Oregon Legislature Votes on Key Economic Legislation

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House Passes Key Job Creation and Economic Development Bill

SB 766 will lead to the designation of up to 15 regionally significant industrial areas

SALEM – The House last week passed one of the key job creation and economic development measures of the 2011 session. SB 766 will lead to the designation of up to fifteen regionally significant industrial areas. That designation will allow for streamlined permitting and reviews of proposed development in those areas.

“This bill balances the elements of Oregon’s unique planning process with our economic development needs,” said Representative Brian Clem (D-Salem), a chief sponsor of the bill. “As we recover from the recession we need to keep our foot on the gas. This bill is an important part of that effort.”

SB 766 assures that proposed industrial projects with the greatest jobs potential are able to get fast and definitive determinations for required state and local land use approvals. Public process and input regarding both the projects of state significance and in the regionally-significant industrial areas will follow regular notice and hearing processes, including a local hearing on the project. No existing standards may be waived through this legislation. Once a decision is made, the procedures for appeals are streamlined.

“There are lands in Eugene, Junction City and around Oregon that are ripe for job creation,” said Representative Val Hoyle (D-West Eugene/Junction City). “This bill will take the leash off proposed projects so that we can grow our economy now.”

SB 766 was developed in part during interim hearings in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. The bill is supported by a broad coalition, including the Association of Oregon Industries, the Oregon Business Association, and 1000 Friends of Oregon.

The bill now goes to the Governor’s desk for his possible signature.

House Votes to Continue Successful Economic Development Loans

SB 494 eliminates sunset on 2010 Access to Business Capital Act

SALEM – The Oregon House voted to continue offering loans to small businesses for business development. SB 494 eliminates the sunset on the Access to Business Capitol Act of 2010, which reduced restrictions on the use of the Oregon Business Development Fund and Entrepreneurial Development Loan Fund loans to businesses.

“When I sponsored the Access to Business Capitol Act in 2010, my aim was to help businesses that wanted to hire Oregonians, but could not secure the private capital necessary to do so,” said Representative Margaret Doherty (D-Tigard). “Now that the economy is rebounding, it makes sense to continue this successful program so we can keep our recovery going.”

The Oregon Business Development Fund is a revolving loan fund that provides term fixed-rate financing for small businesses focusing especially on those in rural and distressed areas. Participants are required to create or retain jobs and must be a traded-sector business in manufacturing, processing, or a regionally significant tourist facility.

The Entrepreneurial Development Loan Fund provides initial direct loans to help companies get started in Oregon by assisting micro-enterprise and small businesses, filling a niche not provided through traditional lending markets. Both funds are administered by the Oregon Business Development Department.

Under the program, loans have been made to small businesses in cities across the state. Business Oregon reports there are more than 10 potential projects in the pipeline and more than 300 jobs have been created or saved through these loan programs since 2010. Loans have been awarded to businesses including Ninkasi Brewing in Eugene, Frog Eyes Wasabi in Pacific City, Ochoco Lumber in John Day and Painted Hills Beef in Fossil. Businesses that are interested in applying for financing through the Oregon Business Development Department can check out available programs http://www.oregon4biz.com/Business-financing-resources/Oregon-Finance-Programs/

“Given our budget situation, this bill provides us an important opportunity to support business development in Oregon without diverting funds from critical programs and services,” said Rep. Doherty. “SB 494 is an easy way for us to continue to support the hard work of small businesses throughout our state at no additional cost.”

SB 494 now moves to the Governor’s desk for his possible signature.

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