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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 19, 2011 10:47 AM. The previous post in this blog was Wall Street ripoffs continue. The next post in this blog is Condo bunkers vs. cockatoos. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Brady's economic plan: Would you believe sewing?

It actually sounds kind of intriguing:

As Mayor, I will work directly with PDC to develop financing for a rapid expansion of local, shared manufacturing centers. I envision a shared metals manufacturing center, a strong sewing center for our now thriving local fashion industry and more community processing kitchens for our budding food entrepreneurs. These centers will help small businesses, which are ready to grow, expand their manufacturing at lower costs.

Her whole speech is here.

Comments (22)

Because the businesses in private sector are just too stupid to do those things themselves, the forward-thinking City of Portland will frogmarch our businesses toward prosperity.

At least she recognizes manufacturing as an important contributor to our local economy. It's not a very green or sexy industry that appeals to underemployed "creative class" folks, but it is a source of the shrinking number of decent-paying blue-collar jobs in this city.

I do agree, though, that she seems to have swallowed some of the government-knows-best Kool-Aid. But mouthing progressive, pro-government bromides seems to be the only way businesspeople can get anything done around here.

Hmmm. I've seen this business plan before. (Seriously, Eric's right. Portland's strength won't be in its endless ability to produce groovy retail venues. Its strength will be in supplying those venues, as well as any real ones selling real products that might actually sell.)

missed it by that || much....

Yes...I think Eric's right, too.

Recognizing that manufacturing is a means to an end is a major step for a nascent political is a huge step.

I like the idea of metals, but they tend to be hindered by a fair amount of 'environmental constraints'....I'm not sure that having local government being tempted to dispose of environmental controls just to 'stimulate the local economy' is a good idea.

I tend to think that local government should stay the hell out of commodity markets and stick to providing public health and security measures, overseeing the provision of utility services, and assuring the proper mix of urban amenities like parks and roads.

If you want good jobs in your city, then you need city government to get involved. Sadly, that's the way the game is played now, and every other city is plying business with tax credits and incentives to set up shop in their city. I think Brady will bring a welcomed change of attitude/insight to portland goverment.

We have a thriving fashion industry? Really? What, in reselling 2nd hand clothing?

Actually, yeah, there are a lot of designers here that would stay here if there was a way for them to manufacture their clothing lines, have finance industry folks that get what that sector of the market is like, etc:
http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2011/10/fashion_forward_or_behind.html

Do we need government to make this happen? I am not sure, but it might not hurt for govt. to create a climate to make it possible.

And I do generally believe that trying to bring back/create more manufacturing jobs here is not a bad idea.

It is too bad that she didn't stick to the four points mentioned in the opening paragraph of her speech. She bypassed the "transforming public safety" - police department? And she ignores the opportunity how she would improve Portland Public Schools.

Hopefully too Portlanders will recognize that "PDC" means urban renewal and its tax increment financing.

Who is the mayor will change, but it seems as though the same developers can be assured that they can still feed at their welfare trough.

She also, like many, seems to confuse the city of Portland with metro Portland.

And her attempted link to Steve Jobs and Bill Gates is just too much.

Her saving grace - she will be better than Sam Adams. But then who wouldn't be?

A Perspective

I read trough her speech and the only thing that comes to mind was more city government to implement her programs.

Well, here's a novel idea; how about less costly and smaller city (and county) government.

And what's this obsession that the city council has had with Portland Public Schools. Isn't there already an elected body that handles that branch of government?

Sew how much does a clothes grunt make? Will it be a livable wage?

Sure we have a blossoming fashion industry.

It's just that none of the players - Nike and Adidas come to mind - have a shred of interest in establishing manufacturing right here in Portland. And no amount of government "shared manufacturing facilities" is going to change that nor is necessary - those two companies have enough dough in the bank that they COULD open up their own factory right now in Rivergate or Gresham or Milwaukie or Hillsboro or Wilsonville...in fact Nike even had, until a few years ago, a very large warehouse facility in Wilsonville (they moved it to Memphis to be closer to FedEx's hub) that could easily have been turned into manufacturing space.

We have Gunderson - where's the interest in railcar building, when Gunderson is quickly moving its work to Mexico and Nova Scotia? We have Freightliner, which has moved much of its work to North Carolina and Mexico. Why not start there, since they both still have facilities here in Portland that can be ramped up and expanded? Even with the whole streetcar/rail/transit - Gunderson could build passenger cars, while Freightliner can build buses.

And let's not forget that Vestas turned Oregon down...it put its manufacturing facility in Texas.

Let's not confuse the promise of jobs in the glamorous sounding "fashion" industry with ones in the textiles manufacturing industry.

And Jantzen used to employ hundreds of people making clothes over off of NE Sandy. Whatever happened to them?

With Brady everything sounds like she's stocking the shelves at New Seasons with the latest whiz-bang food.

Then again, it could be Hales and streetcar collectives.

And what's this obsession that the city council has had with Portland Public Schools. Isn't there already an elected body that handles that branch of government?

There is indeed. PPS has its own elections and taxing and bonding authority, even. There's very little influence the Mayor and City Council can have on PPS unless the Council were to do an LA- or NYC-style takeover of the Portland Board of Education, which is very unlikely to happen short of a full-scale parent and taxpayer rebellion (although PPS is going to make some enemies in the influential Alameda neighborhood soon with an upcoming boundary change, so maybe such a rebellion isn't completely out of the question).

But many Portland voters don't realize (or care) that the city and the schools are two separate, independent bureaucracies. So the Mayor and City Council grandstand about the schools to win points with bleeding-heart voters who can always be counted on supporting anything "for the children," misleading the voters to believe they can actually do something to help the schools (they mostly can't). Remember Sam thundering about the abysmal PPS high-school graduation rate of 54%? Last I checked, it was still at 54%, and Sam is nowhere to be seen (although he did hire three attractive, young "education strategies coordinators" to research and tweet about it).

We need fresh perspective , and anyone that gets after the hideous SDC Charges has my vote ! ------ You go Girl !!!

how much does a clothes grunt make? Will it be a livable wage?

I don't know how well they pay, but Tom Bihn sews all of their products (backpacks, laptop bags, messenger bags, etc.) themselves at their facility near Boeing Field.

After further thought, this is pretty much Sam's targeted employers job (athletic wear, green energy and various creative jobs) which is a flop so far (unless you count sales of PowerPoint software.)

How about going upstream a little and just asking any/all employers what they need to come to Portland?

Instead we get "the build it and they will come" approach. Then they start justifying stuff like developer subsidies to rehab their buildings for Vestas, green energy give-aways for jobs that will never appear, SoWa condos, trams and streetcars which employers probably rank waaaaaaaaaaaay down on the list of importance (especially when compared to a well-educated workforce.)

Of course, Ms Brady (and most of Sam's staff) could just look at Hillsboro as model of what type of businesses to go get.

Portland Council candidates must not forget the not-so-long-ago PDC's Creative Building, the remodeled Kalberer Building that cost $13 Million taxpayer dollars. It was a failure, so to save face PDC moved their offices into the building.

Why do we have candidates insisting that government has to get in the creative business. If you are creative, you'll be creative, along with getting creative financing if you need it. Not all business plans need to be like those in the solar industry-on the taxpayer's dime.

Few seem to understand that there is a huge market for locally designed and made clothing. There is no need to get our clothes from China or Bangladesh.

Now, whether CoP can effectively nurture a "made-right-here-by-our-own-blood-and-guts talent" business climate, that is above my pay scale. What I do know is people want local threads. I personally know local designers who are custom creating things for clients, designers who have gained a reputation through word of mouth alone and are making it, just, and could probably use some sort of hand-up.

And supporting the food cart economy as a concept is very noble also (in theory).

this is pretty much Sam's targeted employers job (athletic wear, green energy and various creative jobs) which is a flop so far (unless you count sales of PowerPoint software.)

PowerPoint is a Microsoft product.

Microsoft has but a tiny Portland office (recently relocated from Lincoln Center in Tigard to the Pearl) but it's mostly a sales/marketing office. I think with the recent move they put a few software engineers there, but likely just a few folks fed up with living in Seattle but Microsoft didn't want to see them leave, so MS just paid up and let them work in Portland.


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