Friday, January 29, 2021
News & Notes
Metro Council hears about the Greater Portland Economic Recovery Plan
   The Greater Portland Economic Development District (GPEDD) and Metro are partnering on an economic recovery plan for the region.
   Metro's Council learned more about the framework of the plan during its work session this week.
   The plan focuses on small business recovery and growth, advancing economic mobility for individuals, and supporting families and children.
   It is said to have action items that can be immediately implemented, helping to get people back to work, stabilize businesses, and to deter the growing income equality gap, especially for people of color.
   “We’re being nimble and I appreciate the amount of energy that it takes to engage people meaningfully in this environment,” said Metro Councilor Juan Carlos González. “And we need to make sure that we can help families build wealth long term, to create roots, to create place, and to make prosperity happen for everybody.”
   Westside Economic Alliance's Executive Director Pam Treece is on the Board of Advisors for the plan, and WEA Board member Jason Green from CBRE is the vice chair for the GPEDD.
   To see the Greater Portland Economic Recovery Plan, click here.
Union Gospel Mission shares plan for new transitional housing project for women
   The Union Gospel Mission's (UGM) Ken Cowdery and Bill Russell joined WEA's Land Use & Housing Committee last week to talk about the organization's Lifechange program - a transitional housing program for women and their children.
   Lifechange is currently housed in an aging building in Beaverton, but there are plans for a future home in the Tanasbourne area.
   The current facility can house about 25 women and children.
   Women in the program are provided with services that will help them move towards independent living.
   The new facility could serve more than double the amount of women and children the program currently helps.
   Russell said the new facility is a $17.8 million project, and it is privately funded through donations.
   Since UGM is a faith based organization, it does not receive public funding.
   To see Russell's slide deck about the Journey Home Campaign, click here.
Study finds homeownership out of grasp for the average wage earner
   A study released from ATTOM Data Solutions shows both Washington and Clackamas counties are less affordable when it comes to home prices than the historical average.
   The study shows a number of counties throughout the U.S. are in the same unaffordable category.
   It looked at the median home price in the third quarter of 2020 and the income of an average wage earner.
   Out of nearly 500 counties looked at nationwide, more than 300 were in the unaffordable category.
   In Washington County, the median home price in the third quarter of 2020 was $443,250 and $456,780 in Clackamas County.
   The median home price rose 8.1% year over year in Washington County, while wages grew 3.1%.
   In Clackamas County, the median home price increased 7.5% year over year, and the annualized wage went up 3.6%.
   Pamplin Media talked with WEA member and REACH's Alma Flores to hear how her organization is combatting the issue.
   Click here to read the story.
ODOT finds retrofitting the Boone Bridge is more expensive than replacing it
   In 2019, the Oregon Legislature provided funding to look at improvements to widen and seismically retrofit the I-5 Boone Bridge over the Willamette River at the south end of Wilsonville.
   ODOT reported its finding to the Legislature recently.
   The study considered congestion relief, safety, and seismic resiliency.
   In the report, ODOT said parts of the spans across the bridge are more than 60 years old and could be compromised in a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake.
   ODOT reported the bridge is sitting on timber footings, and the soil on the riverbanks adjacent to the bridge are expected to liquify in the event of a major earthquake.
  The bridge is a lifeline between the valley and the metro area, and it is the only crossing over the Willamette River within 15 miles.
   In looking at the area, ODOT found it would be more cost efficient to replace the bridge than to retrofit it.
   The price tag to replace the bridge is between $450 million - $550 million, but it outweighed the retrofit option by more than 85%.
   To see the report, click here.
Tigard hires a new city manager
   Steve Rymer has been named the new city manager for the City of Tigard.
   He will start his new role on Monday.
   In 2017, Rymer was hired to serve the City of Rochester, Minnesota as its city administrator.
   Prior to this, he was the City Manager of Morgan Hill, California and the Parks and Recreation Director of the City of New Brighton, Minnesota.
   Tigard Mayor and WEA Board member Jason Snider said of Rymer, “He understands the work required to further advance our city’s vision to become an equitable community that is walkable, healthy, and accessible."
   To read more, visit Tigard's website.
Odds & Ends
  • Congratulations to WEA members AT&T, CBRE, Intel, Nike, PGE, Walmart, and the Coca-Cola Company for being recognized on Bloomberg's Gender Equality Index.

  • Washington County is looking for feedback on its proposed improvements to the intersection at SW Farmington Road and 170th Avenue. Click here to learn more.

  • The Oregon Zoo announced the beloved Polar Bear Nora will be moving back to her Portland home this spring. WEA asked the Zoo if one of Nora's future neighbors would be providing a seasonal prediction on Groundhog's Day. The Zoo's Hova Najarian said, "We may get a prediction from 'Stumptown Fil' (aka Filbert the beaver). He’s been 'branching' out and taking up weather forecasting." Stay tuned to the WEA social media channels for that possible prediction.

  • Did you know today is National Have Fun At Work Day? Evidently, KOIN's 5:30 p.m. anchor team started their celebration a little early. See the video clip below for a weather toss yesterday like no other.
Events coming up
Fri. 2/5 at 12:00 p.m. the Golf/Fundraising Committee will meet virtually. This committee is always looking for creative energy. If this sparks your interest to join, please contact Teresa Dunham.

Fri. 2/5 at 2:00 p.m. the Strategy Committee will meet virtually.

Wed. 2/10 at 7:30 a.m. - The Transportation Committee will meet virtually with Representative Susan McLain to talk about the I-5 Interstate Bridge project. All members are welcome. Contact Teresa Dunham for more information.

Th. 2/11 at 7:30 a.m. - The Government Relations Committee will meet virtually. All members are welcome.

Wed. 2/17 at 12:00 p.m. - The Land Use & Housing Committee will meet virtually. All members are welcome.

Wed. 2/24 at 7:30 a.m. - The WEA Board of Directors will meet virtually.

Th. 2/25 at 7:30 a.m. - A WEA Virtual Forum. More information coming soon.