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|Articles - September 2012|
|Monday, August 27, 2012|
Page 4 of 5
Small creatives making it
Remember the Portlandia episode involving the bike messenger with grotesquely long earlobes about to be ripped asunder in the final scene? Those ears were the handiwork of Christina Kortum, a Portland special-effects makeup artist specializing in custom prosthetics. Among other items, Kortum has delivered a head for Leverage, wooden stakes and edible coins for Grimm, and a bone for the 2011 shot-in-Portland movie Gone. “She was supposed to use it to stab the bad guy,” says Kortum.
A veteran of the haunted-house industry, Kortum credits the Oregon Production Investment Fund for boosting her career in film and television. Since 2005 the state has given cash rebates, capped at $6 million per year, to media production companies, which in turn create jobs and send business to local vendors. Kortum’s income, for example, has doubled each year because of the business generated by Portland’s Hollywood renaissance. “I went from doing a gig here and there to pretty much doing constant gigs that can support my family.”
A Leverage snapshot reveals the film fund’s larger quid pro quo. In the past four years, Leverage Productions has received $17 million from the incentive program. In return, the company has created about 2,800 production jobs, hired 7,000 extras and injected $100 million directly into the local economy. The long list of beneficiaries include 52nd Ave. Hardware, a Southeast Portland lumber and hardware shop that was ready to downsize after the economy crashed in 2008. After becoming the primary hardware vendor for Leverage and Grimm, the owners hired two additional employees — a 33% staff increase, says manager Dave Besaw. “For a small family busi-ness like us, the film industry is significant.”
Oregon’s film incentive has its critics, who argue the program unfairly benefits the wealthy. And despite the ripple effects, even the most ardent boosters concede incentives alone aren’t enough to sustain a local film economy. Portland has gone from being a low-budget town to a place where “big things happen,” says Kortum.
But what Hollywood gives, she acknowledges, it can taketh away. “The film industry — it’s like the locust. They come in, set up and everyone is rolling in money. Then they leave and it’s like:
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
A place-based multimodal transportation plan for Mt. Hood is long overdue.
Sunday, February 15, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
As the investigation against the governor moves forward, those of us in the news business should reflect on our own potential for subverting the democratic process.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
BY NISHANT BHAJARIA | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
Startups in the growth phase are associated with a fresh infusion of capital — human and financial — a curiosity factor and products to disrupt the market and drive demand. Portland’s economy gives off the same aroma.
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
BY JASON NORRIS, CFA | OB GUEST BLOGGER
Pets.com, GeoCities, eToys, and WorldCom … blasts-from-the-past that all signify the late 1990s Internet bubble. Yet we believe the dynamics of the market, specifically in technology stocks, are much different today than it was during the late 1990s.
Thursday, January 08, 2015
BY CAMBIA HEALTH SOLUTIONS & OREGON BUSINESS COUNCIL | OP-ED
Businesses have a significant stake in the health of Oregonians. In fact, we cannot succeed without it. By committing to using our companies as levers for good health, we invest in our people, our business, our quality of life and our economy.
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
Vacasa may lack the name recognition of Airbnb. But not for long.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
BY TAMSEN LEACHMAN | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
It is important to understand the EEOC’s priorities, and ensure that your leadership understands the shifting expectations of regulators and the heightened standards to which you (and they) may be held.
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