Monthly News and Updates

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

The Westside Economic Alliance is proud to have a broad and diverse group of members who care deeply about the future of our communities. The strength of our membership is demonstrated through how we support each other as we work to bolster the economy across the Westside and ensure critical services are protected. This characteristic was on display again at the recent Government Relations Committee meeting, at which, the committee recommended the following to the WEA Board of Directors, which they approved:

Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue's May Local Option Levy


WEA supports TVF&R’s May Local Option Levy to protect emergency management staffing and service levels.


TriMet focused SB 1553


WEA supports SB 1553 to help TriMet restore a safe and welcoming environment on public transit.


Portland Community College (PCC): 


WEA supports Portland Community College in its effort to pass HB 4154 to bolster our growing semiconductor workforce through education and training.


Clean Water Services (CWS:) 


WEA supports the work of Clean Water Services at both the State and Federal levels to identify and find resources for water infrastructure at planned and future development sites, fund low-income assistance programs, and the replacement of the Hagg Lake Dam.


Tigard Public Safety Levy


WEA supports the City of Tigard's Public Safety Levy to retain current staff levels for the community.

Please let the WEA Team know about your important initiatives. Reach out to Dani at [email protected]

Guest Contributor

Tom Rinehart

Rinehart Strategies

WEA Policy Conference - Register Today

We know one thing to be true: we all want safe, healthy communities where we live, work and recreate. Why is it, then, that when it comes to policy making we parse housing, employment and community into three distinct siloes?

In order for our region to realize a vibrant economy that provides a path to the middle class and climate security, we have to lean into the hard conversations. That means more nuanced policy conversations that bring together the public, private and non-profit sectors to work together toward solution.

At this year’s WEA Policy Conference we aim to do just that.

Some of the questions we will be asking include:

  • What does it look like to use manufacturing as a tool to center equity and build the middle class, all while taking care of the environment?
  • How do we help local jurisdictions grow revenue streams so they can build infrastructure needed for developer investment?
  • How do we plan for regional growth that prioritizes manufacturing adjacent business opportunities to both bolster local economies and cut greenhouse gas emissions?

The Policy Conference Panels and Presenters

What Is Infrastructure & How Do We Pay For It?


Nina Carlson

NW Natural

Diane Taniguchi-Dennis

Clean Water Services

Marion Haynes


Brent Nielsen


Oregon's Transportation Investments


Tom Rinehart

Rinehart Strategies

Oregon Representative

Susan McLain

Metro Councilor

Juan Carlos Gonzalez

Rian Windsheimer

Oregon Department of Transportation

Financing Tools for Economic Development


Dan Dias

City of Hillsboro

Mayor Lacey Beaty

City of Beaverton

Monique Claiborne

Greater Portland Inc.

Register Today

Member News

U.S. Conference of Mayors and Comcast Announce Digital Equity Challenge

The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and Comcast Corporation announced a new $1.5 million grant awards program – Talent for Tomorrow: Digital Equity Challenge (The Challenge). This joint initiative will support the launch and expansion of local workforce programs designed to grow college and career readiness, close the digital skills gap, advance economic mobility, and lay the foundation for generational wealth in under-resourced communities. 


Internet connectivity and digital skills are central to every part of life and key to advancing economic mobility. The Challenge will award grants to 10 cities to help provide more people, especially those most often left out of the digital economy, with the resources and skills needed to participate in the workforce and access opportunity. 


“Now, more than ever, mayors are focused on improving digital access and training in cities to build a stronger, more diverse, more equitable and inclusive workforce in America,” said U.S. Conference of Mayors CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran. “The Talent for Tomorrow Challenge we are launching in partnership with Comcast reaffirms our joint commitment to economic opportunity and mobility. We must ensure that no one is left behind due to a lack of opportunity or access to the vital technology that drives the economy.”


“Collaboration across the public, philanthropic, corporate, and nonprofit sectors is essential to meet the challenges of achieving digital equity,” said Dalila Wilson-Scott, Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer of Comcast Corporation and President of the Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation. “In our ever-increasing digital economy, targeted development programs are key to closing the skills gap, spurring quality job placement and achieving the large-scale economic growth that builds generational wealth. Through this Challenge, we are proud to deepen our partnership with Mayors to help cities compete and thrive in today’s economy,”


Talent for Tomorrow: Digital Equity Challenge 


This joint initiative of the USCM and Comcast’s Project UP will support and expand digital training programs across the country. The Challenge will award a total of $1.5 million in digital equity grants to 10 cities through a competitive process. An independent panel of judges selected by USCM will review applications and select winners. Winning cities will be announced at USCM’s Annual Meeting in June 2024.


  • Three (3) large cities will each receive $250,000 grants
  • Three (3) medium-sized cities will each receive $150,000 grants
  • Four (4) small cities will each receive $75,000 grants 


Click here for more information about The Challenge grant program.

Applications are due by March 15 and the winners will be announced at the 2024 USCM Annual Meeting in Kansas City.

Overview of TVF&R’s proposed levy that will appear on the May 2024 Ballot


Background on TVF&R

Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue (TVF&R) provides fire suppression, emergency medical care, technical rescue, water rescue, hazardous material response, fire prevention, and risk reduction services to the cities of Beaverton, Durham, King City, Newberg, North Plains, Rivergrove, Sherwood, Tigard, Tualatin, West Linn, and Wilsonville, as well as unincorporated portions of Washington, Clackamas, Yamhill, and Multnomah counties. Over the past five years, there has been a 23% increase in emergency incidents in TVF&R’s service area.


What is the history behind this proposal?

TVF&R has had operating levies in place since 2000 to supplement its permanent tax rate which was frozen in 1997 due to Ballot Measure 50. Levies have primarily funded first responders. State law requires voter approval of levies, which are limited to a maximum duration of five years.


What does this measure call for?

This measure proposes a five-year operating levy with a rate of $0.69 per $1,000 of assessed value. If the levy passes, collections would begin in July 2025.


What would the levy rate pay for?

If the levy passes, TVF&R will retain 92 existing levy-funded firefighters and paramedics, hire 36 more, and add support personnel who train and equip first responders to provide reliable service amidst rising emergency incidents and wildfire risk. Proceeds will also be used to purchase specialized medical equipment such as cardiac monitors and defibrillators, critical firefighting tools, including thermal imagers that aid in search and rescue and self-contained breathing apparatus worn by firefighters in burning buildings, and vehicles used to fight wildfires, shuttle water, and transport patients.


How much will the levy cost?

For a property assessed at $305,000, about the average in TVF&R’s service area, the cost of the levy would be approximately $210 per year or $17.54 per month. The current levy at the same assessed value of $305,000, is approximately $137.25 per year or $11.43 per month. Assessed value is nearly always less than real market value.


What happens if the levy does not pass?

If the levy does not pass, reductions in staffing and operations will be required, which may impact response times and reliability.


Will property tax bills increase if this measure is approved?

Yes, this measure may cause property taxes to increase by more than three percent. TVF&R intends to maintain the same levy rate for 10 years.


If passed, when would this levy first be collected?

The levy will appear on the November 2025 property tax statement.


Relevance to WEA Members

Business and community leaders have a vested interest in public safety because reliable, professional, and effective emergency services contribute to the stability and livability of a community. 


Customer Service: Businesses with poor customer service don’t survive. TVF&R gets this. Our firefighters and staff demonstrate professionalism, performance, and compassion when helping people on their worst day.


The Right Tools for the Job: The levy will pay for essential equipment like medical kits, breathing equipment used by firefighters, and vehicles that support wildfire response.


Focus on the Bottom Line: TVF&R’s Triple-A rating by Moody’s is the best of any fire district in the nation and underscores a stewardship ethic for the use of your tax dollars.

Citizen Involvement Advisory Committee Recruitment & Information Session

The Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) is seeking a volunteer to serve as a member of the state’s Citizen Involvement Advisory Committee (CIAC). CIAC members are appointed by LCDC to provide advice and guidance on equitable community engagement in land use planning. 

The current CIAC recruitment is for one member representing Oregon's third Congressional District, which covers most of Multnomah County including Gresham, Troutdale, and most of Portland east of the Willamette River. It also includes the northeastern part of Clackamas County and all of Hood River County.

Applications are due by March 18, 2024 at 9:00 a.m.

Apply Now

If you are interested in learning more about the CIAC, or are considering applying, DLCD Staff and members of the CIAC are hosting a meeting to provide information for community members to learn more about CIAC and the work of the coming year.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 821 4306 3730

Passcode: 480495

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+1 253 215 8782 US

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