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Adams says economic strategy working

Mayor prepared to claim city efforts creating jobs throughout county


Mayor Sam Adams is preparing to tell the City Council that the city’s economic development strategy is working.

A report that Adams is scheduled to present to the council on Wednesday says that 15,000 new jobs have been created in Multnomah County since the strategy was adopted in 2009 — 50 percent more than the original goal of creating 10,000 new jobs by 2014.

The three-year status report also says the unemployment rate in Portland has dropped to 7.5 percent, which is below state and national averages.

“This report shows the significant achievements that have been made to retain and create living-wage jobs and competitively position Portland in the new global economy,” Adams says in a prepared statement accompanying the report.

The report does not credit the strategy with creating all of the jobs. Instead, the report says the Portland Development Commission, which administers the strategy, has only created 2,750 jobs and retained 1,500 others.

But the report credits the strategy with helping create momentum in the region that is improving the economy.

“With the adoption of the strategy, Portland cultivated new partnerships and proactive approaches to promote business and employment growth,” the report says.

The strategy targets a set of industry clusters in Portland for economic assistance. The clusters were chosen because studies showed they had the greatest capacity for growth. They include: clean technologies; athletic and outdoor apparel; software; and advanced manufacturing. The city has also embraced effort to increase exports and encourage neighborhood business growth.

The report says the city has spent almost $75 million to support the economic development strategy over the past three years, attracting more than 747 million in additional private investment.

Despite the successes claimed in the report, it also acknowledges ongoing challenges. They include the 30,000 Portlanders who are still out of work, resulting in the 7.5 unemployment rate that the report calls “stubbornly high.”

The report can be read at www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?c=50265&a=412035