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Westside Economic Alliance hires new director


Pam Treece will lead business advocacy group serving Washington, western Clackamas counties

The influential Westside Economic Alliance has hired a new executive director. She is Pam Treece, an economic-development consultant with experience in both the private and public sectors.

"The Westside Economic Alliance represent the economic engine of the state. We must protect what we have and grow it for the future,” Treece said.

The WEA is a business-advocacy group with both public and private sector members in Washington and western Clackamas counties. It works to improve the local business climate, enhance livability, and promote economic development opportunities on the west side of the Portland metropolitan region.

Anchored by Intel and a number of other high-tech companies, Washington County's population grew 1.2 percent in 2012, faster than either Multnomah County at .09 percent or Clackamas County at .08 percent.

Such growth is creating both economic opportunities and challenges. Unemployment is lower in Washington County than the rest of the region. But a new white paper on the Westside’s transportation infrastructure predicts congestion will increase without additional road projects, which are controversial.

Treece says she expects the alliance will take up land use, transportation and regional cooperation issues in the coming year. They include future expansions of the Urban Growth Boundary that determines where new development can occur, freight mobility problems that affect employers, and areas where the WEA can work cooperatively with other economic development organizations in the region.

“After everything we’ve been through with the economy in recent years, we need to build a spirit of collaboration, not just on the west side but throughout the entire region,” Treece says.

Treece has been active in regional economic-development activities for many years. Most recently, she served as a consultant to Greater Portland Inc., a public-private economic-development organization. Before that, she was the director of the Association of Regional Partners, an association of public officials working on economic-development issues in the metropolitan area. And before that, Treece served as vice president of Oregon External Affairs for PacifiCorp.

"Pam is well versed in the region's economic needs and she is respected by business and government leaders across the region," said Norm Eder, the alliance's president, "Pam's deep experience and commitment to a healthy regional economy will make the WEA an even stronger and more effective voice for the Westside."

Metro Council President Tom Hughes also praised the choice, saying, "I have worked with Pam at Regional Partners and Greater Portland Inc. She will bring knowledge, energy, and a strong collaborative spirit to the organization. I look forward to working with her on issues that face our region."

Treece, a native Oregonian, received her undergraduate degree from Portland State University and her master's degree from Lewis & Clark College.

The WEA was created in 1998 through the merger of two economic development-related organizations, the Sunset Corridor Association and the Tualatin Valley Development Corporation.

Treece replaces Jonathan Schlueter, who was hired several months ago as Washington County’s government-relations manager. He had worked at the alliance since 2004.