BY ROBIN DOUSSARD
The 9th annual Oregon Leadership Summit will spill over to a second day for the first time to address specifically health care reform and education reform, two issues that have been central to the state’s business leadership in the past few years. (Read Oregon Business magazine's education reform story from its September issue. Upcoming in the December issue will be an analysis of the health-care reform efforts.)
This year’s summit, to be held Dec. 12-13 at the Oregon Convention Center, is titled “The Stage is Set: It’s Time to Deliver,” and is again expected to draw 1,000 attendees from around the state. On Day One, there will be updates on regional jobs and economic development opportunities, progress reviews of on Oregon Business Plan initiatives over the past year, and chances to network and brainstorm on how to improve the state’s economic outlook. Attending will be U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkely, Gov. John Kitzhaber, Senate president Peter Courtney, and co-speakers Bruce Hanna and Arnie Roblan.
Last year’s summit was a gloomy affair, with Kitzhaber famously saying that "Oregon is literally in a death spiral, an unsustainable path into the future." Pacific Power President Pat Reiten agreed, saying: "We need to recognize honestly that Oregon isn't such a special place anymore."
Reiten, along with Wyden and Merkely, again will open the summit with a plenary session, after a morning session where business and economic development leaders in five regions will present two jobs/economic development opportunities/challenges for their region.
Day Two is billed as “a hands-on workshop especially valuable for legislators and stakeholders” meant to focus more closely on “implementing the education, health care, and fiscal reforms embraced by the governor and legislature coming out of last year’s summit. With these new policy tools in place, it’s time to deliver.”
The annual summit was cancelled in 2009 after then-Gov. Ted Kulongoski supported a tax increase on businesses.
Robin Doussard is the editor of Oregon Business.