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Monthly News and Updates

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Today I want to take a beat to thank everyone who helped make last week's 2024 Policy Conference a success.

As we continue to try new meeting formats and push to create meaningful and impactful content, we don't always know how it will land. By all accounts, this particular risk paid off.

In the coming weeks we will be drafting a 'what's next' document that will help guide the work of WEA in coming months and beyond. I look forward to having conversations as we begin this longer-term planning and thinking.

In the meantime, thank you to our presenting sponsors Comcast, Espousal Strategies and PGE for your annual commitments to the work we are doing. A special thanks to theteam at Tualatin Valley Cable Television (TVCTV) who continue to be extraordinary community partners. And for all the work that happens behind the scenes that help keep the wheels on this sometimes fast-moving bus, a thanks to our unflappable Director of Membership and Events, Dani Siver.

Thanks to all who attended and stay tuned.


WEA 2024 Policy Conference a Success

On March 14 a full house of attendees spent an engaging afternoon listening to panelists discuss the 'next big thing' for the Westside. From Infrastructure and Land Readiness, to Transportation Investments to what it might look like to Align Economic Development at the state, regional and local levels, panelists were asked to share their thoughts on coordinating and collaborating with an eye toward growth.

"This was the first time in recent memory that WEA has hosted a half-day policy conference with a laser-focus on what it will take to continue to see smart growth across our region," said Executive Director Elizabeth Mazzara Myers. "Expectations were blown out of the water between extraordinary moderators and panelists and a room filled with key movers and shakers from across the Westside."

In the coming weeks WEA will produce a short summary of the event that will also provide a look ahead at the role the organization can play in laying the groundwork for the growth needed to ensure a vibrant and accessible economy for the region.

Aaron Deas (Espousal Strategies) and Sophorn Cheang (Business Oregon) chatting with Jan Mason (Mackenzie) between panels.

Panelist Monique Claiborne, President & CEO, Greater Portland, Inc.

Conference goers listen in to a panel discussion. (above)

Representative Susan McLain (Hillsboro), City of Beaverton Mayor Lacey Beaty, Metro Councilor Juan Carlos Gonzalez. (below)

Brad Smith, Windsor properties, was among the conference attendees.

News & Notes

For Third Consecutive Year, NW Natural named as One of World's Most Ethical Companies

NW Natural Holdings received the 2024 World’s Most Ethical Companies® recognition by Ethisphere, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices.

In total, 136 honorees were recognized this year, spanning 20 countries and 44 industries. NW Natural Holdings has now been recognized three consecutive years since 2022 and is one of only eight honorees in the Energy & Utilities category.

“We recently celebrated our 165th anniversary at NW Natural and throughout our history, we’ve worked hard to do things the right way. This recognition is much appreciated and it’s a reflection of the integrity and good work by our employees throughout our company,” said David H. Anderson, CEO of NW Natural Holdings. “We are very proud to receive this honor for the third consecutive year.”

NW Natural is a local distribution company that currently provides natural gas service to approximately two million people in more than 140 communities through more than 795,000 meters in Oregon and Southwest Washington with one of the most modern pipeline systems in the nation.

NW Natural Water provides water distribution and wastewater services to communities throughout the Pacific Northwest, Texas and Arizona. NW Natural Water serves nearly 175,000 people through approximately 70,000 meters and provides operation and maintenance services to an additional 20,000 connections.

NW Natural Renewables is committed to leading in the energy transition by providing renewable fuels to support decarbonization in the utility, commercial, industrial and transportation sectors. 

Hillsboro Hops Ballpark

Towards the end of the legislative session, the Hillsboro Hops was able to secure $15 million in funding for a new stadium, beating MLB's deadline to commit to a new stadium by just a few weeks.

Last fall the organization was able to extend the original deadline of late September to March 15, 2024. This funding is being paired with $82 million in private funding - which is about double other new MLB stadiums average for private funding. The City of Hillsboro chipped in $18 million from lodging taxes with $8 million from Washington County and $2 million from the region's tourism nonprofit.

A 2023 ECONorthwest study of the new Hops stadium outlines extensive regional benefits, including:

  • $190 million in local economic output and approximately 1,000 full-time jobs during construction
  • $64 million in annual economic activity once the stadium is open, as well as $3 million in annual state and local taxes

“This is a huge milestone for Hillsboro, Washington County and all of Oregon,” state Sen. Janeen Sollman, D-Hillsboro, said in a written statement. “This team and this project represents so much more than baseball, and today my fellow legislators made an investment in our community that will echo for many, many years.

The project will be owned and maintained by the City of Hillsboro. The new ballpark will comply with new accessibility and equity rules – the first updates to MiLB facility standards since 1990 – and will provide additional year-round entertainment and recreation options for the Portland metro region including as a new concert venue.

You can track the ballpark's progress at this City of Hillsboro page: Hillsboro Hops Ballpark Project.

Rulemaking Advisory Committee Meeting Notice: Goal 9 Target Industries Approach

On January 25th, 2024, the Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) initiated a rulemaking effort by Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) staff to clarify use of the "Target Industries Approach" by cities in Economic Opportunities Analyses (EOAs).

Local economic development is supported by Statewide Land Use Planning Goal 9. Goal directs cities to provide an adequate supply of sites of suitable sizes, types, locations, and service levels for a variety of industrial and commercial uses consistent with comprehensive plan policies.

One method of forecasting land need through an EOA is referred to as the "Target Industries Approach." Many cities have used the Target Industries Approach to identify desirable industries and develop site inventories and comprehensive plan policies that support attraction or retention of targeted industries. While this approach to justifying land need is well established and supported by case law, it has not been defined or codified in administrative rule. The Department seeks to clarify any potential areas of ambiguity in the application of the Target Industries Approach through rulemaking.

The Goal 9 Target Industries Approach Rulemaking Advisory Committee (RAC) will meet for the first time on Thursday, March, 21, 2024 from 9:00am to 12:00pm. The meeting will take place virtually and will be livestreamed and recorded on the department's YouTube channel.

Department of Land Conservation and Development staff have prepared a packet of background and introductory materials that can be viewed on the department's Goal 9 Rulemaking webpage

The goal of the first meeting of the RAC is to introduce committee members, orient them to the process and timeline of this rulemaking, provide issue background, and identify key discussion areas for this rule.

Upcoming Events

Click here to reach Dani and to be added to committee mailing lists.

EVENT NOTICE: Meet the Mayor

What: Meet up with Tigard Mayor Heidi Lueb. Bring your questions and comments.

Hosted by City of Tigard Government

Where: Cake Hoopla 7173 SW Dartmouth St., Tigard, OR 97223

Who: Members of the Public 

When: Wednesday, March 27 at 6 PM

For more information click here.

2024 State of the City

Sherwood, Wednesday, April 17, details TBD

Forest Grove and Cornelius, Monday, April 22 at 11 am, Forest Grove City Auditorium

Tualatin, Thursday May 2 from 7:30 - 9 am, Marquis Community Center

Tigard, Monday May 13 (no time listed), Broadway Rose Theatre

Events information will be added and updated as received.

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