A bill championed by Oregon Outdoors, Oregon Outdoor Alliance (OOA) and Bend Outdoor Worx (BOW), HB 3251 passed out of committee with a unanimous vote and now continues on to the Joint Ways and Means committee. HB 3251 would direct the Business Oregon Development Department to provide matching funds to organizations that provide support for early‐stage outdoor product companies. The funds would come from the state’s industry competitiveness fund which is supported by lottery dollars.
HB 3251 has bipartisan, bicameral and statewide sponsorship and support. Led by Rep. Ken Helm D‐ Beaverton, the bill is also sponsored by Central Oregon legislators Sen. Tim Knopp R‐Bend, Rep. Cheri Helt R‐Bend and Rep. Jack Zika R‐Redmond. Rep. Helm said, “The outdoor gear and apparel industry has a long history of success in Oregon, but competition with other states is steadily increasing. Outdoor recreation is critical to both our state economy and our way of life as Oregonians, and HB 3251 will help ensure that Oregon remains a national leader with a vibrant outdoor industry.”
Rep. Helt also commented saying, “I am extremely pleased to see HB 3251 pass through the House Committee on Economic Development. The biggest reason I was chief Sponsor on this bill was because of how important the growing outdoor industry is to Bend’s economy and identity. I would like to thank Bend Outdoor Worx, Oregon Outdoor Alliance and the City of Bend for their inspiring work on this legislation.”
The bill has also garnered significant and strong backing from outdoor product companies across the entire state. “This Bill is about supporting the next generation of iconic outdoor brands and keeping Oregon in the forefront of the Industry,” said Gary Bracelin, founder of BOW, the first outdoor‐specific accelerator in the nation. “It helps all early‐stage outdoor companies in the state, both urban and rural.”
Other leaders in the outdoor industry agree about the support HB 3251 would offer the industry and the state. Mike Wallenfels, president of OOA and VP of sales at Hydro Flask, says that, “This bill will help fuel Oregon’s next generation of great outdoor product brands and will inspire even more entrepreneurs.
For this Bill to come out of committee with support from all members, shows the commitment this state has to our industry.”