Medford OR – In response to the failure of Measure 97, Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development, Inc. (SOREDI) breathes a sigh of relief. With a mission to help business Launch, Relocate and Prosper, one of those missions almost became more difficult.
SOREDI has been vocal in its position against the passage of Measure 97. During the campaign season, SOREDI interviewed many local businesses and national site selection professionals to find out how they would be affected. Local businesses responded with concerns about the potential of having to pay more to suppliers and utility providers, which could affect the prices they would have to charge consumers. The ultimate outcome of this equation created a lot of uncertainty, even for businesses that would not be subjected to the tax directly.
National site selectors told a decisively different story. Site selectors are professionals who consult with large businesses and assist them in relocation or expansion efforts by investigating potential locations throughout the country. Different states and counties offer a variety of incentives to draw these companies in to create employment opportunities and add to the tax base. When confronted with the possibility of Measure 97 passing in Oregon, site selection professionals told SOREDI, “We are halting every client project that is considering Oregon until we see how this turns out. If Measure 97 passes, Oregon will go to the bottom of the list for consideration. This changes the equation for us.”
“The passage of Measure 97 would have made the “Relocate” piece of mission much more challenging.” Padilla continues, “SOREDI is thrilled with this outcome. We could not be more pleased that voters were able to see through this poorly-written measure with a “No” vote and thereby protect the businesses we work hard to help prosper here in Oregon, the very companies that create good paying jobs. We are eager to see real, balanced solutions come from our Legislators addressing the State’s budget constraints. In the meantime, SOREDI will continue its work to promote Southern Oregon as a great place to do business while working diligently to make our region the best business climate on the west coast.”
SOREDI’s leadership agrees. Aaron Ausland, SOREDI’s current Board President commented, “During the campaign we found many businesses considering a move here froze their decision making process or wrote-off Oregon altogether. Now that this is behind us, we are optimistic those businesses will reconsider Oregon.”
Steve Vincent, the Vice-President of the SOREDI Board concurs, “The failed passage of Measure 97 leaves many of us in the economic development community with a sense of relief. We are very aware that national and international companies looking to locate new productions facilities in the western U.S. have put a hold on Oregon as a viable location. With this uncertainty behind us, we anticipate renewed interest doing business in our great state with job openings to follow.
While launching new entrepreneurs and helping established businesses prosper are still mission-critical activities for SOREDI, Padilla looks forward to circling back with those site selectors to make sure they are aware that Measure 97 is off the table. “I am excited to be able to report that Measure 97 is no longer looming over our shoulder. It gives me the opportunity to contact our site selection contacts and remind them to revisit all of the projects they were delaying or reconsidering. I relish the idea of informing them that Southern Oregon is back on the map!”
About SOREDI: SOREDI is a private, membership-based, non-profit organization, governed by a board of directors. Its seven-person staff is charged with local business expansion and new business recruitment efforts, financial assistance to start-up companies through its business loan fund, and management of Enterprise Zones in Jackson and Josephine Counties. The agency was formed as a regional economic development agency in 1987. Learn more at https://www.soredi.org.