May 22, 2020
News & Notes
Budget forecast shows Oregon is facing a $2.7 billion gap
   Oregon's team of economists presented their quarterly economic and revenue forecast this week.
   Economists Josh Lehner and Mark McMullen said, while economists try to predict the twists and turns of business cycles, it became apparent with COVID-19 Oregon had entered a recession.
   Lehner said he and his colleagues at the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis expect the recovery to take years.
   "The sudden stop in economic activity has led to the largest downward revision to the quarterly forecast that our office has ever had to make. In the baseline (most likely) scenario, General Fund and other major revenues have been reduced relative to the March forecast by $2.7 billion in the current biennium and $4.4 billion in the 2021-23 budget period," Lehner said in his blog.
   Unlike other downturns, Oregon does have money in its Rainy Day and Education Stabilization funds - about $1.6 billion at last check.
   To read more, see Lehner's blog .
   On a side note, WEA has secured Lehner to talk with its members and guests on Thursday, June 11.
   More details to come soon.
Washington County applies to enter phase 1 reopening stage
  Come June 1, Washington County could start Phase 1 of the reopening process.
   The county announced today that it has applied to enter Phase I, which allows for limited reopening of restaurants, bars, personal services, gyms, and malls.
   As long as physical distancing requirements are met, gatherings of up to 25 people would be allowed for recreational, social, cultural, civic, or faith events.
   “As we await the state’s decision about our application, we need everyone in our community to understand that our success under Phase 1 reopening will be of our own making,” said Board of Commissioners Chair Kathryn Harrington. “Each of us will need to be responsible for following the public health guidelines necessary to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. We all need to do our part so our community moves safely into our less restricted future, not backward into our more restricted past.”
   To read more visit, Washington County's website .
May Primary brings a lot of results
    More than 46 percent of Oregon's voters turned in ballots this week for the May Primary.
   WEA had endorsed three levies, and voters approved all three - the Tigard Police Services Levy, Washington County Public Safety Levy, and Washington County Cooperative Library Services' Levy Renewal.
   Metro's homeless services measure also passed.
   The organization does not endorse candidates, but followed several races closely.
   As of this morning's count, it looks like Shemia Fagan and Kim Thatcher will be vying for votes come November to be the next Secretary of State.
   In the Democratic primary for Secretary of State, Fagan is leading Mark Hass by more than 3,200 votes .
   Going into November, Democrat Kate Lieber will face Republican Harmony Mulkey to be the State Senator for Oregon's District 14.
   Voters re-elected State Senator Ginny Burdick in District 18.
   In State House races, Courtney Neron (D) will face Peggy Stevens (R) for District 26; Wlnsvey Campos (D) will face Daniel Martin (R) for District 28; Maxine Dexter (D) will face Dick Courter (R) for District 33; Dacia Grayber (D) will face Bob Niemeyer (R) for District 35; and Rachel Prusak (D) will face Kelly Sloop (R) for District 37.
   Metro Council District 3 will be a contest between Tom Anderson and Gerritt Rosenthal.
   For Washington County, Sheriff Pat Garrett has been re-elected.
   In the Washington County Commissioner races, Nafisa Fai and Jeff Hindley will compete for District 1, and Commissioner Roy Rogers has been re-elected for District 3.
   For Clackamas County, Tootie Smith will become the new County Chair come January.
   Commissioners Martha Schrader and Ken Humbertson both won re-election for their Clackamas County seats.
   For the Beaverton Mayoral position, Denny Doyle and Lacey Beaty will be in a runoff vote for November.
   Beaverton voters also passed a new city charter, which will change the operation management duties from the Mayor to a future city manager.
   In Wilsonville, voters passed term limits for their city council.
   To see more results, visit the Secretary of State's website .
Land Use & Housing Committee receives an update on affordable housing bond
   The Land Use & Housing Committee met virtually with Washington County Director of Housing Services Komi Kalevor this week to hear an update on the Metro Affordable Housing Bond.
   Kalevor shared information about Washington County's share of the bond thus far and talked about the finishing of a first phase project in the Tigard Triangle, which will provide 80 affordable apartments.
   He said the county (outside of Beaverton and Hillsboro, which receive separate funds) is seeing more than $116 million in resources for a total target of 814 housing units.
   The bond is providing Beaverton with a target of 218 housing units and more than $31 million .
   Hillsboro's share of the bond is more than $40 million with a target of 284 units.
   Kalevor did say the county is looking to have new projects geographically dispersed.
   To see Kalevor's presentation, click here .
TriMet to receive $185 million from federal government
   Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced yesterday the Federal Transit Administration will be providing TriMet with $185 million from the CARES Act.
   This funding is to help the mass transit agency with coronavirus response and operations.
   "TriMet workers have performed heroically during this pandemic to keep public transit moving for Oregonians who need a reliable option to get around the metro area,” Wyden said. “I’m glad TriMet has earned these federal funds to support this essential work getting transit riders to their places of work, local stores and medical providers. And I’ll continue battling for mass transit in Oregon to get all the help required to get through coronavirus and its economic fallout.”
   TriMet General Manager Doug Kelsey said he is grateful to Oregon's congressional delegation and other leaders.
   The money will be used to aid the mass transit agency during this pandemic by covering drivers' salaries, administrative leave to accommodate service reductions and quarantined workers, fuel, sanitation supplies, and personal protective equipment costs.
Odds & Ends
  • Last week WEA received the sad news that State Representative Mitch Greenlick had passed away. WEA wants to extend its condolences to all who knew and loved Representative Greenlick. He attended a number of the organization's legislative receptions and will be missed. To read more, see Pamplin Media.

  • WEA is also saddened to hear the news of the closing of the World of Speed, which has been a member. Our Board of Directors was fortunate to tour the museum last August. It has been a unique gem in our region.

  • Are you looking to get rid of some old laptops, tablets, and/or cell phone & want to be helpful at the same time? Join the business community in helping to close the digital divide by donating it to TechNOW. This is an effort to put technology tools in the hands of Oregon students who need it to thrive during this time of distance learning. Click here to learn dates & times - one donation date is coming up Thursday at Washington Square.

  • WEA member Hub International has been hosting webinars to talk about risk management, business resiliency, and employee relations during this time. To see the list of videos available, click here.

  • NW Natural is issuing $17 million in credits on June bills. The average Oregon residential customer will see a credit of about $16.88 (30 percent savings), while the average small commercial customer will receive a credit of approximately $77. To read more, click here.

  • Finally, we know you're probably eager to get out, but please do so safely on this Memorial Day weekend. We leave you with the sights of some Oregon Zoo friends who were able to kick up their heels recently, do some business, & meet some new friends. See the link below.
Events coming up
Wed. 5/27 CANCELED the WEA Board of Directors meeting

Th. 5/28 "Talking virtually with the Westside mayors" - an online Breakfast Forum at 7:30 a.m. sponsored by Comcast. To register

Fri. 6/5 at 12:00 p.m. the Golf Committee will meet virtually. For more information, contact Teresa Dunham.

Wed. 6/10 at 7:30 a.m. the Transportation Committee will meet virtually. For more information, contact Pam Treece.

Th. 6/11 at 8:00 a.m. an online Breakfast Forum with Economist Josh Lehner. Registration details to come soon.

Wed. 6/17 at 12:00 p.m. the Land Use & Housing Committee will meet virtually.

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