Pam Treece uses her business experience to boost regional group

The influential Westside Economic Alliance has hired a new executive director.

Pamela Treece, an economic development consultant with experience in both the private and public sectors, replaces Johnathan Schlueter, who was hired several months ago as Washington County’s government relations manager. He had worked at the alliance since 2004.

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

The alliance 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 westside of the Portland region.

Anchored by Intel and a number of other high-tech companies, Washington County is the region’s — and the state’s — economic driver. Its population grew 1.2 percent in 2012, faster than either Multnomah County at 0.09 percent or Clackamas County at 0.08 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 Westside Economic 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 alliance 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 westside 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 Portland area.

Prior to 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 of Treece to run the economic group.

“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,” says Hughes, former mayor of Hillsboro.

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

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

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