Friday, May 21, 2021
News & Notes
Governor adds a $1 million incentive for getting vaccinated & other COVID news
   Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced today that those vaccinated for COVID-19 in Oregon by June 27 will be entered into a drawing for $1 million.
   The Governor said there will also be smaller prizes offered as well, including a $10,000 drawing in each county.
   Brown also highlighted All4Oregon reaching its 500,000th shot this week at the Oregon Convention Center.
   Today Washington County moves to low risk, allowing restaurants, gyms, and theaters to have 50% capacity.
   To see today's press conference with the Governor and her team, click here.
   In other humanitarian efforts related to COVID-19, Cathay Pacific took off from PDX today with a donation of testing supplies from the Oregon Health Authority to those in India.
   To read more on this effort, click here.
Economic & Revenue forecast strong enough for a $1.4 billion kicker
   Economist Josh Lehner shared with a WEA audience the latest Economic and Revenue Forecast for the state, saying the Speaker of the Oregon House called it "stunning."
   Lehner stressed a pandemic recovery is unlike a traditional recession - data is showing a faster recovery than most recessions.
   The state economists have forecasted Oregon revenue will come in stronger than what they originally forecasted - enough to trigger a kicker credit of $1.4 billion back to Oregon taxpayers.
   Lehner said the pandemic caused a gap in GDP activity, but the federal aid filled the hole.
   He said the income many unemployed lost because of the pandemic has been filled with federal aid in unemployment insurance, which may be inhibiting hiring now, but will be short lived as the added federal benefit will end in September.
   Lehner said no one is getting rich off of unemployment, as the majority of those on it are in the lower income brackets.
   As businesses start to open up more and more, Lehner said we will see pent up demand for services, which will spur more employment.
   A few factors to watch in the economy are inflation, the supply chain, and the impact of retirements on job growth.
   To see the slide deck from the most recent quarterly forecast, click here.
Senator Merkley talks federal legislation with WEA
   Earlier this week WEA members and guests heard from U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley.
   Merkley talked about the issues he's engaged in.
   This includes the infrastructure plan, civil rights, voter access, immigration, climate change, wildfire prevention, housing, water infrastructure, strengthening of the semiconductor industry, and more.
   The Senator took several audience questions, including how the atmosphere has changed in Washington, D.C. since the change in administrations.
   He said there is a philosophy of wanting to work together.
   To see the recording of this Virtual Forum, turn to WEA's YouTube channel.
Transportation Committee talks about bridging the states
   WEA's Transportation Committee met with the Interstate Bridge Replacement Program's Greg Johnson.    Johnson moved from Michigan to lead this project.
   He said it's a bridge that is well known in the DOT world, and one that leaves you wondering why people wouldn't want to replace a 100 year old bridge that is the only stop light along the whole interstate system between Mexico and Canada.
   His team is considering the needs of the community and how to construct something to service the area for another century or more.
   Like the current bridge, the project is still expected to be three lanes in each direction - Johnson said I-5 is three lanes on both sides of the bridge area, so there is no reason for it to have more lanes.
   Unlike the previous efforts to replace the spans across the Columbia River, this effort has engagement from both states, including a bistate legislative committee and $80 million in combined funding at this point.
   Johnson said his team will be advocating to fit this project into President Biden's plan to replace 10 significant bridges in the U.S.
   It checks a lot of boxes for meeting funding criteria, according to Johnson.
   The bridge will be a multimodal structure, serving two ports, and it has the international connection factor.
   At the same time, the project team is looking at the communities being served and making sure its equitable.
   There is a Freight Movement Listening Session coming up next Thursday (May 27).
   To see the slide deck from Johnson's presentation, click here.
Bubenik gives Tualatin "State of the City" address
   Tualatin Mayor Frank Bubenik gave his annual "State of the City" address virtually.
   Eric Schmidt moderated the program by helping to facilitate questions from the virtual audience.
   The Mayor spoke on a number of local issues, including affordable housing in Basalt Creek, Tualatin Moving Forward (the bond measure supporting transportation improvements in the city), possible urban renewal zones, the Tualatin Library's Makers Space, the desire to attract families and businesses to the city, and more.
   Bubenik said one thing that works well in Washington County is the regional mayors ability to collaborate and find common ground on issues.
   He said the one thing he looks forward to as we move out of this pandemic is being able to have dinner with friends and giving or getting hugs.
   To see the Mayor's address, click here.
Odds & Ends
  • Metro is taking a survey on a garbage and recycling facility in Clackamas County. Click here to learn more.

  • Clackamas County is taking a survey on expanding housing selections. To learn more, click here.

  • Washington County is hosting an open house on its Intelligent Transportation Systems. Click here to learn more.
Events coming up
Wed. 5/26 at 7:30 a.m. - The WEA Board of Directors will meet virtually.

Fri. 6/4 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 at The Reserve Vineyards & Golf Club. Please contact Teresa Dunham for more information on how to land a great sponsorship.

Wed. 6/9 at 7:30 a.m. - The Transportation Committee will meet virtually. All members are welcome. For more information, contact Pam Treece.

Th. 6/10 at 7:30 a.m. - the Government Relations Committee will meet. All members are welcome.

Wed. 6/16 at 12:00 p.m. - The Land Use & Housing Committee will meet virtually. All members are welcome. For more information, contact KC Reinhart.

Wed. 6/23 at 7:30 a.m. - the WEA Board of Directors will meet virtually.

Th. 6/24 at 7:30 a.m. - a Virtual Forum with the Westside Mayors. Registration information will be coming soon.