Friday, February 26, 2021
News & Notes
State Economic & Revenue Forecast so good, it could trigger the kicker?
   The Oregon Office of Economic Analysis released its State Economic and Revenue Quarterly Forecast this week, and the outlook is better than what has been anticipated in recent months.
   Economist Josh Lehner said in his blog, "The outlook brightens with every inoculation. The stage is set for stronger economic growth this year and next than the U.S. has experienced in decades, possibly generations. The combination of increased vaccinations, large and swift federal policy responses, and a more resilient underlying economy, results in a cycle unlike anything experienced before."
   Lehner said tax collections have been so good that it could trigger Oregon's unique kicker tax credit.
   He said federal aid is one of the factors contributing to the favorable state revenue conditions, along with steady corporate income and asset markets being positive.
   State economists are expecting Oregon to return to full employment by early 2023, which is six to nine months earlier than they originally anticipated.
    By the end of this year, they expect the state will regain more than half the jobs it has lost.
   To read Lehner's blog, click here and to see the full quarterly forecast, click here.
Land Use Committee looks at redevelopment plans in the Washington Square area
   Tigard's Senior Planner Susan Shanks and Economic Development Manager Lloyd Purdy met virtually with WEA's Land Use & Housing Committee recently.
   Shanks shared a project overview for the Washington Square area, which is referred to as the Washington Square Regional Center.
   It includes Metzger to the east, Redtail Golf Course to the north, over to Nimbus on the west with Washington Square in the middle.
   Tigard's staff is hoping to refresh the vision for this 900 acre area and is conducting public outreach to hear more from community members, including those who are often underrepresented.
   The overall goal is to facilitate more housing, jobs, and transportation, while providing a walkable, healthy, and inclusive community.
   Right now Shanks said there is potential for more mixed use development at the mall, and there is a strong demand for housing in the area, with 2 - 3 story rowhomes being the most feasible.
   One of the biggest barriers found in the project's key findings is access for those walking and biking.
   There is also a lack of available parks or open space.
   Shanks said some of the community has admitted to using the Crescent Grove Cemetery next to the mall as an open space, but it is private property and does not allow dogs.
   Tigard will be hosting an online open house in April, which WEA will share the link to when it's available.
   In the meantime, you can learn more by looking at Shanks' slide deck presentation or through the project's web page.
Cornelius & Forest Grove team up for their annual "State of the Cities" address
   Despite being in a pandemic or experiencing a historic ice storm, some things have stayed the same, or at least on schedule.
   Cornelius Mayor Jef Dalin and Forest Grove Mayor Pete Truax presented their annual "State of the Cities" address this week (it's always the Monday following Presidents Day) by pivoting to a virtual format.
   Mayor Dalin spoke about those experiencing food insecurity and/or homelessness.
   He talked about the aid and partnerships formed to buy food from local caterers and farms, which in turn was delivered to food pantries, benefitting both groups suffering during the pandemic.
   Dalin also spoke about housing and industrial properties coming online in Cornelius.
   When it comes to public services the city provides, Dalin had a sound of happiness in his voice as he talked about the city's increasing ability to store more water thanks to its basalt aquifer.
   He also welcomed a new fire chief and police chief, while saying goodbye to Community Development Director Ryan Wells, who has been active in WEA's Land Use & Housing Committee.
   In his speech, Mayor Truax talked about overcoming the pandemic.
   He said, "We wear the masks, we practice social distancing, and we wash our hands so that we all can safely order pizza, or buy coffee, ice cream, or heaven help us, kale pesto. It has been a long year. It will get longer, but there is an end in sight."
   Truax went onto share the actions his city has taken during the course of the year.
   There have been no utility shutoffs during the pandemic in Forest Grove.
   Instead, the Mayor has asked his city's customers to balance things out once things improve.
   He talked about helping those in need and investing time into partnerships.
   This included fighting fires with other local communities, helping out utility crews during storm recovery, creating housing options with Mero, making transportation improvements with Washington County, and providing other services.
   Truax also touched on the Forest Grove City Council's strategic planning efforts, and its desire to keep diversity, equity, and inclusion at the forefront of those intentions.
   To see the presentation, turn to TVCTV's YouTube page - a big thank you to TVCTV for posting the video this afternoon.
WEA welcomes Metro Councilor Juan Carlos González to its Board
   The WEA Board of Directors met this week and welcomed Metro Councilor Juan Carlos González to the virtual table.
   González is serving as the Metro representative on the WEA Board.
   He was elected to the Metro Council in 2019 and represents constituents in the northern urban part of Washington County.
   González has been a part of Centro Cultural de Washington County, a nonprofit working with local Latino families to create self-sufficient and engaged citizens. 
   The Metro Councilor also has a degree in economics and government from Georgetown University.  
   To read more, visit WEA's Board of Directors web page.  
Board approves new member Parker, Smith & Feek
  During its Board of Directors meeting, the WEA directors also approved the membership application for Parker, Smith & Feek.
   It is said to be one of the 60 largest insurance brokerage firms in the United States and is privately owned and headquartered in the Pacific Northwest. 
   Parker, Smith & Feek provides its clients with insurance solutions in a number of areas, including employee benefits, commercial insuranceclaims advocacy, and surety services.
   To learn more about Parker, Smith & Feek, please visit its website.
   WEA looks forward to engaging with Park, Smith & Feek in the year to come.
Odds & Ends
  • Metro President Lynn Peterson provided a "State of the Region" presentation today at a virtual Portland City Club meeting. To watch the presentation, click here.

  • Washington County's Board of Commissioners is hosting a virtual Town Hall a week from Saturday (March 6) at 11:30 a.m. Click here to learn more.

  • Wilsonville is taking a survey on its streetscape in its town center. To learn more, click here.

  • Thank you again to all of the public works crews and others, especially to our friends at PGE, who are still working constantly to clean up and restore power to everyone in the region after the ice/snow storm two weeks ago! Your efforts are greatly appreciated.

  • Clackamas and Washington counties are moving to the state's "moderate risk" category today, which means more indoor capacity will be allowed at restaurants, gyms, and other businesses. Please keep masking up, social distancing, and doing your part to stay safe. The Governor did hold a press conference earlier today, releasing the next date and phases of eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine. Click here to listen.

  • This weekend will mark one year since Oregon's first confirmed COVID-19 case. KGW's Maggie Vespa spent time talking with the Kaiser Permanente doctors and medical staff who cared for Hector Calderon. Click here to read or see more.
Events coming up
Th. 3/4 at 10:00 a.m. The City of Beaverton is hosting a virtual "State of the City." Turn to its Facebook page for more information.

Fri. 3/5 at 12:00 p.m. the Golf/Fundraising Committee will meet virtually. This committee is working on the sponsorship phase for the annual Westside Golf Scramble, which is scheduled for Thursday, August 26. Please contact Teresa Dunham for more information on how to join.

Wed. 3/10 at 7:30 a.m. - The Transportation Committee will meet virtually. All members are welcome.

Th. 3/11 at 7:30 a.m. - The Government Relations Committee will meet virtually. All members are welcome.

Wed. 3/17 at 12:00 p.m. - The Land Use & Housing Committee will meet virtually. All members are welcome.

Wed. 3/24 at 7:30 a.m. - The WEA Board of Directors will meet virtually.