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Citizen's View: Together, 'we can achieve real success'

Clackamas County is on the road to economic prosperity. Together, we can ensure our county is prepared for a 21st century future, with strong communities, a trained workforce and modern infrastructure. We need experienced leadership that focuses on strategic investment to bridge the infrastructure gap in order to bring good jobs and economic prosperity to our county.

Performance Clackamas, our county’s strategic plan, outlines the near- and long-term priorities that will move Clackamas County in the right direction. By setting goals with measurable results, we can achieve real success.

For example, our county has added back 68 percent of the jobs lost in the Great Recession of 2008. We must add an additional 5,800 jobs to restore our pre-recession employment numbers. How do we work together and make this happen? How do we add an additional 10,000 family wage jobs by 2019, one of the goals outlined in Performance Clackamas?

As your commissioner, I have worked with our County Economic Development Commission and Clackamas Workforce Partners to connect people to real family-wage jobs. I have implemented the following six policy changes to create a thriving Clackamas County economy:

-- Increased business investment in our county. We have a strong, diverse economy consisting of advanced manufacturing, digital media production, health care, agriculture, food production and processing, professional services and wood product manufacturing.

-- Created a business-friendly environment that encourages businesses to grow in our county.

-- Worked with city governments to maintain plenty of non-retail industrial land in our urban growth boundaries.

-- Maintained and expanded our transportation, sewer and water infrastructure. By preparing for future business opportunities, the county has directly supported our economy. With strong infrastructure, we will attract diverse businesses.

-- We have a vibrant Clackamas County Export Initiative that connects small- and medium-size businesses to expertise that helps them grow their companies by exporting their products to new global markets. Our county has a strong history built on trade and we are positioned to continue that tradition.

-- Strengthened partnerships with our workforce council, high schools, community colleges and universities to educate a world-class workforce prepared to enter the high-tech jobs market of the future. Our people are our greatest resource.

Let’s work together to prepare Clackamas County’s economy for the 21st century. By supporting experienced leadership, you’re contributing to a future with stronger communities. Let’s keep working together to make Clackamas County a model for the nation.

Martha Schrader is a member of the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners. She also serves as chair of the Economic Development Subcommittee of the National Association of Counties and as co-chair of the Association of Oregon Counties’ Community and Economic Development Committee.