Friday, October 30, 2020
fall leaves on a branch hanging down
News & Notes
State announces a change in returning to school metrics
   Nearly 130,000 Oregon students may be able to return to the classroom under new state guidelines released today, but others will need to strive to meet the new benchmarks.
   In order to return to in-person instruction, the Oregon Department of Education's Colt Gill announced that schools will need to be in a county where there are less than 50 cases per 100,000 people over a 14 day period, and the positive test rate is less than 5%.
   Smaller counties in Oregon would fall under different criteria.
   There are other levels of instruction as outlined in the Ready Schools Safe Learners 2020-21 guide (see page 16) that would allow for some hybrid instruction models done by grade levels.
   Washington County's test positivity rate last week was 7.4% and Clackamas County's was 5.2%.
   Under the new guidelines, elementary schools in Clackamas County could return to some classroom learning.
   To read more, check out this article on KGW's website or on Pamplin Media's.
Providence gets the go ahead for vaccine trial focused on the 50+ population
   Scientists, who specialize in immunotherapy for the Providence Cancer institute, are using their expertise to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.
   The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave Providence researchers its approval to start a clinical trial of 36 people.
   Half of the participants will be between the ages of 18-50, and the second half will be older than 50.
   This vaccine focuses on the older population and their immune system.
   It is one of 18 clinical vaccine trials in the U.S. and one of 45 in the world.
   To read more, visit Providence's website.
September's local employment data shows slight improvement
   The latest employment numbers are out for Washington and Clackamas counties, and both show a decrease in the unemployment rate.
   Washington County's unemployment rate dropped to 6.6% in September, and Clackamas County's fell to 7.6%.
   Workforce Analyst Brandon Schrader for Washington County noted this rate was still more than double what it was a year ago.
   In her report, Workforce Analyst Lynn Wallis for Clackamas County shows a drop in the availability of those in the workforce, which is believed to be parents of young children with no childcare, who are staying home.
   Schrader said employers added 500 more jobs back to the payroll last month, and Wallis said Clackamas County added 700.
   According to Schrader, there is job growth in government, health, and education services, but there has been a decline in the construction (3.4%) and leisure and hospitality (1%) industries over the past month.
   To see more, turn to Schrader's Washington County report and/or Wallis' Clackamas County report.
Next forum - he's back, Economist Josh Lehner
   The state's economic and revenue forecast is coming out on November 18, and WEA will be hosting another virtual forum with Economist Josh Lehner the following morning to hear his insight.
   Lehner will share what he is seeing with unemployment, job growth, consumer spending, and the need for aid.
   He often considers a number of data points for the state and puts it into easy to understand terms.
   Please join us as we welcome Lehner back to the WEA virtual forum stage at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, November 19.
  Click here to register.
   If you would like to consider event sponsorship, please contact Pam Treece.
Industrial property is the bright spot according to commercial real estate panelists
   Eric Sporre, a vice president with PacTrust, and Evan Bernstein, a partner and director of leasing with Pacific NW Properties, talked about the local commercial real estate market with WEA members and guests during a virtual forum yesterday.
   NAIOP Executive Director Kelly Ross moderated the event.
   Bernstein said the industrial side of the market is the area doing well right now and is experiencing a continued low vacancy rate.
   These would be the properties leasing to delivery services, utilizing distribution space, or those making items for delivery, such as food production companies.
   On the other end of the property spectrum, both said the office market is pretty slow and retail is "horrible."
   When the pandemic first hit, Sporre said he and his colleagues were spending their day talking with many of PacTrust's clients, who needed help and/or were scared.
   Sporre said PacTrust even backed away from a land purchase, leaving earnest money on the table, which he said rarely happens.
   Bernstein said he went from the offensive side of the business of marketing and leasing to becoming a psychologist, a collections agent, and a punching bag.
   He described his clients as being fighters with scrappy resiliency.
   Both said they are working with their clients and many are on rent deferrals.
   Sporre said he feels his company is back in a growth phase, albeit early - purchasing property and looking to develop one of its sites.
   When it comes to the Westside, Bernstein finds the suburbs are attractive to companies, especially when it comes to doing a comparison of costs and other issues experienced in downtown Portland.
   Sporre said his company is seeing lease renewals on the Westside for office space, but it's on shorter terms than usual.    If you missed the program or would like to hear it again, visit the WEA YouTube channel.
Land Use & Housing looks at the realities of HB 2001
   It's not a subject most people are familiar with, but those in the land use and housing realm seem to take a quick interest when House Bill 2001 (HB 2001) is mentioned.
   The WEA Land Use & Housing Committee met last week to talk about the measure, which allows duplexes to be built in a single family zoned area in cities with a population of 10,000 or more.
   It was a bill expected to help the housing crisis by allowing for more supply.
   Hillsboro's Colin Cooper and Allan Lazo from the Fair Housing Council of Oregon shared their insight with the WEA committee.
   The committee discussed the history of housing pertaining to race and equity.
   Lazo said there needs to be a balance for increasing the housing supply and affordability opportunities, while not harming the people it's supposed to help.
   Ezra Hammer of the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Portland (HBA) shared with the group a link to a presentation on "The Color of Law."
   According to the committee discussion, the realities of this effort to create more middle housing seems to be going into expansion areas and not existing neighborhoods.
   Tigard City Councilor Tom Anderson talked about the townhouses going into the expansion area of River Terrace.
   The Land Use & Housing Committee may continue discussions on HB 2001 again next month.
Odds & Ends
  • Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District is looking for volunteers to serve on its Budget Committee. The deadline to apply is Monday, November 9. To learn more, click here.

  • As an employer, how can you help your employees cope with social unrest? The Standard has some tips that could lead to some insightful dialogue.

  • Congrats to 64.2% of Washington County voters, who have turned in their ballots. Clackamas County has received at least 63.9% of ballots. If you haven't turned in your ballot, it is too late to mail it at this point, but there are drop boxes in each county. Please see the 11/3 calendar date below for links to the drop boxes in Clackamas and Washington counties. If you have turned in your ballot and wonder if it made it, you can track it through the Secretary of State's Office.

  • It's going to be quite the weekend with Halloween, a blue moon, and a time change. Here are some suggestions from the City of Hillsboro on how to adjust to the difference in daylight. Please stay safe.

  • If you haven't been to central Beaverton lately, you may find it looks a bit different than it did a year ago. Below is a time lapse video of the construction of the Patricia Reser Center for the Arts. You can also see the construction of the Hyatt House hotel nearby.
Events coming up
Tue. 11/3 Voting Day! Please get your ballots in and have your vote count! Here are a list of the drop box locations in Washington County and Clackamas County.

Th. 11/5 The Government Relations Committee (GRC) will meet virtually at 7:30 a.m. to talk about the recent elections and the upcoming legislative session. All members are welcome. Contact Pam Treece for more information.

Wed. 11/11 at 7:30 a.m. The Transportation Committee will meet virtually. All members are welcome. Contact Teresa Dunham for more information.

Wed. 11/11 Veterans Day - thank you to all who have served or currently have family members serving in our nation's military.

Wed. 11/18 at 12:00 p.m. The Land Use & Housing Committee will meet virtually. Contact KC Reinhart for more information.

Th. 11/19 at 8:00 a.m. WEA will host a virtual forum with economist Josh Lehner about the state's latest quarterly economic and revenue forecast, which will be released the day before.

Th. 11/26 Happy Thanksgiving!

To see more of the WEA calendar, please visit the WEA website.