Friday, Nov. 19, 2021
News & Notes
Economist shares "booming" forecast during WEA forum
   Economist Josh Lehner with the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis shared the latest state quarterly economic forecast with WEA members and guests this week during a Virtual Forum.
   Lehner said Oregon's economy is booming - tax revenue, business profits, wages, and jobs numbers are all up.
   In fact, it is doing so well, we're at the point of the economy not just being in a recovery mode, but demands are so high that it's pushing us into inflation, according to Lehner.
   He said some of the inflation is tied to pandemic conditions and temporary, like the chip shortage for autos that has impacted the supply of new cars, but some pressures are more problematic.
   These problems include the cost of homes and increases in rent.
   Lehner said it's possible the federal government could increase interest rates to try to cool the economy, but needs to be careful as this could tip us into recession if it's too much.
   According to Lehner, part of the inflation issue is the increase in wages where businesses are trying to attract and retain employees, and they are passing the cost onto consumers.
   Lehner said eventually consumers will slow their spending, but we are not to that point yet.
   With this increase in wages, Lehner said it's allowed some households to have an adult stay at home, but Lehner thinks these people will slowly be coming back into the workforce too.
   The economist said the warehousing industry is attracting workers away from lower paying manufacturing and construction jobs.
   To view the Virtual Forum, visit the WEA YouTube channel.
   Lehner also alluded to Portland State University's preliminary population estimates, which were released this week and can be downloaded here.
Land Use Committee hears about Hillsboro's economic development activity
   Hillsboro Economic and Community Development Director Dan Dias met with WEA's Land Use & Housing Committee this week.
   Dias shared maps of Hillsboro showing where economic development is occurring and the industries landing in the city.
   He said the city works to help create conditions where current businesses can expand and where future businesses can locate.
   When it comes to potential industrial properties, Dias said the region is supposed to have a 20-year land supply, but right now it's at about 7 to 12 years worth.
   He said this is concerning and emphasized that businesses looking to land in the region are not developers.
   These are businesses looking to create a product at a site within a short time frame and aren't looking to spend time on getting infrastructure to the location, so it's important the city plans well.
   Dias said he and his colleagues recognize Hillsboro's economic activity affects the region's resiliency as a whole, and that Hillsboro companies tend to attract suppliers to the surrounding areas.
   He said the four industries Hillsboro is attracting include computer and electronics, software and info tech, advanced manufacturing, and bioscience and medical devices.
   To learn more, visit Hillsboro's community development web page.
County changes top administration structure, appoints new assistant administrators
   Washington County Administrator Tanya Ange appointed three assistant county administrators this week.
   The county plans to hire a fourth assistant county administrator in the near future.
   This is a change in the structure of the past county administration.
   In previous years, Washington County had three deputy county administrators, but the county made the structural change to four assistant county administrators as part of its "Design The Future" initiative.
   Erin Calvert and Marni Kuyl have served in previous leadership roles within the county. Ahmad Qayoumi has been the public works director and county engineer for Clark County (Washington).
   Calvert will manage Community Corrections, Juvenile Services and the Law Library, plus be a liaison to the offices of the Sheriff, District Attorney, and Courts.
   Kuyl will oversee Health and Human Services, Housing Services, Community Development, and Assessment and Taxation. 
   Qayoumi will supervise Land Use and Transportation, Economic Development, Cooperative Library Services, the Westside Commons (formerly the Fair Complex), and the Watermaster. 
   “I’m very pleased to welcome each of these individuals to their new leadership roles. It was a very challenging decision with several highly qualified candidates who participated in the rigorous recruitment process. I’m grateful to all who applied and to our community partners who assisted with selecting this talented group of dedicated public servants,” said County Administrator Tanya Ange.
   To read more, visit Washington County's website.
Odds & Ends
  • OHSU released its latest COVID forecast today. “We are still in a precarious situation,” said Peter Graven, Ph.D., director of the OHSU Office of Advanced Analytics. “Right now, hospitals can’t handle much of a surge in COVID-19 cases without impacting the timely delivery of health care to other people. We can’t really afford to take off our masks – especially people who aren’t vaccinated.” To read more, visit the OHSU website.

  • Congratulations to Washington County on being awarded a $12.2 RAISE grant to help fund the Council Creek Trail, which will connect Hillsboro, Cornelius, and Forest Grove.

  • If you're looking for something to brighten your spirits on these dark days, the City of Hillsboro will be having a tree lighting ceremony tomorrow night at 6pm in the Civic Center Plaza.

  • A new resident is calling Metro's Oregon Zoo home. Nora the polar bear welcomed her half-sister Amelia Gray to her newly renovated crib last week. Check out the video below to see how the new roommate situation is going over at Polar Passage.
Events coming up
Th. 11/25 & Fri. 11/26 - Happy Thanksgiving weekend! The WEA laptops will be closed, and News & Notes will be on break.

Sun 11/28 - Happy beginning of Hanukkah

Wed. 12/1 at 7:30 a.m. - The WEA Board of Directors will meet virtually.

Wed. 12/8 at 7:30 a.m. - The Transportation Committee will meet virtually. All members are welcome to attend.

Th. 12/9 at 7:30 a.m. - The Government Relations Committee will meet virtually. All members are welcome to attend.

Wed. 12/15 at 12:00 p.m. - The Land Use & Housing Committee will meet virtually. All members are welcome to attend.