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Gearing Up for a New Oregon

Joe Cortright wrote an important piece for today's Oregonian on why Oregon's economy has faltered and how Oregon should prepare to come back.

Joe warns against believing that when the economy comes back, it will look just like the economy we knew before the recession hit.  Clinging to the past will just prolong the agony.

Joe writes, "Just as we rebuilt our economy in new ways after the Great Depression, we'll have to build whole new industries -- around sustainability and a carbon-constrained world. And just as we had to invent whole new institutions for an industrial economy in the 1930s (think of Social Security, unemployment insurance and workers compensation), we'll need to invent new public policies that establish a framework for our new economy.

"Places that embrace this future will be the ones most likely to capture new industries and their jobs. Those who cling to the past will suffer most -- and longest.

"No one can say today which technologies will succeed -- electric vehicles, green buildings, alternative energy, better planned communities. Places that can capitalize on their existing base of knowledge and provide a strong environment for entrepreneurship will be most likely to grow new jobs. And new jobs and new businesses will require new skills.

"Consequently, economic success will increasingly depend on our ability to educate our citizens, and to continue to attract the talented "young and restless" who have come to Oregon over the past decade or more.

"It's a great challenge, but there are huge opportunities for the businesses and the places that move boldly forward"


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