Gee, Why Didn’t We Think of That?


Plan also boosts housing development, business assistance and worker
retraining programs

January 13, 2009

PORTLAND, ORE. — Portland City Council at City Hall today announced a
crucial local jobs creation and business stimulus package aimed at
revving Portland’s economic engine in the midst of a gripping national

The public infrastructure projects will invest $503 million into the
city’s economy and fast-track the creation of an estimated 4,985 jobs.

The “Portland Job Creation and Business Stimulus Package” calls for
speeding up selected city government construction projects, boosting
housing investments and expanding loan assistance to local small
businesses and retraining opportunities to job seekers.

The bulk of the jobs created with this proposal result from
fast-tracking, over the next 12 months, city public works and
construction projects originally slated for construction over one to
three years.  The City plans to use existing capital budget resources
and to speed up its public works and construction projects, and will
not further increase fees or taxes or incur more-than-anticipated debt
to pay for the projects announced today.

Economists predict deepening job losses to peak over the next 12
months.  In addition to creating local jobs at the time Portland needs
them most, City leaders believe that the City will save tax dollars by
doing more projects now when the construction industry is offering
more competitive bids and by avoiding construction related inflation
that runs about at out 6% annually.

“We know Portland’s economy is in a better position than most regions,
and your City Council is going to do everything we prudently can to
keep it that way,” said Mayor Sam Adams.  “This city government has to
cut its budget but we will also redouble our efforts to help our
people and our businesses during this troubled times.”

“In times like these, public investment is essential,” Commissioner
Randy Leonard said. “The good jobs these projects provide will serve
the immediate needs of our economy and generations of Portlanders.”

The focus will be in the areas of Public Infrastructure, Housing,
Local Businesses and Development, and Workforce Development.

“The best thing about the plan is its across-the-board reach,”
Commissioner Nick Fish said. “The community will see benefits from
environmental, parks, transportation and water improvement projects.”

The Stimulus Plan will use available and budgeted resources to
immediately benefit the city’s families and businesses, while also
moving forward with long-term strategies to help our region thrive.

“The momentum generated by this plan will leave the city better able
to fully regain its stride when the economic climate improves,”
Commissioner Dan Saltzman said.

Under the Stimulus Plan, infrastructure projects already in the
funding pipeline in the next several years are being fast-tracked to
maximize immediate creation of local, private sector jobs through City

“As I find out more about my portfolio over the next 100 days,”
Commissioner Amanda Fritz said, “I will be asking for more projects to
be expedited, consistent with Mayor Adams’ fine direction for economic

Since the General Election, the Portland City Council has moved
aggressively to respond to the national recession:

• On  November 15, 2008, the Portland City Council requested $880
million in public works funding from the emerging federal stimulus

• On December 27, 2008, mayor-Elected Sam Adams and Multnomah County
Chair Ted Wheeler asked the Federal Emergency management
Administration to provide local small businesses assistance due to the
recent snow and ice weather events. 

• On January 7, 2009, the Portland City Council reorganized and
streamlined city bureau operations related to business assistance and

• On Thursday, January 15, 2009, the Portland City Council will
announce the “Portland is Better Together” volunteer and chose local
public service initiative.

At the direction of the Portland City Council, City government is in
the midst of cutting its operating budgets due to a reduction of tax
and fee revenues.  Bureaus have been requested to rank services and
programs based bureau mission and public demand.  The Mayor Proposed
Budget will be released in mid-April 2009.  The resources used to fund
the public works and construction projects outlined in the “Portland
Job Creation and Business Stimulus Package” are from capital budgets,
not impacted by the requested budget reductions.

Link to related documents and the full text of the local economic
stimulus package

For the outline of steps Council has taken in response to the economic

For description of Portland's Job Creation and Business Stimulus

For detailed description of the $500 million dollar investment in
fast-tracked, private-sector construction projects.

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