Medford OR – SOREDI co-hosted an invitation-only visit from the Port of Portland on August 23, 2016, to discuss the needs the State of Oregon has when faced with a global economy, future population growth and other realities. The discussion also covered several efforts underway to address Oregon’s transportation challenges as part of the Port of Portland’s Annual Tour. 25-30 local business leaders attended, including representatives from Senator Merkley’s office, Congressman Walden’s office, and Congressman Blumenauer’s office, representatives from the Medford Chamber, RCC Board, SOREDI Board of Directors, Public Utilities, Boise Cascade, Business Oregon, and John Anhorn, Medford mayoral candidate.
The name Port of Portland can be a bit misleading as it relates to Southern Oregon because it gives the impression that it only refers to the City of Portland. However, the Port of Portland also oversees Portland International Airport, general aviation and marine activities in the Portland metro area. Every region of Oregon benefits from the activities that fall under the jurisdiction of the Port of Portland. In addition to developing PDX into one of the top ranked airports in the nation, they partner with the rail system and are coming up with solutions to bottlenecking issues where freeways and rail lines compete. The Port of Portland provides the point of the entry to the north part of the state, the same way that the viaduct through Medford provides a point of entry to the southern region of the state. Because of their broad experience, in providing air travel, they are able to offer assistance throughout the state. For instance, they were instrumental in restoring TSA service to Klamath Falls this autumn. Colleen Padilla, Executive Director of SOREDI, said, “Really, the Port of Portland is the Port of Oregon.”
One critical function performed by the Port of Portland is dredging the channel that leads out to sea. The sea port is mainly used for exports and it is critical to the entire state that goods are able to get out to global markets efficiently. A fully loaded cargo ship often leaves the port with only one foot of clearance. If the channel is not routinely dredged properly, cargo ships have to leave freight behind in order to make it out to sea.
The Port of Portland also makes investments in challenging properties to preserve them for future industrial development. For example, the Troutdale Industrial Park, was a tract of land needing to be cleaned up and developed before it could be put to use. The Port of Portland was able to work through the multi-year process and today, that location is a bustling FedEx hub. The Port of Portland has developed an internal system that allows them to focus on acquiring lands to preserve them for future industrial developments. Interestingly for Southern Oregon, the Port of Portland expressed a potential willingness to consider partnering with other regions to preserve industrial lands for future development.
About SOREDI: SOREDI is a private, membership-based, non-profit organization, governed by a board of directors. Its six-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://soredi.org.
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