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Government Affairs 2015

  • December 31, 2015 12:00 AM | Anonymous

    The first Government and Economic Affairs meeting of the year was January 13 with a well received presentation by Christian Kaylor, a state of Oregon economist specializing in the Portland area.  He discussed jobs, population growth, wages and compared Portland to other cities around the nation.

    Portland ranks #10 in wage growth in a list of the 50 largest cities.  We experienced a 3.3% wage growth and continued a trend that has added over 131,000 jobs in the past 5 years.  Cities with high tech industries tend to have higher wages and more growth.  Portland did benefit from the number of software companies in the area.

    When you look at the average wages, Portland is seeing growth.  However the picture is much different when the jobs are separated into three different categories. Christian showed a clear picture of the growth of high paying jobs, a good growth in low paying jobs but no growth in the “Middle Class”, middle wage jobs.   This phenomenon helps explain why food stamps and social services are increasing, even though the “average” is looking better.

    Another point that the data demonstrated is that Multnomah county is outpacing job growth of neighboring counties by a significant amount.  More people are choosing to move to Multnomah county and work in Portland than Washington County and Clackamas County combined over the past two years.  We also saw data that showed average wages highest in downtown Portland and dropping as you look further east, with Gresham having the lowest average wages in the region.

    This was an informative and entertaining presentation about the economic facts in our region. Kaylor has the ability to demonstrate his excitement over the data and explain what it means, and mix it with humor and experience.

  • November 16, 2015 2:45 PM | Anonymous

    For the full article click HERE.

  • October 29, 2015 2:30 PM | Anonymous
    On October 14, 2015, Oregon State Treasurer, Ted Wheeler spoke to the East Portland Chamber at the Government and Economic Affairs meeting. After warming up the crowd with a story about one of his early adventures in the business world of Video recording he moved on to more current topics of his role as the State Treasurer and his Campaign for Mayor of the city of Portland. (By the way his business adventure was a story about the excellent quality and superior performance of BetaMax video. His business did not last.) That being said, Wheeler has seen some great success in his role as the state treasurer. His presentation focused on the retirement plan that the state has mandated for businesses in the state to offer in 2017. The compelling arguments come from the dismal statistics about current retirement savings by working people in America. To read the full article, click HERE!
  • October 13, 2015 12:18 PM | Anonymous
    State Treasurer Ted Wheeler will be discussing State Run Retirement Plans at the East Portland Chamber of on October 14, 2015.
    Oct 14th | 7:30-9:00am
    Adventist Medical Center
    Lower Level, Education Room B
    10123 SE Market St | MAP
    State Treasurer Ted Wheeler State Treasurer Ted Wheeler[/caption] A sixth-generation Oregonian, Ted Wheeler cares deeply about Oregon and the state’s financial health. He is committed to protecting the state’s current strong credit ratings, to ensuring that public investments remain both prudent and profitable, and to conservatively managing Oregon’s debt. He believes all Oregonians will be able to stand taller because their state is on a stable financial footing.
    Since being appointed and then elected in 2010, he directed efforts to implement money-saving technologies, strengthened access to data, authorized fraud lawsuits against firms that misled investors, earned an upgrade in Oregon’s credit rating, and revamped the Oregon 529 College Savings Network with lower costs and more options for families.
    Wheeler also has assumed a leadership role in economic development. He convened business leaders and spearheaded a new statewide blueprint, dubbed the Oregon Investment Act, and it was approved by the Legislature in 2012.
    Serving as the Chair of the Multnomah County Commission from 2006 to 2010, Wheeler was a champion of preventive services. Under his leadership, Multnomah County reduced the cost of government while maintaining safety net programs for the elderly, drug and alcohol treatment programs, and forging partnerships to fund a Mental Health Crisis Center. As the county’s chief executive, he oversaw a workforce of more than 4,400 and was responsible for reducing and balancing the budget and also cutting the county’s debt.
    Wheeler brings a strong management and financial background to the office of State Treasurer. Before entering elected office, he worked in the financial services industry, and his career included posts at financial institutions including Bank of America and Copper Mountain Trust, where he was a senior manager.
    He earned his undergraduate degree in Economics from Stanford University, an MBA from Columbia University, and a Masters in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
    Wheeler was born in Portland, and graduated from Lincoln High School. His family has deep Oregon roots. The town of Wheeler, located on Nehalem Bay on the Oregon coast, is named after his great-grandfather.
    Wheeler is a longtime community volunteer leader, and has devoted energy to diverse organizations including Neighborhood House, Portland Mountain Rescue, and the Oregon Sports Authority. He is an Eagle Scout.
    When he is not working, Wheeler enjoys endurance sports, and successfully summited Mt Everest in 2002. He snow-shoed to the North Pole with his wife and regularly competes in the Ironman Triathlon.
    He lives in Southwest Portland with his wife and daughter.​​
  • June 16, 2015 10:00 AM | Anonymous
    The guest speaker for the June Government and Affairs Economic Committee was Neil McFarlane, General Manager of TriMet. Neil shared some great insight about how TriMet makes decisions and how they solve problems. We also got a peek at the vision for public transportation plans for the future Portland metropolitan area. Here are a few of the interesting things we learned:
    • How do they keep the financial house in order? Even though the legislature approved a payroll tax increase in 2009, TriMet has been working on efficiencies in their operations to maintain the existing tax level for the past six years. The efficiencies included a variety of efforts, such as negotiating with the employee union to reduce the cost of benefits such as insurance premiums, co-pays and retirement accounts. TriMet has also increased fare collection by adding inspection staff, maintaining fare machines and adding easy mobile payment options.
    • Neil shared some statistics that compare the TriMet operations to the public transportation systems in other similar city metro’s. In a great many of the metrics, TriMet comes out ahead. TriMet carries 18% more riders per revenue hour than peer average; has a lower cost per hour plus higher ridership per hour and has operation cost per rider that is about 22% lower than the peer average.
    • With the growth in the region and the existing overcrowding on our major roadways, TriMet will play an important role in the future transportation of Northwest Oregon. It is expected that there will be another 400,000 people and 260,000 employees added to the region by 2035. The existing highways simply won’t hold that much traffic, so we need TriMet services to grow with the needs of the population.
    • Early years of planning for the train and bus routes focused on getting people to and from downtown Portland. The new reality is that there are “job centers” all around the metro area and routes are needed between them (not just through downtown). The Service Enhancement plans for the next 20 years are mapped out based on the expected growth of homes and jobs.
    This fall the Board of TriMet will be considering implementing the payroll tax increase that was approved in 2009. They will phase in the increase over a 10 year period starting in 2016. The audience had a chance to ask questions and we all gained a greater appreciation for our public transportation system and the important role it plays in our economy.
  • June 08, 2015 11:00 AM | Anonymous
    Neil McFarlane trimet photoPlease join the Chamber on June 10th at 7:30am at Adventist Medical Center for a presentation on "Transit Keeps the Economy Moving" by TriMet General Manager, Neil McFarlane. Neil is no stranger to TriMet. He has worked at the agency for more than 20 years and has served as general manager since 2010. During his tenure, Neil headed up the agency’s Capital Projects division where he led the development, design and construction of the Airport, Interstate, I-205/Portland Mall light rail and the WES Commuter Rail projects. As director of Capital Projects, and now as general manager, he has played an integral part of the new Portland-Milwaukie light rail line. In addition to his commitment to rail projects, Neil has advanced the extensive capital investments for the bus system. Before coming to TriMet, Neil worked for Portland’s regional government, Metro, where he contributed to other key projects in the region, most notably the Oregon Convention Center. With 30 years of experience in the Portland region’s planning and transportation field, he has successfully worked closely with partner agencies and the community. Neil holds a master's in urban planning from UCLA. Neil is also a daily transit rider, alternating between the 12 and 43 bus lines in his commute to work.

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