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Keep Nike, and its jobs, here

Typically, when the governor calls the Legislature to Salem for a special session, it’s because Oregon’s economy is in a free fall and urgent action is required to close the resulting budget gap.

So it’s refreshing, if nothing else, to see Gov. John Kitzhaber call a special session this month for an economically positive reason: a proposed expansion of one of Oregon’s largest employers.

Nike is considering an investment of at least $150 million during the next five years, with a minimum of 500 jobs being added at a company that already employs 8,000 in the state. However, with talk of tax reform surfacing in Salem, the Washington County company is asking for greater state tax certainty before committing to this expansion. We believe the Legislature should grant such certainty by passing a law that keeps current tax policy in place for Nike or any other company that commits now to the same level of investment.

Legislative action in a special session this month will help ensure Nike expands within this state, but it still leaves open the question of where in Oregon the expansion would occur. Washington County and Nike are negotiating on a property tax concession should Nike choose to expand near its current campus. We encourage Washington County commissioners also to come to a reasonable accommodation with Nike — a homegrown company that happens to be one of the few large corporations still headquartered in Oregon.

More than anything else, this state needs the good, high-paying jobs companies such as Nike supply. The income taxes paid by Nike’s existing and future employees will more than justify any tax sacrifices made in order to retain the company.



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