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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Pipedream of the Week

Here's an interesting story: The underachievers at the Portland Development Commission say they're setting out to double exports from Portland over the next five years. It would be wonderful if that happened, but exports of what? Are the farmers in the region going to double the wheat and other crops that they sell overseas? Are we going to cut twice as much timber? Maybe it will be coal from Montana and Wyoming? Surely it isn't going to be solar panels -- we'll be lucky if our heavily subsidized "green" energy companies survive, much less increase their world market share.

What is Portland making these days that the rest of the world wants? And where is it going to make anything new, with its industrial zones being streetcar-ed, condo-ized, and Blumenauered out of existence?

About all Portland can export these days is bicycle and "sustainability" hype, none of which will ever support an actual economy. We say we want the world to consume our products, but City Hall spends millions on flacks, tweets, and mailers to send out the message that consumption is bad.

Double Portland exports? Sure, we'll drink to that, but we wouldn't bet on it actually happening. For one thing, it would require adult leadership, of which this area does not appear capable.

UPDATE, 9:19 a.m.: And of course, this guy mindlessly warms over the press release for the bureaucrats.

Comments (27)

This. Exactly. Thank you.

We can turn Ross Island into a gulag for the bourgeois pigs that fail to meet the Portland Politburo's five year export targets.

What is 'weirdness' selling for these days? Outside of Portland, that is.

What: didn't you know? Portland's infinite "creative class" will fill that niche with innovative Etsy offerings, feminist zines, urban farming blogs, and science fiction novels. Heck, considering the number of people in Portland who insist that working a volunteer position at a bookstore makes them players in the publishing business, I'm amazed that the city doesn't pay for everything just off the number of "slice of life" PublishAmerica novels set in Portland these days.

Wait a minute. The definition of "export" is kinda murky, so let's look at it another way. If the Portland Sustainability Council grunts out twice as many indulgent YouTube videos showing off bad haircuts, does this qualify?

Wouldn't doubling our exports increase our carbon footprint?

"He said TriQuint supports Portland's new strategy, but can't predict how much his company's sales will contribute toward the $21 billion goal."

"Hall said he also supports the new strategy, although he's not yet sure how it will work. "Any introductions are great," he said."

Yeah, double exports. That'd be great. But I have little confidence the PDC's gonna be of much help. Sounds like these guys are thinking the same thing.

Smug. Portland is already one of the world's largest producers of Smug, and we can easily double our exports of Smug.

Heck, CoP translated the Portland Climate Action Plan into Chinese, since they know that a billion Chinese are just thirsting to learn from Portland's example. (Granted, it is a lot easier to implement the social controls outlined in the Portland Climate Action Plan when you have a brutal, one-party dictatorship.)

"But I have little confidence the PDC's gonna be of much help."

You're missing the whole point of this - this means that PDC honchos will be able to take a lot of expensive "marketing" trips to exotic foreign locations to support this goal of doubling Portland's exports. Just like the Governor and Mayor do!

Maybe they can invite Cylvia Hayes to come along - after all, she is a veteran of the Governor's last "export promotion" trip.

Maybe we'll export more hops.

I proclaim we sell $2 Billion worth of Portland Loos and make them completely out of locally recycled material. Jobs for everyone and budget crisis solved.

Most of the existing export firms mentioned are in Hillsboro, which is much more pro-business in Portland. If the City of Portland was running the show, those firms would likely not be here.

We certainly have more than enough of the Street Punks to export. Doubt we'll ever run out of them...They are a protected species in Portlandia.
It would be interesting to see how they would do in...China?

"Manufacturer and Supplier of Fine Smuggery Known the World Over"

Are we sure that Andy Giegerich isn't just Sam Adams without the wig? I mean, you never see either of them in the same place, and they have the same goofy Cory Doctorow birth control glasses, beady eyes, and dorky sneer of cold command, so it's not completely implausible. If they aren't the same person, is it plausible that both were beaten up every day in high school by the anime club, so they feel they have solidarity?

If they're talking about exporting jobs they could make it happen.

Oh, please, can we export the Occupiers???

Obviously it's the booming LOO industry.

At a lecture last night, a Will Valley wheat farmer explained that half the PNW wheat crop goes to Japan and Korea and they won't accept any GMO contamination. Of course, biotech companies are frothing at the mouth to get them to switch, but that is an enormous market we would lose if just one farmer screwed up and let that crap loose. The PDC needs to realize that their work is done. We just can't justify any more URZ in this state right now. There was a time when it made sense in theory (actual blight + temporary program) but the last two economic booms wiped out most of the blight, and the PDC has proven it can't let go of the money like it is supposed to.

I thought that Portland was becoming a world center for green economy services such as energy trading. How's the carbon cap-and-trade market doing these days anyways? Excellent, or Really Excellent?

That might explain a lot about why the Iberdrolas of the world don't have a high opinion of their own prospects... in the city that brought you the Enron trading desk...

Freightliner used to export trucks from Portland. Now they're all made in Mexico or North Carolina and rarely shipped out of the Gulf or East Coast. Dr. No and Mayor Katz helped send those jobs packing.

Precision Castparts abandoned Portland for cheaper water and taxes in Milwaukie: they had the good fortune of straddling the border between the two cities. That's what a difference the price of water can make.

Other large manufacturers/exporters have left Oregon for more accomadating locales with better schools, logistics, and/or proximity to wholesalers.

The Creative Class doesn't export much product. Not through the ports anyway. Many of them would rather live/work in a state with no income tax.

Daimler Trucks NA, formerly Freightliner, does still manufacture a limited number of vehicles at the original Portland assembly plant on Swan Island. If you work in the vicinity you can periodically see them being towed up N Going towards I-5. But insiders tell me that most manufacturing was indeed shifted to NC some years ago and some, more recently to locations in Mexico.

"Double Portland exports?"

What the heck does PDC know about economics or business? About the only things they know about exporting are PowerPoints and Sam to overseas conferences.

Another chunk of money from the honeypot that is PDC down the drain. Besides the list of manufacturing people they dorve out is probably longer than the list they can bring in.

Of course, they can always claim what Hillsboro/Bvtn do as theirs, so it'll be a winner.

I DECREE my income will double by the end of 2012. JOIN MEEEEE and you too will prosper. The plastic credit card embosser in the basement is waiting for complicity. Sorry I can't print fake paper money, only credit.

Does it count as an export when we ship slop to North Plains?

If a business leaves Portland is that considered an export?

Maybe they are talking about doubling the rate at which businesses are leaving....

Joking aside, Portland does export stuff. Here are products from Oregon companies I saw sold in an Australian mall I worked at in 2011:

Keen sandals
Nike clothing
Columbia Sportswear clothing
Leatherman tools
Bob's Red Mill cereals
DaKine backpacks

I also saw FLIR devices on special police vehicles.

Then again, "Portlandia" is also well-known among Sydney hipsters...


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