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The OB Poll: Darwin had a point

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Poll wrap-up
Friday, October 02, 2009
Diversify or die. That’s what the majority of our respondents agreed would lift Oregon’s economy in this week’s poll. Not bad advice for organisms or economies.

Diversifying the business base has been the mantra of most economic development plans in Oregon in the past few decades. It was a state built on natural resources, and since the fisheries and timber operations started to collapse, small towns throughout Oregon have tried to find a way to reinvent themselves. It’s still a work in progress. Oregon Business will examine some of those former timber towns in its November issue.

Despite the historic rollercoaster of the natural resources industry, the second most popular vote was to get back to the basic of agriculture and timber. Timber is unlikely to ever be king again because of federal forests policies, but ag has the ability to always be the once and future king, albeit with a volatile time on the throne. In our September issue last year, we detailed how spiking prices and an insatiable worldwide demand for commodities such as wheat brought record-breaking prices to Oregon’s ag industry. But just a few months later, the demand plummeted, prices dropped and the rollercoaster hit the bottom again.

Our poll showed no confidence in tech or the creative class as a way back to prosperity. Maybe its because the state has already had a tech-led recession, and the creative class is chronically underemployed.

Darwin comes to mind in this debate, when he said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

And that, dear readers, is a field that’s wide open across all business sectors, populations and industries.



John A. Ward
0 #1 Diversify or die?John A. Ward 2009-10-02 12:53:41
Oregon has Bloated / Costly / Complex government and regulations. With the rising tax rates, stupid land use laws, poor and expensive education and high personal income / sub -s corp. taxes, there is little that can be done to get business to come to Oregon. As a small business owner I can't build on land I purchase, have stupid regulations I must contend with and the idiotic 'green revolution' that embraces the theory but not the reality. I like the physical place, but there are equally pretty 'Rocky Mountain' spots, where the people shake their heads when I tell them of Oregon.
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Sean Utt
0 #2 Small Business is the engine that drives the economySean Utt 2009-10-08 00:28:27
60-80% of all new job growth comes from companies with less than 20 employees. I mentioned this to some of our state legislators a few weeks ago, and asked if there were any plans to involve the University and Community College system in helping to get more small companies making products that can be exported outside our region, and the general consensus is that they would like to see another Nike, or an Intel.

The problem is not that Oregon has stupid laws or regulations. The problem is that we lack imagination. We don't need to "get business to come to Oregon." We need to pull our heads out of our asses, stop spouting someone else's talking points, and start working together to solve our common problems. All of the recent downturns in our economy have been driven by companies that we got to "come to Oregon" who eventually left when the grass got greener elsewhere.

Or we can just [blocked] and moan. That might be fun for awhile while we circle the drain.
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