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From Site Selection magazine, January 2018

Growth Plan to Benefit ‘All Corners of the State’

Swire Shipping plans to begin container shipping service at the Port of Portland’s Terminal 6. Gov. Kate Brown’s office says the new service is “pivotal to Oregon’s economic competitiveness and the growth of Oregon businesses.”
Photo courtesy of the Governor’s office


Considering a Northwest location? If so, you may benefit from one or more of Business Oregon’s priorities for the next several years. They are outlined in the state agency’s new, five-year strategic plan, Prosperity for All Oregonians: Business Oregon Strategic Plan, 2018 – 2022.

“While Oregon’s economy has one of the best growth rates in the nation, low unemployment levels and record export growth, I’m focused on ensuring economic growth reaches all corners of the state, particularly in our rural communities,” said Gov. Kate Brown on December 4th as the strategic plan was introduced. Following are excerpts pertaining to the plan’s five priorities, each of which includes action recommendations (the plan is accessible at

Innovate Oregon’s Economy. Oregon must prioritize investment in research and development, technology commercialization, new product development and entrepreneurship in urban and rural communities and with full participation by underrepresented populations. Investment priorities will determine whether we are positioning Oregon to lead on innovation, or if we will merely react to future outcomes.

Grow Small and Middle-Market Companies. Over the last decade, 64 percent of job creation was attributed to small- and middle-market firms (vs. 55 percent nationally). In order for [them] to grow, they much have the resources to innovate, use technology to be productive, and have access to consumer markets across the US and the world.

Cultivate Rural Economic Stability. Inequities caused by geography and declining natural resource-based industries have undercut long-term economic growth. This reality requires Business Oregon and partners to adopt a regionally focused approach tailored to meet the unique opportunities and challenges of the state’s diverse rural communities. A one-size-fits-all approach will not suffice; no single, overarching solution exists.

Advance Economic Opportunity for Underrepresented People. Attracting, retaining and developing a skilled workforce is the primary driver of business competitiveness. Increased ethnic and racial diversity is a competitive advantage, but Oregon must address educational and workforce development disparities to have a competitive labor pool.

Ensure an Inclusive, Transparent and Fiscally Healthy Organization. Recent audits, ongoing stakeholder feedback and insights from our strategic planning process indicate an opportunity to improve the transparency of our investments and the need to better market the agency’s programs and services to our customers.

“This plan is targeted and outcome-focused,” noted Business Oregon Director Chris Harder. “Our strategic plan will inform our initiatives, work plans, program implementation and budget decisions. And we know outcomes of our work will not be achieved alone — our partnerships throughout the state will determine our shared success.”

Mark Arend
Editor Emeritus of Site Selection magazine

Mark Arend

Mark Arend is editor emeritus of Site Selection, and previously served as editor in chief from 2001 to 2023. Prior to joining the editorial staff in 1997, he worked for 10 years in New York City at Wall Street Computer Review, ABA Banking Journal and Global Investment Technology. Mark graduated from the University of Hartford (Conn.) in 1985 and lives near Atlanta, Georgia.


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