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|Tuesday, June 04, 2013|
BY JIM CARTER | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
Since its earliest days, Oregon has been a center for trade. We can take great pride in the fact that we grow, create and assemble things here that we sell other places. Over the years, smart investments made in regional infrastructure — rivers, rails, runways and roads — have provided Oregon businesses with efficient and cost effective access to foreign markets. But it is time to up our game.
This fall the Portland City Council will make a decision that has statewide, if not national, implications for Oregon’s continued trade strength — the annexation of West Hayden Island.
Located in the Columbia River between the ports of Portland and Vancouver, the 800-acre parcel has easy access to two major transcontinental railroads and sits smack dab on the edge of a recently deepened international navigation channel and an upriver barge system. This vital east/west link carries agricultural products from Eastern Oregon and as many as 11 other states to markets in Asia, Central and South America, and Australia as well as emerging markets in India.
Ultimately, the Port of Portland would like to market a 300-acre portion of West Hayden Island for future marine terminals that would handle autos, grain and mineral bulks like potash used in fertilizers and soda ash used in the manufacture of glass. The bulk of the island (500 acres) would be preserved for natural resources and recreation.
Today, the Port of Portland is the U.S. West Coast’s largest mineral bulks port, the second largest auto import gateway and the third largest tonnage port, but our current facilities are nearly fully utilized. We are simply not in a position to attract new business without new sites. While actual development may be 7 to 10 years out, annexation will provide a planning and regulatory framework as well as more marketing certainty for a public asset the Port purchased 20 years ago. Site selectors for potential private investors looking to locate here will want development sites to be as shovel-ready as possible.
Allowing for industrial development on the island will also serve to leverage the public investments made in deepening the Columbia River navigation channel. The Washington ports of Kalama, Longview and Vancouver are already taking advantage of the deeper channel with new infrastructure investments totaling more than a half billion dollars.
In fact the owners of the new Longview terminal had originally looked at developable land in Portland, but existing parcels were insufficient for their needs.
Cargo on the river system has trended upward over the long run and, according to the Brookings Institution, Portland is one of four U.S. regions poised for export growth.
From peas, beans and lentils to computer components, Oregon products will increasingly need to move to markets around the globe efficiently and cost-effectively. West Hayden Island can play a vital role in accommodating that growth.
Last March, the other Port Commissioners and I approved a resolution that memorializes a shared vision between the Port and the City that maximizes both the potential for marine industrial development and the opportunity for natural resource mitigation and enhancement on the island. Both parts of the vision are essential.
According to a study conducted by EcoNorthwest in 2010, marine industrial development on the island could spawn anywhere from 2,300 to 3,600 direct, indirect and induced jobs generating a $198 to $240 million boost to annual state and local taxes which are so vital to the types of community services that are increasingly at risk for budget cuts.
On the natural resources side of the equation, the Port will invest more than $35 million in mitigation that will include designation of open space, improvement of habitat and creation of recreational amenities and we are committed to incorporating cutting edge “green” port technologies and sustainable design elements in any future development. In addition cargoes such as coal, natural gas and containers will be prohibited.
We think this is a very balanced approach. Bottom line, Portland needs to decide if it wants to continue its historic role as a facilitator of trade for our state or if it wants to let other states and regions move goods for us resulting in significantly greater transportation and environmental costs to Oregon businesses, Oregon workers and the community in general.
Equally important, development costs must not exceed market realities. Property that is rendered undevelopable in the marketplace due to extensive mitigation requirements and regulatory uncertainty is really not zoning the property for development at all.
My hope is that Portland City Council will not only do what is right for their city, but also what is right for the state of Oregon.
To learn more about this important topic go to:
Jim Carter is President of the Port of Portland Commission, a nine-member volunteer governing body whose members are appointed by the governor and approved by the state senate.
Editor's note: Oregon Business accepts op-ed columns on topics relevant to the state's business community. See op-ed submission guidelines here.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
The president of LaPorte & Associates lets us in on his day-to-day life.
Friday, December 12, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER
Studying ground-running birds, a group that ranks among nature's speediest and most agile bipedal runners, to build a faster robot.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:
The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace.
Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.
This month we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay.
Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.
New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”
That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY
Lawger upends the typical hourly based fee model by letting clients determine the cost.
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER
A conversation with attorney Erich Merrill about the latest way to raise money from large groups of people.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
BY NISHANT BHAJARIA | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
By now, anyone who knows about it has a position on President Obama’s executive order on immigration. The executive order is the outcome of failed attempts at getting a bill through the normal legislative process. Both Obama and his predecessor came close, but not close enough since the process broke down multiple times.
Sunday, December 07, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER
On Friday, Uber switched on an app — and with one push of the button torpedoed Portland’s famed public process.
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