Lawmakers pony up for the Oregon Innovation Plan

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

STATEWIDE David Chen likes to say that the Oregon Innovation Council he chairs is like the Marine Corps — or was it the Army Rangers? At any rate, Chen says, “We didn’t leave anybody behind. We agreed to bring the whole package home.” What he’s referring to is the inititatives that make up the Oregon Innovation Plan, a package of bills prioritized by the council and signed by Gov. Ted Kulongoski in late July. The plan was only slightly scaled back from its original version, despite all the usual wrangling in Salem. And now? It’s all about implementation. The 17-member council (plus five ex-officio members and 19 technical advisers) has assigned follow-up duty to its members in an effort to gather the economic-impact figures lawmakers will require if they’re expected to be this generous in the future. Chen, who went part-time at OVP Venture Partners earlier this year and is raising his own sustainability-focused investment fund, will stay on as chair during this accountability phase.

The 2007 Innovation Plan bills signed by the governor included:

HB5508

Appropriated 2007-09 funding for the following:
Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI) $9 million
New Bio-Economy and Sustainable Technologies (BEST) Center $2.5 million
Wave energy emerging industry initiative $4.2 million
Food processing and seafood initiative $3.432 million
Manufacturing competitiveness initiative $2.872 million

HB5035

Appropriated $5.25 million in 2007-09 funds for a drug development research center, the Oregon Translational Research and Drug Development Institute, or OTRADI

SB579

Gave the Oregon Growth Account and the Oregon State Treasurer’s office the authority to invest in funds that can in turn make investments in startup companies.

SB582

Fixed problems with the University Venture Fund legislation, which encourages the commercialization of university research, that was passed in 2005.

SOURCE: Oregon Innovation Council
 

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