mandate will create demand for a product in extremely limited supply.  Our local communities today are just starting to realize the benefits of more disposable income due to lower fuel costs.  To deny 

our communities of this disposable income by artificially driving the cost of fuel back up with this costly mandate will hurt local communities.  We also oppose this mandate because it will drive up fuel costs and not put any money into our transportation infrastructure.

    4-State-run retirement plan for private sector employers/employees.  There are thousands of retirement products available to our local small businesses and their employees, and sold by our local small businesses.  The addition of one state-run retirement plan as a solution to our state’s retirement savings crisis is both disingenuous and dangerous.  It’s dangerous because a state-run plan will have no more benefit than any of the 10,000+ privately managed plans in existence today unless it is mandated for Oregon employers, which is what we fear is the ultimate goal for this proposal.

    5-Increased minimum wage beyond current law annual CPI increases.  Oregon’s minimum wage law is already fair.  Already one of the highest minimum wage rates in the nation, Oregon’s minimum wage increases each and every year based on the Portland CPI.  Increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour, or even $12 per hour, will have the effect of immediate and significant job loss, especially among young and low-skilled workers, and will further hurt the ability of small business to compete with big businesses that can afford to pay higher wages or businesses in other states that do not have similar wage laws.

Bond Measure Approved for CCC

Monday, November 24th, 2014

 

To the Community:

On Nov. 4, voters in the college district approved a $90 million bond measure that will pave the way for updating, modernizing and improving college facilities. This bond measure will fulfill business and community members’ expectations for training and education.

Passage of the bond will also enable us to secure $16 million in state matching funds to construct facilities that meet the needs of today’s career technical fields and build a workforce development center at our Harmony Community Campus. We will also raise at least $5 million in private donations to support the bond proceeds.

To those of you who gave of your time and energy to support the bond, I extend a special thank you.

I am thankful that our bond measure received wide support among the leaders in the county, cities, chambers and newspapers in the region. Education and training are important to and valued by all. But most of all, I am thankful to the members of our community for their investment in CCC.

Moving forward, we will work diligently to ensure that CCC uses these resources wisely. We will mark our 50th year of service in less than two years. Because of your support, CCC will be well positioned to serve the community for the next 50 years.

Warm regards,

President Joanne Truesdell
CCC Class of 1982

Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project

Monday, May 12th, 2014

The next meeting of the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project Citizens Advisory Committee is Thursday, May 15, 2014, from 6 to 7 p.m. The public is invited to attend. The meeting will include updates on safety outreach and on the bus service planning process as it relates to future light rail service.

More

Location: Project East Field Office, 2300 SE Beta St., Milwaukie. 

Clackamas County’s Tourism Development Coucil Seeks Members

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

            Clackamas County’s Tourism Development Council seeks members

The Clackamas County Board of Commissioners is seeking citizens to fill two upcoming vacancies on the Tourism Development Council (TDC). The TDC guides tourism programs funded through the county’s Transient Room Tax. Its members are appointed by the Board of County Commissioners and are authorized to oversee tourism promotion and development in Clackamas County.

Commissioners are looking for applicants who are currently affiliated with a lodging property located within the county. Those with a broad perspective and strong interest in implementing an energized and comprehensive tourism program for The county will be the most desirable candidates.

The TDC is comprised of nine members, appointed to a three year term. Board members represent the diverse population of the county. The TDC meets the second Monday of the month from 2-4 p.m., generally at county headquarters located in Oregon City.

The TDC develops, adopts, and implements, subject to the Board of County Commission’s approval, a Tourism 5-year Master Plan. They also develop an annual Business Plan to address tourism promotion and development, visitor information services, and special events and festivals in Clackamas County as described in the county’s Transient Room Tax Ordinance, approved by voters in 1992. Currently county TRT collections are approximately $4 million annually.

Interested individuals need to complete an application form. Applications may be completed and submitted online via the county’s website at http://www.clackamas.us/miscapp/application.jsp

For an application form in person, contact Clackamas County Public and Government Affairs or at the Public Services Building, 2051 Kaen Road, Oregon City.   The deadline for applications is May 29.

For more information on the marketing and tourism developmentefforts of Clackamas County Tourism and Cultural Affairs, visit MtHoodTerritory.com. 

For more information please contact Janice Nilson at: 503-655-8490 or jnilson@clackamas.us.

Chamber Endorsement 2014 May

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

In the Chamber’s practice of providing guidance to its members, for May’s primary election we focus on three county races: county commissioner, clerk and treasurer.

 After hearing from all the candidates during the Eggs N’ Issues breakfast held on April 10th and during our in depth interviews, we are excited by the overall caliber of the candidates. We found many high-quality candidates, making our deliberations a greater pleasure and a deeper challenge.

 County Clerk

 In a shared endorsement, we believe that either business owners Mark Meek or David Robinson, thanks in part to their military training, problem-solving expertise and effective personalities, would bring to the office discipline, regulation, improved communications and personal connections.

 Mark Meek is a well-connected part of the community and shows that he can handle a complex organization. David Robinson has remarkable credentials, a history of impressive accomplishments and the strategic planning skills needed for the office.

 Treasurer

 Current Treasurer Shari Anderson faces two opponents in her attempt to retain her position she has held since 1999. We are fortunate to have Shari Anderson as the county treasurer and fully support her re-election.


County Commission

 It may be a dream, but we like our politics local and with integrity. We encourage our members to get to know the candidates rather than relying on the broad, irrational and negative advertising brought to our community. Please vote for the person, not the billboard. This approach to winning voters is embarrassing and unfair to our county. It undermines any effort to grow respect for county leadership and direction.

 Position 2: Savas-Bowerman

 We endorse incumbent Paul Savas. Ubiquitous and thorough on the issues, the long-time community activist and small business owner has worked very hard in his first term to represent his constituents and work toward collaborative solutions. We encourage him to develop more creativity in his political approach to the conflicts he faces on the commission.

 Position 5—Bernard-Bates

 A believer in small government, challenger Stephen Bates shows that he has potential. He is earnest, thoughtful, and an advocate for all things Boring. We would like to see him gain experience in larger organizations.

 However, we find no reason not to support incumbent Jim Bernard, given his greater understanding of the practicalities of county governance and the wisdom that comes from years of public service. He has been an integral part of our chamber and this community; and remains active in his support of the chamber agenda.

 

Clackamas County Board approves one-year moratorium on medical marijuana facilities in unincorporated areas

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

 The Clackamas County Board of Commissioners today adopted an ordinance to set a moratorium until May 1, 2015 on the operation of medical marijuana facilities in unincorporated Clackamas County.  The new ordinance goes into effect immediately.

 The proposed ordinance was adopted after the Commissioners heard from a number of residents, some in favor of the moratorium and others opposed, at public hearings April 3 and today. 

 Commissioners said passage of a moratorium now will allow the county to make an informed decision on potential future regulations.

 “I don’t think any of us up here have any doubt that (medical) marijuana does some good for some people,” said Chair John Ludlow. “We will not make a decision on time, place and manner in a vacuum.”

 “I believe this moratorium will provide Clackamas County sufficient time to answer the questions of land use, code violations, community impacts, and legal regulations,” said Commissioner Martha Schrader in a written statement. Schrader was unable to attend because she was representing the county in a meeting with Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber and representatives from a large corporation seeking to invest in this region.

 “I’m going to support a moratorium but I am going to continue in my efforts to put in safeguards for youth. We’re going to move forward in a very thoughtful manner,” said Commissioner Tootie Smith.

 “I want to look deeper into the federal prescription issue,” said Commissioner Paul Savas. “But we can’t do this after the fact – we have to take advantage of this opportunity from the state to approve a moratorium.”

 “It’s important that the county and Sheriff’s Office have a role in whether a facility deserves a license and (approving a moratorium) will give us time to work on that,” said Commissioner Jim Bernard.

 Medical marijuana dispensaries are licensed through the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). At this time OHA has approved three licensed dispensaries in Clackamas County, but the location of those facilities is confidential unless the owner/operator allows the OHA to release the information.  The county has no authority over dispensaries that operate in incorporated areas of the county.

 The ordinance charges the Sheriff’s Office with enforcement of the moratorium.

 The Board acted quickly in response to a new state law that gives local governments the opportunity to impose a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries up until May 1, 2015, if the ordinance is adopted by May 1. 

 For more information, contact please contact Tim Heider at 503-742-6911 or theider@clackamas.us

Clackamas County declines to participate in public sector bid to purchase Blue Heron property

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

 Clackamas County will not join with Metro and Oregon City in an effort to outbid a private developer for the former Blue Heron property.

 Clackamas County Commissioners said there was not enough time to fully consider the financial impacts and structure of the bid proposal due by the deadline of 5 p.m. today.  The request to participate came in late Wednesday, April 23rd from Metro staff. 

 “It would normally take 30 to 60 days to negotiate the terms of a deal like this,” said County Administrator Don Krupp.

 The former Blue Heron site, which is located along the Willamette River in downtown Oregon City, was closed in February 2009.  The property has been in bankruptcy for several years. 

Clackamas County, Metro and Oregon City, along with other regional partners, have been working with a consulting firm to develop a concept plan in order to attract developers to the site.  Clackamas County has invested $100,000 towards the visioning process with potential future financial assistance.

 “The County remains committed to the vision for this site and the public partnership that has been working diligently over the last couple of years,” said Commissioner Tootie Smith.  “There just isn’t enough time today to fully examine the commitment we are being asked to make.” 

 A Washington State developer has submitted a $2.3 million offer to purchase the property from the bankruptcy trustee.  An overbid would have to exceed that amount. 

 “Public sector support may be needed to spur redevelopment of the site,” said Commissioner Martha Schrader. “I hope we can continue to work together to develop the right approach.”

 The Willamette Falls Legacy concept plan can be viewed at www.rediscoverthefalls.com.

 For more information please contact Tim Heider at 503-742-5911 or theider@clackamas.us

CCC presentation explores ideas about life and death around the globe

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Cross-cultural concepts of life and death will be explored in a May 5 presentation at Clackamas Community College (CCC). Courtney Campbell of Oregon State University will discuss “Grave Matters: Reflections of Life and Death Across Cultures and Traditions” from 3:00 to 5:00pm in the Gregory Forum. The presentation is part of the college’s International Week celebration.

Campbell is the Hundere Chair in Religion and Culture and a professor of the School of History, Philosophy and Religion at OSU. He has been on the OSU faculty since 1990 and has received numerous awards for teaching and scholarship. His primary teaching and research interests focus on ethical issues in medicine, religious ethics, concept of peace and war, theories of death and dying, and theologies of embodiment.

This program is hosted by the CCC Foundation, the International Education Committee and the Education, Human Services and Criminal Justice Department, and is sponsored by Oregon Humanities. This event is open to the public and there is no cost to attend.

For more information, please contact Ida Flippo at iflipp@clackamsa.edu or 503-594-3363.