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Agency woos business, creates thousands of jobs

Why does the state of Oregon need to be in the business of economic development?

The economic picture in Oregon is bleak. Our entire state is experiencing the full force of this national and global recession. Unemployment is high, and confidence is low. Oregon needs a focal point to develop and implement our recovery strategy.

Our governor and the Legislature must be applauded for making economic development a core focus for the state. In order to carry out their directive, Oregon needs a robust Economic and Community Development Department.

OECDD serves the state by marketing Oregon's assets, investing in our infrastructure, advocating for a business climate that makes Oregon globally competitive, and taking other steps to create quality, sustainable jobs for Oregonians.

OECDD's dedicated, professional staff works closely with companies interested in expanding existing Oregon operations or those looking to relocate in Oregon. OECDD works to clarify their needs, identify potential locations, coordinate efforts of interested local communities, and act as a clearinghouse for information for both the local communities and the companies.

Another vital role the agency plays is in retaining companies that are thinking about leaving Oregon. An example is Freightliner LLC. If OECDD had not stepped in to help them overcome significant hurdles, Freightliner would have moved quality Oregon jobs to Canada.

In all, OECDD program work has created or retained 11,378 jobs in Oregon since July 2001 Ñ this during one of the worst economic times our state has faced. OECDD is an integral part of the Oregon recovery, it serves a vital role in improving Oregon's economic health and we need OECDD more than ever.

Jack Isselmann was appointed chairman of Oregon's Economic and Community Development Department in January. He also is the legal counsel for Electro Scientific Industries. He attended the University of Southern California and earned his law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law.